Selma Becker, Senior Manager and Hearing Aid Audiologist
Welcome to our August online newsletter
A very warm welcome to you all. And a very warm welcome also to the release of the coronavirus restrictions on 19th July known as “Freedom day!” We can now all thankfully enjoy more social interaction and time with our families. Your safety is still our priority, so we have reviewed our Covid processes and will continue to wear PPE and masks and require our visitors to do so.
We were delighted to hear that Public Health England’s infection prevention control guidelines and hospital visiting guidance are set to remain in place for all staff and visitors across all health services. Staff, patients and visitors will be expected to continue to follow social distancing rules when visiting any healthcare setting, as well as using face coverings.
Hearing well has never been more important, to ensure we stay connected with our friends, families and the community around us and Summer is a perfect season to experience our vivid world of sound – such as children playing on the beach, birds singing in the trees, or the sizzle of a family BBQ. With this in mind, we have come up with some top tips to ensure you can enjoy a summer of sound to the full. Read more
I do hope you enjoy reading our newsletter and I am looking forward to seeing you at your next appointment.
Note from the editor
A Fond Farewell to Alfie
We are sad to inform you that we said goodbye to Gilly’s lovely Bichon Alfie, after a short illness, in July.
He was so well loved by our staff, clients, friends and family, so he will be sorely missed both at home and at work. He was a bundle of fun, had lots of friends – canine and human – and brought joy to so many.
The big question now is “will Gilly be finding another puppy soon…..?” Watch this space!
We hope you enjoy this newsletter. Please send us any feedback or requests you may have, so we can ensure we are providing the information that you would like to receive. We love hearing from you so please don’t forget to send in any of your own stories and follow us on social media. You can find us on Twitter and Facebook.
Forget Me Knot Atlantic Expedition
Forget-me-knot Atlantic Expedition to raise money for Dementia
We are delighted to announce that we are one of the sponsors of Forget Me Knot, an independent Atlantic expedition to raise money for Dementia UK. Help in Hearing have decided to support this wonderful cause as there is such a significant link between hearing loss and the risk of developing dementia. Indeed, the Today programme last week featured another new study showing that assisting hearing difficulties in mid life may help a person maintain their brain function as they get older.
The Forget Me Knot crew will cross nearly 4,000- miles of the Atlantic Ocean from Portugal to French Guiana, aiming to break two World Records and raise £100,000.
Rowing 24hrs in all weather and high seas, the expedition will be long and gruelling – but not in comparison to the daily challenges faced by many dementia carers. Read more
Don't Forget to Enter our Photo Competition to Win A Hamper!
There is still a month to go to enter our photo competition to celebrate the joy of hearing and our journey out of lockdown. Entries need to be sent in by August 31st. The theme of the competition is “My Help in Hearing” and the person to send in the best photo will win a luxury hamper created for us by local company Goose & Berry
We have received some great entries so far if you would like to take a look
Our latest photo has a farming theme, sent in by our client Jeanette Ferguson. She says: “Thanks to my hearing aids I can enjoy the sounds on my daughter’s farm. This is my grandson ploughing the field in his tractor”. Thank you Jeanette, what a great photo!
Local Litter Picking venture for HiH Team
You may have noticed the girls from Help in Hearing out litter picking locally. As we drive to work every day, we have noticed increased rubbish tipping around the Beeches and the edge of Farnham Common village. So, armed with some long arm grabbers and sturdy bin bags, on 13th May we put on our High Vis tabards and donned our gloves. It had rained all day but at 5.00pm the grey clouds disappeared for a short while.
From the practice in Blackpond Lane we walked up to the High Street where the kind people at Costa offered us a free hot drink. We didn’t stop but it was very kind and showed a real community spirit. We headed down Green lane and then along the edge of the Beeches back to Southmead Clinic. Our bags were surprisingly heavy after an hour so we felt it was well worth doing.
We hope to do another litter pick later in the year. Watch this space!
In Other News
Remember to Refer a Friend!
We are always delighted that so many new clients hear about us through word of mouth. We would like to thank you all for recommending us and remind you that we have a “Refer a Friend” scheme.
Everyone benefits from the scheme as the appointment fee is reduced and anyone who refers a friend can choose between a £25 John Lewis Voucher for yourself, or a donation of £25 to Hearing Dogs for Deaf People made by us. https://www.helpinhearing.co.uk/refer-friend/
Alert and in Control
Our sense of hearing plays a huge role in how confident we are and how safe we feel when out and about. Did you know that individuals with good hearing are twice less likely to experience accidental injuries and three times less likely to have a history of falling?
Recent research suggests that hearing loss contributes to falls. What you hear (and don’t hear) directly affects your balance, according to research by the Physical Therapy Department at New York University, with a team at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.
There are a number of various contributing factors such as if you’re concentrating harder to interpret sound, you may have less mental resource available for balance. Also age-related hearing loss may be linked to a vestibular decline and depression which can also cause falls. So please keep your hearing in tip top condition and tell your friends to do so too.
Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss needs fast action
If anyone you know has sudden hearing loss, it must be taken seriously. It is a medical emergency and although steroid treatment is usually successful, acting quickly is crucial. Do call us immediately.
Over the years we have seen a number of cases which have led to urgent referrals.
We had a very upset client who rushed round the other day because she believed she had suddenly gone deaf – we fitted her in straight away and as it turned out her ears were full of wax so we could of course give her immediate relief, but it is vital that such instances are taken seriously and that clients are seen immediately as the timing is crucial.
There is a wealth of information on this website the publishers of the poster featured above. Take a look here.
Cultivate your own Sensory Garden in memory of HRH Duke of Edinburgh
HRH Duke of Edinburgh was well known for his love of gardening. His work on the design and landscaping of the royal gardens will be a living legacy for years to come as a place for quiet reflection and remembrance.
For those with sensory loss, a sensory garden can have enormous therapeutic value. Prince Philip was known to have hearing loss himself and, of course, was a keen gardener. The RNID are suggesting people cultivate their own sensory garden as a fitting tribute to HRH, encouraging them to host a memory garden event as an RNID fundraiser. If any of our readers are interested contact the firstname.lastname@example.org. The award winning Memorial Gardens in Old Amersham created a new sensory garden last year and if you haven’t yet been, we definitely recommend a visit (see photo above).
Book to see one of the team 18th – 22nd October
Open Week in Farnham Common & Marlow - Book to Try out New Aids!
Open Week 25th – 28th October
Catch up on all the new releases that you may have missed out on during the lockdown. There is a new generation of hearing aids now available. Book an appointment during our dedicated Open Week to find out more. Choose from Paradise by Phonak, More by Oticon and AX Pure Charge and Go by Signia – this is an opportunity to discuss with Wendy, Kevin or Selma if one of the new aids would give you an even better hearing solution and then trial the right one for you!
Alternatively, perhaps you struggled to hear zoom calls with your friends and family during lockdown or had to keep turning the TV volume up, and would like the chance to talk this through with our team? Make the most of our Open Week to find out your TV streaming options and discuss other Bluetooth accessories that could further enhance your hearing. Call now before we are fully booked! 0345 2220579.
Tinnitus Support Group events
We held a popular Tinnitus Support Group meeting in our Marlow Practice garden at the end of May. It was lovely to see so many faces, old friends and new. It was especially heart warming to see one of our very first members looking so bright and cheery, with distraction tactics working well over the last couple of years really helping with her Tinnitus.
There will be another meeting in the Autumn, either indoors or outdoors depending on the weather, more details to follow. At Help in Hearing we offer Tinnitus pre-assessment consultations. As well as a hearing test, this offers clients the opportunity to discuss their Tinnitus journey with a trained audiologist. You can then decide if a full management programme or onward referral is the right pathway for you.
Call us on 0345 2220579 if you want to discuss this further or know someone that does.
Our Support Group meetings are held at Marlow our practice in Glade Road – pictured here.
The British Tinnitus Association are continuing to run online support groups. Here is the link
Spotlight on….A client celebrating his 95th birthday who loves technology
Spotlight on.... A Client's Story
The pandemic brought social isolation to so many, and the impact on the elderly is even greater if combined with a hearing loss. This is further compounded by research which shows that 77% of older people might need someone to help them through the process of setting up a new device.
And yet our client Hugh Gurney is so adept at pairing and using his hearing aids and enhancing accessories, that you might be surprised to hear he has just celebrated his 95th birthday. In this interview, we talk about his work, his hearing and how he has embraced the world of technology. Read more about Hugh’s hearing journey here
To make sure we are offering the best possible service, we regularly send out a feedback survey to clients. We are so grateful that you have taken the time to respond. Here are just a few comments:
Joy Smyth, a client since 2003
“I have always used Help in Hearing and even though we now live in Staffordshire continue to do so. For any hearing issues I would always contact them, and have done in the past which may well have saved my one good ear.”
A new client since June 2021
“For quite some time I felt I was not getting the maximum benefit from my hearing aids and tried various professionals. However , it was not until audiologist Wendy gave her skill and experience to my problem that I am now pleased to say my hearing aids have been adjusted and I can now hear much more clearly than in the past. Thank you Wendy!”
A client since 2013
The office in Marlow is a short walk away! I am now on my second generation of hearing aids from Kevin at Help in Hearing and I went for a check-up around a year from getting them. Covid constraints were observed throughout the consultation. The visit is always friendly and professional with technology to help check the progress of my hearing and to make improvements. where possible.. My hearing aids connect with iPhone and TV as a useful additional feature. While the devices are not cheap to buy and the cost of the consultation is to be considered, I believe that Help in Hearing gives value for money in minimising the inconvenience of hearing loss.”
Elizabeth Ann Hunt
A new hearing aid fitting since June 2021
“The service was outstanding and the audiologist herself , Wendy, anticipated my very urgent and specialised and complicated needs . The aids are proving more than I could have hoped for even after wearing aids for over 40 years both privately purchased years ago and more recently supplied by the NHS”
A new client since June 2021
Wendy was friendly, efficient and professional. She was attentive and knowledgeable with regards to my situation and my questions surrounding my hearing loss and tinnitus.
A microsuction client since 2018
“The appointment was everything it should be. I was seen on time and my problem was dealt with effectively, efficiently and with much kindness. “
A client since 2002
“”Every visit is an absolute pleasure. Everyone is so friendly and courteous. I have already recommended one friend, and she is very pleased she joined.”
A client since 2014
“Excellent, professional, friendly help. Complete trust in Selma. Always receive good answers to questions. Could not manage easily without her help over many years. “
A microsuction client since 2019
“Excellent service . Seen immediately . Dealt with the problem professionally and thoroughly. Cannot fault”
A microsuction client since May 2021
“I was recommended by a friend and then took another friend who saw Selma and was sorted out with hearing aids and I have accompanied her to see Selma ever since. When I got Tinnitus recently I saw Wendy and found her very caring and she had a very helpful attitude.”
A microsuction client since May 2019
“Very efficient microsuction appointment thank you. Called in on time and well prepared reception. I felt quite safe with the necessary precautions taken and was pleased with the result. “
A hearing aid client since 2016
“Friendly consultation with plenty of time to discuss my hearing problems. Thoroughly recommended”
A microsuction client since May 2021
“What a really great experience. I’ve suffered with my ears all my life and the last time I got my ear wax removed from the doctors they bled. This time there was no pain and no bleeding. I didn’t have to do 2 weeks of putting oil in my ears either. I walked out feeling amazing and it was such a joy to have my hearing back. I will definitely being going back again. “
A hearing aid client since 2010
“I had the usual kind and knowledgeable help from Selma, with good advice. To completely trust someone in major problems of increasing deafness is hugely important.”
Help in Hearing's A-Z of Audiology - a little bit of light reading!
A is for ASSISTIVE devices
Each hearing aid manufacturer provide assistive devices that work with their hearing aids via Bluetooth. TV streamers are devices that plug into a television and send the sound directly into both hearing aids, via Bluetooth. The sound from the television is enhanced, significantly improving enjoyment of your favourite programmes.
Remote microphones also send sound directly into the hearing aids via Bluetooth. They are ideal for hearing conversation in difficult situations such as listening in a car or in a very noisy restaurant.
B is for BATS
Bats have exceptional hearing with a talent for echolocation which is how they can hear reflected sounds to help see obstacles in the night.
C is for CONNECTIVITY
In terms of wireless connectivity, most hearing aids now have the capability to connect to other devices, such as mobile telephones, laptops, MP3 players, televisions, etc. through a wireless connection, using Bluetooth, which can significantly help wearers who would traditionally struggle to hear clearly when using those devices.
D is for DOMES
These are used to protect the hearing aids from wax. They are rubberised and are sometimes referred to as sleeves. Most press onto the end of the hearing aid whilst some click onto the aid. They should be changed regularly to protect the aids and keep them clean.
E is for ELEPHANT
The African Elephant has the largest ears of any living animal. The primary purpose of these floppy ears is a cooling system. They are full of blood vessels which dissipate heat from the elephant. Elephants listen with their feet as well as their ears!
F is for FILMS
The film Children of a Lesser God is the 80’s love story and clash of ideology over lip-reading and speaking versus communicating through sign language which introduced deaf actress Marlee Matlin, who earned an Academy Award for her leading role.
G is for the GOLD standard service we offer our clients
Our GPs regularly contact us for routine screening tests for various health conditions, but hearing is frequently overlooked. Those with unmanaged hearing loss are missing out on all the wonderful sound around us such as conversation, bird song and children’s laughter.
At Help in Hearing, we like to check our clients’ hearing annually and encourage anyone who has not had a hearing test to book an appointment with us.
I is for INDEPENDENT hearing care
As an independent we can offer you impartial advice and have a vast variety of aids to help you find the best hearing solution.
J is for the patient JOURNEY
Our main priority being that it is a smooth, satisfactory road to finding the right hearing solution for you.
K is for audiological KNOWLEDGE
Between them our audiologists have over 70 years of combined experience and knowledge, so when you see Selma, Wendy or Kevin, you know you are getting the best possible service and advice.
L is for LEFT
All aids worn in the left ear feature a BLUE tag somewhere on the aid to help wearers easily identify which side. Red is for right.
M is for MICROSUCTION
Ear wax is a natural substance designed to clean and protect our ears but on occasion excess wax builds up and blocks the ear canal causing discomfort and reduction in hearing. At Help in Hearing, we use microsuction to clear ear wax and restore audibility.
N is for NOISE protection
It is so important to look after your ears. People often don’t realise how much damage can be caused by exposure to everyday noise. Ask us about hearing protection options.
O is for OTICON, one of the leading hearing aid suppliers whose latest range is known as MORE, which uses new technology – a Deep Neural Network (DNN) – which they say mimics how the brain works and has learned to recognise all kinds of sounds in fine detail.
P is for PHONAK, another top manufacturer with a new aid called Paradise which has a built-in motion sensor to offer brilliant speech understanding from any direction.
Q is for QUEEN ELIZABETH
Queen Elizabeth was photographed wearing a hearing aid in 2020.Her majesty was seen wearing a CIC (Completely in the canal style hearing aid)
R is for RECHARGEABLE
Most of the hearing aids we provide are rechargeable. Each night, the hearing aids are placed into the charger and in the morning and fully powered and ready to go.
No more fiddly battery changes!
S is for SEALION
Harley a 7-year-old Sea Lion from California was rescued twice as a stranded pup and while at the marine mammal stranding centre, it was found through medical testing that Harley was in fact deaf.
T is for TINNITUS
You should always consult a physician or hearing professional if you are experiencing any symptoms of Tinnitus. We can offer an initial Tinnitus assessment appointment so that you can discuss your symptoms and work out the best treatment pathway. We also run a BTA recognised Tinnitus Support Group.
U is for UNITRON
Unitron is another hearing aid manufacturer whose Moxi B-R product has been recognised with a 2021 Red Dot Award for outstanding product design.
V is for VIDEO testimonials.
Over the years we have had many wonderful testimonials from our clients and some have kindly been filmed for our video collection. Please let us know if you would be happy for us to film your testimonial. Take a look here
W is for WAX GUARDS
Used to protect your hearing aid from Wax. They are often referred to by clients as “little sticks with a nobbly bit on the end”. Examples include Cerustops, No Wax, Prowax and Prowax Minifit and Quickguards. It is essential that these are changed regularly to keep your aids in tip top condition.
X is for XPERIENCE
Augmented Xperience is the new hearing aid platform to be introduced by Signia that “intelligently and automatically processes sound to better ensure that patients hear more clearly – regardless of the listening environment.”
Y is for YOU – the most important person in this hearing journey. Our aim is to look after you and your hearing in the best possible way.
Z is for ZOOM consultation
We still offer remote audiology for those that might need to self-isolate or simply can’t fit in an appointment. Although we like to see you in person, virtual audiology can work very well.
Signia have announced the launch of its Augmented Xperience (AX) hearing aid platform that “intelligently and automatically processes sound to better ensure that patients hear more clearly – regardless of the listening environment.”
Rather than simply amplifying all sounds, like most of today’s hearing aids, Augmented Xperience is said to “intelligently understand which sounds should be pulled to the foreground and prioritized, and which should remain in the background.”
The net result of this world’s first split-processing technology is “a fully-immersive and intelligent hearing experience”. Hearing isn’t always easy. A group of people talking simultaneously, softly-spoken talkers in a bustling room, too much background noise – these are challenging environments regardless of a patient’s hearing ability and Signia say that Augmented Xperience changes the game by understanding which sounds should be brought into focus and which remain in the background.
Augmented Focus features two independent processors – the first of which addresses ‘focus’ sounds like the speech of a conversation partner, while the second addresses ‘surrounding’ sounds like background music or ambient laughter. The two processors capture focus and surrounding sounds independently to create a greater contrast between the two – pulling focus sounds closer and placing surrounding sounds further away.
In addition to Augmented Focus, the AX platform features include:
Acoustic-Motion Sensors which recognize the wearer’s movement and adjust sounds accordingly.
Own Voice Processing (OVP) to indentify the wearer’s voice separately from other sounds
Signia Face Mask Mode to help deliver “better speech understanding through masks”
The Signia app which provides access to hearing aid controls, streaming capabilities, tinnitus therapy, the Signia Assistant for 24/7 digital support and Signia Telecare for remote care support.
Built on the AX platform, the Pure Charge&Go AX features a “sleek hearing aid design that is both comfortable and discreet.” As the company’s smallest rechargeable RIC hearing aid, Pure AX can make it “easier and more comfortable to wear with glasses and/or face masks.”
The Pure Charge&Go AX is also compatible with the Pure Charge&Go AX CROS transmitter for patients with single-sided deafness, and with an optional T-Coil, which enables the patient to pick up sound signals in public places like train stations, theaters, and museums.
Pure AX “boasts up to 36 hours of wear time on a single charge” and features convenient connectivity to ASHA-enabled Android phones and iPhones for effortless direct streaming. It is available in black, graphite, dark champagne, silver, pearl white, fine gold, deep brown, sandy brown, rose gold, and beige colour options.
To find out more and book a trial with Selma, Wendy or Kevin, call 0345 222 0579 or fill in our online contact form.
Reacclimatising to Hearing Aids after Lockdown
With the emergence of the COVID pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns, we have all spent far more time at home over the last 15 months or so. The consequence has been that our social circles have constricted, and we have not been able to enjoy our usual activities. For many, this has meant being alone much more.
Several clients have told me that they have not been wearing their hearing aids as much or even at all during lockdown. This is understandable but as we are now released from COVID restrictions and start to resume our previous routines, it is time to re-engage with hearing aids and the wonderful world of everyday sounds.
During lockdown, we did not experience busy cafés and restaurants or meet with large groups.
We have got out of the habit of listening in these situations and some practise will be required to gain the full benefit from hearing aids.
Step one, if you have not been wearing your hearing aids, is to give them a little service. You can do this yourself at home or alternatively, make an appointment to come and see us.
Change the batteries or recharge the hearing aids, replace the wax guards and domes and check that you can hear well with your hearing aids.
While you have not been wearing your hearing aids or have been wearing them less, your brain will have forgotten about some everyday sounds simply because it has become used not to hearing them.
Start wearing your hearing aids around the house to remind your brain and ears of every day sounds such as a clock ticking, the kettle boiling and the turning of pages in a newspaper or book and venture into the garden to enjoy bird song.
Wear your hearing aids daily, ideally all day but at least for a few hours.
After a few days, wear your hearing aids in different situations. Listening when there is a lot of background noise will always be more difficult. Remember to directly face the person you are talking to.
We Are Here to Help
Finally, do please get in touch if you are having any problems with your hearing aids, or you are not hearing as well as you used to.
We are still following our COVID guidelines but are open and looking forward to seeing you again.
If you’d like to know more about any of the stories or events in this newsletter, or if you have a story you think might be of interest to our readers, please click the button below to send us an email.