Selma Becker, Managing Director and Senior Hearing Aid Audiologist
Welcome to our February online newsletter
A very warm welcome to you all. I am so excited that 2020 sees the celebration of 15 years of Help in Hearing. Where have the last 15 years gone?
In 2005 my husband Jeremy and I decided to take destiny into our own hands by acquiring John Andrews’ hearing aid practice and Help in Hearing was born.
“Failure was not an option” we said at the time and I knew, in order to make our business a success, we had to offer a service to all our clients they would consistently consider as the best. We needed to be sure they would trust us in our expertise and our understanding of their hearing requirements, we wanted them to feel they are part of our journey and become members of the Help in Hearing family. This, I hope and believe we have achieved.
In my opinion, trust builds loyalty and we create loyalty with honesty by having a genuine interest and desire to give everyone attending our clinic a friendly welcome, exceptional professional expertise in a warm but most advanced clinical environment, offering the latest and most state of the art technology with our ongoing support.
Looking back over the Years
Looking back, the journey started with just myself as the audiologist and business owner, with my husband being the part-time marketing director and there were two part-time receptionists, Marguerite and Ann. I was splitting my time between Farnham Common and working one day in Marlow. Just a year later, my dear friend and colleague Kevin Jeffery joined us as senior audiologist and so we worked on building our reputation over the next 10 years.
First Ann retired and then Marguerite followed in 2018 and we started to build our current team. First came Gilly, our exceptionally talented and experienced practice manager, followed by our lovely Jan, who is our front of house secretary, always with a smile and last but not least, Wendy Davies, who joined our practice last year, bringing her vast experience as an audiologist and her corporate background, contributing to growing our business with a fresh yet caring approach to customer liaison and management.
Most of our business grew from the kind recommendations of our existing clients who have been telling their friends and family of our services. Marlow has since grown into a full-time practice under Kevin’s expertise and care for his clients. The Farnham Common clinic with Wendy on board is a hub of activity on a daily basis.
Over the years we have tirelessly invested into further education, we continue to grow our scope of practice and have been able to introduce services such as ear wax management including Micro-suction. Our newest equipment is the amazing 3D Oto-scanner which gives the most accurate images of the ears, used to create custom hearing devices and noise protection moulds.
I cannot finish without mentioning and thanking Insight’s Mark and Maureen Robson, for keeping our website fresh and liaising with Gilly to keep our social media updated with our news.
I am very much looking forward to our celebratory Charity Gala Dinner on October 23rd at Stoke Place and hope many of you will be able to join us for this very special and exciting event.
We mentioned in our last newsletter our focus to become more involved with the local community. With that in mind we have set up a couple of new ventures – one to celebrate World Hearing Day on March 3rd when we will be holding a Hearing Awareness Event at Dobbie’s Garden Centre in Beaconsfield. The other is a drop-in Hearing Event at the Marlow practice on March 27th to support the Marlow Business Festival.
We are also delighted to continue our ongoing fundraising efforts for several hearing related charities. Our celebratory Charity Gala Dinner will raise money for the National Deaf Children’s Society, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and the local charity Alzheimer Dementia Support which is the focus of our special “Spotlight On” feature in this edition.
We hope you enjoy this newsletter. Please send us any feedback or requests you may have so we can ensure we’re providing the information you’d like to receive. We love hearing from you so please don’t forget to send in any of your hearing stories and follow us on social media. You can find us on Twitter and Facebook. Our Tinnitus Support Group is now also on Instagram.
Jono Heale giving the Play Safe Now – Hear Tomorrow presentation at Music colleges around the country
ACS raise awareness of hearing conservation to music students
ACS, a company dedicated to hearing conservation and the manufacture of high-fidelity custom and universal-fit hearing protection, has launched a campaign for hearing conservation in education called Play Safe Now – Hear Tomorrow. This has received positive support from the British Tinnitus Association and charity Help Musicians UK, together with respected music-education institutions across the UK including the Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to name but a few.
At times in Music Education the subject of occupational health and safety seems to not be given the attention it deserves especially in terms of hearing conservation. It is worrying to see that this subject is not even mandatory within the curriculum in the UK’s Further or Higher Education. Which is why we are delighted to hear about this initiative as many music students are exposed to sound levels over 85dB(A) and really need to take ear protection seriously. Encouragingly, we have seen as a direct result to the ACS ‘call to action’, local music students booking in with us to have ear impressions made, this from a recent ACS hearing conservation talk at Amersham College. The content of the talk included: what is sound, how the ear works, how it is damaged, safe exposure times and how to protect your ears with the most suitable ambient hearing protection for all loud musical environments.
Our ear impressions are sent off to ACS who offer a choice of custom-made soft silicone earplugs, popular with musicians, DJs, vocalists, sound engineers and frequent visitors to gigs and clubs. These high-fidelity bespoke fitting earplugs cost around £140. If you value your hearing and you like loud music you should really play safe now so you can still hear tomorrow.
We also sell universal fit earplugs in practice, which retail at £10, which we recommend for anyone who knows they will be exposed to loud music or noise. It is worth considering always having a pair with you – they come with an easy to store keyring – as noise exposure is everywhere. For example, cinemas are often overly loud – you may remember the feature in our last issue about actor Hugh Grant walking out of the film Joker.
For more information on hearing protection solutions go to ACS websiteand contact us on 0345 222 0579.
For a more in-depth feature on hearing protection, take a look at the Advice section in this newsletter.
£25 John Lewis voucher as a thank you
Refer a friend
We have introduced a new “Refer A Friend” scheme as a way of thanking our clients for recommending us to their friends and family. As many of you already know, improving your hearing can be life changing and we are keen to raise awareness and communicate this message to as many people as possible. A recommendation from a friend is the best testimonial to our service and the choice of hearing systems that we offer.
If you refer a friend, colleague or family member to us, we will book them in for a full hearing assessment and consultation with one of our audiologists at a special price, offering them £40 off the usual fee. We will send you a £25 John Lewis voucher as a thank you. Alternatively, we will make a charity donation on your behalf to the value of £25 to Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.
What is the connection between diabetes and hearing loss? Research has emerged in recent years which proves that hearing loss is more common in adults with diabetes. It has been found that if you have diabetes, you might be two times more likely to have hearing loss.
Why is diabetes linked to hearing loss?
The precise reason why diabetes can be considered a risk factor for hearing loss is not yet known. There is a school of thought which believes that diabetes could damage the hearing nerves – a type of diabetic neuropathy which can also occur in the legs and feet. There is a second theory that the high blood sugars present in diabetics could cause damage to the small blood vessels which support the inner part of the ear. When these vessels are damaged, hearing can be compromised.
Research by the NIH
One of the most important studies on diabetes and hearing loss was conducted by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2008. They found one of the strongest links yet between diabetes and hearing loss. They analysed hearing test results from across the US and found that those with diabetes were more likely to have at least minor hearing loss compared to people who do not have the condition.
Another important piece of research showed that hearing loss can in fact be maternally inherited by some of those with diabetes. Some one per cent of those with diabetes have a subtype of the condition called Maternally Inherited Diabetes and Deafness (MIDD), which typically causes sensorineural hearing loss. MIDD usually develops in diabetes patients before the age of 40.
I’m a diabetic. How can I prevent hearing loss?
As a diabetic, you should note that the better you can control your blood sugar, the less likely it is that high blood sugar can cause hearing loss. That makes sticking to diet treatment plans and medication important for hearing protection.
Which steps do I need to take?
You might not have noticed a deterioration in your hearing, but if you have diabetes, it is recommended that you take a hearing test, if you haven’t already. These tests should be taken periodically – aim for once a year. It is important to monitor your hearing at regular intervals as a diabetic because it can deteriorate over a short space of time. Getting periodical tests makes it easier for you to get the treatment you need, when you need it, should you discover that your hearing is getting worse.
Diabetes and hearing loss – where to find out more
If you think you might be affected by diabetes and hearing loss, please contact us to book an appointment. We recommend a half an hour appointment, which will include a hearing test plus the opportunity to discuss diabetic hearing screening with one of our audiologists. Our fee for this will be £50. Call our freephone number to book: 0345 2220579, email us or fill in our online contact form and we will get back to you to make the appointment.
The Queen wears an in-the-canal hearing aid
Queen spotted wearing hearing aid in public for first time
According to several recent articles in the national newspapers, the Queen, now aged 93, was recently spotted in public wearing a hearing aid for what is believed to be the first time. This news comes five years after her husband the Duke of Edinburgh was seen wearing discreet behind-the-ear hearing aids when he was also 93 in October 2014.
According to the “official” media coverage, the device used by the Queen appears to be an “in the canal” hearing aid. The newspaper features went on to say: “The NHS website states that these aren’t usually powerful enough for people with severe hearing loss.” However, there is of course no indication or confirmation of what kind of hearing loss the Queen has.
Whilst we are not mentioning the manufacturer’s name, we did recognise the device Her Majesty was wearing as one we have used frequently for many of our own clients. It is recognised as an alternative option to the small receiver over the ear aids which the Duke of Edinburgh has been seen wearing. Unfortunately, in the photos we have seen the device had not been inserted into her ear correctly, which made it more visible than it should have been. We are wondering if perhaps she might need a better service from her Audiologist…….
At the end of January we held Open Weeks in both Farnham Common and Marlow. These events are always very popular and once again our diary was full. Selma, Kevin and Wendy were at hand to offer advice on any hearing issues over the Christmas party period, as well as going over any Bluetooth connectivity issues that clients may have encountered. Don’t forget we are always available to answer any questions you might have – we will find an answer. You don’t have to wait for an Open Day.
On February 14th we held a special “Love your ears” promotion to celebrate Valentine’s Day, offering new clients a free hearing test and consultation with Wendy. Our message for the day – and beyond – is “Show someone with hearing loss that you love them and that you care by saying those three special little words: “Help in Hearing.”
"Guess the time" winner!
In our last edition we ran a competition to guess Wendy’s time in running the annual Santa 5K Fun Run around Dorney Lake to raise money for Alzheimer Dementia Support (ADS). We are delighted to announce that the winner of a £50 John Lewis voucher is Compton Hellyer, a client we have known for many years. He guessed Wendy’s time to the nearest second, an admirable 29 minutes and 46 seconds. Well done to Wendy who raised £400 and well done to Compton for his excellent guesswork!
Alfie has not been a good boy! One lunch time recently Gilly was eating grapes and happened to drop one on the floor. On googling the search line “Can dogs eat grapes?” she discovered that even one grape can actually kill a dog. They are highly toxic and on phoning the vet Gilly was told to rush him in for an injection to make him sick. The grape appeared intact as he responded to the treatment, so no further action was needed except for a big sigh of relief and an expensive vet bill! Gilly might not take grapes to work again.
Help us celebrate our 15 year anniversary
Charity gala dinner to celebrate 15 years of Help in Hearing
Book your tickets now: Friday 23rd October, 2020 at 6:30pm
Stoke Place Country House, Stoke Green, Slough
We are holding a Charity Gala Dinner to celebrate our 15th birthday at Stoke Place Country House on Friday October 23rd, arrival drinks from 6:30pm onwards. We would love you to join our party to toast our special anniversary and raise money for three hearing related charities:
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
Alzheimers Dementia Support
The National Deaf Children’s Society
An official invitation with full details will be sent to anyone who registers their interest with us. Why not make up a table and bring along a group of friends? Ticket prices are £60 for a sparkling drink on arrival, 3 course dinner, tea, coffee, half a bottle of wine per person and entertainment.
Thank you to our sponsors: Oticon, Phonak, Sivantos, Starkey and Widex.
Call our freephone number 0345 222 0579, or email us to register your interest in our celebration event.
3rd March 2020
10:30am to 2:00pm
Dobbies Garden Centre
We are delighted to announce that we are running a hearing information event at Dobbies Garden Centre on the London Road in Beaconsfield to celebrate World Hearing Day.
Wendy will be discussing good hearing health and communication with a free ear check with our video otoscope. No booking required.
For further details about World Hearing Day, see Wendy’s column. Please let your friends know.
Drop-in hearing health event at our Marlow clinic
Marlow Business Festival
==== 11 March: STOP PRESS: PLEASE NOTE THE MARLOW BUSINESS FESTIVAL HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO LATER IN 2020 ====
Drop-in Hearing Health Event
Friday March 27th 2020 12:00pm – 2:30pm At Help in Hearing, Cedar House, Glade Road, Marlow SL7 1DQ (free parking on site, opposite Glade End Guest House) Refreshments provided To book your place: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marlow is to welcome its first business festival, 26th – 29th March, to “shape the future” of the high street. Organised by the Marlow Chamber of Commerce, the inaugural event aims to improve the relationship between businesses and the community.
On Friday March 27th, Wendy will be joining Kevin in our Marlow practice to run a drop-in clinic from 12:00-2:30pm, offering new clients complimentary hearing screening, with an ear health check.
Please do let your friends and family in Marlow know about the event. If the hearing screening or otoscope demonstrates a need for a follow-up appointment, we will offer a £40 off voucher for a full hearing consultation and £20 off microsuction wax removal.
Do call if you would like to find out more: 0345 222 0579.
Book your place at one of our Tinnitus Support Group events
Tinnitus Support Group events
==== 17 March: STOP PRESS: PLEASE NOTE THAT TINNITUS SUPPORT GROUP EVENTS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE DUE TO GOVERNMENT CORONAVIRUS GUIDELINES ====
Whether you have Tinnitus or not, you are very welcome to join any of our events. Bring your friends and family – just contact us to let us know. Our schedule of events over the next few months is below.
Unless specified below, all events are held at:
Help in Hearing, Cedar House, Glade Road, Marlow SL7 1DQ (free parking on site)
Tuesday March 17th 2020
Refreshments: 6:00pm. Talk: 6:30 – 8:00pm
Wellbeing notecards workshop
We are running this workshop as a group activity to create wellbeing notecards to promote positivity and acceptance. The workshop is run by our support group members, Vee Modha and Debbie Perry. Places are limited to 12 people, so booking is essential.
One of our chosen charities is Alzheimers Dementia Support (ADS) based in Windsor. ADS is a charity which was set up in 2011 to offer constructive practical guidance and a wide range of services to help people in the local community whose lives are directly or indirectly affected by dementia. They say that they “strive to make a difference by helping those who are affected cope better, whilst giving them the opportunity to experience a little joy and laughter in their difficult lives.”
There is an ever-growing number of people with dementia. ADS aim to support both these people and their carers, within the local community of Windsor, Maidenhead, Ascot, Slough and Langley.
The services they offer include lunch clubs, tea dances, singing and multi-lingual advice, as well as stimulating, fun days out for mobile people with early stage dementia. They say: “In doing so, we hope we can provide their carers with a welcome break. This is a great group, full of fun and laughter, so therapeutic. Good to get out and meet with new faces and exchange experiences.”
They also hold “Connection Cafés” where people with Dementia, their families, friends and Carers can connect with ‘ADS’ support, information & advice as well as a variety of activities including games, crafting, reminiscing, exercises and informative talks.
Read some recent feedback and reviews we’ve received from our patients. We’d love to hear your feedback too, so please email us if you’d like to provide feedback or a testimonial about our service.
“The service to the patient is excellent and feels specific to them.”
“Selma was great, spent loads of time explaining things and helping me physically getting them in!! A lovely kind lady who has your interest at heart. It’s a big thing to deal with and she made it easier. Thank you to her. All the staff were so kind and friendly and the site is so clean and cheerful.”
“Very friendly people, saw me the same day I called, talked me through every step, talked to me as she was cleaning my ear, making sure I was ok.”
Glenys de Their
“Firstly the product is superb, that’s vital. However the staff ARE SECOND TO NONE. It is always a pleasure to go in for any reason whatsoever and are very speedy also.”
“Overall a very positive experience – have come away with a feeling that the advice, knowledge and level of service was trustworthy and of good quality. Help in Hearing is more personal and individually focused than other audiologists I have visited. Kevin has looked after me very well and when needing to speak to other members of the team, they have always been efficient, helpful and friendly.”
Some tips for protecting your hearing at home and in the workplace
How to protect your hearing
Music and portable devices are often a key cause as to why many people suffer from hearing loss. If you can’t hear external sounds then it is too loud. Indeed, you may have seen a BBC News story about a viola player who sued the Royal Opera House for ruining his hearing and won a landmark case. He suffered acoustic shock in the famous orchestra pit as the noise levels exceeded 130 decibels, roughly equivalent to that of a jet engine. Sadly his hearing was irreversibly damaged. Read the full story
The louder the noise and the longer your ears are exposed to it, the greater the risk of causing damage to your hearing. A live concert is of course an event to be aware of but even the levels at the theatre and cinema can be excessive nowadays. Did you know that you can even damage your hearing while mowing a lawn!
Loud noises can sometimes be unavoidable, but our tip is to limit your exposure. If you can’t avoid it, give your ears a break by walking away from the loud noise for 10 minutes. Or, even better, keep a pair of ear plugs with you and wear them.
Protect your ears in the workplace
By law your employer is bound to protect your hearing in the workplace. So even if you’re not in a traditionally noisy environment but are exposed to noise that you are concerned about, do talk to your manager or human resources department for advice on reducing the noise and getting hearing protection.
Noisy equipment such as power tools and heavy machinery can be dangerous to your hearing if exposed for long periods of time, such a shifts or long working hours. If you work in noise levels above 85dB you should be issued with ear protectors. There are many different options available from standard ear plugs to custom fit hearing protection, we can give you advice on what would work best for you.
Leading a healthy lifestyle
Making certain healthy lifestyle choices can help to protect your hearing and ward off hearing loss for years to come. Get plenty of exercise. Cardio exercise like walking, running or cycling helps to improve blood flow to your ears, which is good for your hearing.
It’s even better if you can do your exercise somewhere nice and quiet, like the woods or a secluded beach, as this also gives your ears a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
The Importance of Routine Hearing Tests
You may have your teeth and eyes checked regularly, but what about your ears?
Audio Service, the brand that is exclusively available through independents, has introduced an updated version of the Mood RIC which uses a new platform referred to as G6. The aid is available with Lithium-ion rechargeability and offers full connectivity with integrated motion sensors which are similar to those used in smartphones.
Takes wearer’s movements into account
It is 16% smaller than the previous Mood and offers the benefit of analysing the acoustic environment more thoroughly than ever before, taking the wearer’s movements into account. With up to 20 times more listening situations to choose from, the device automatically selects the best programme from over 120 predefined settings for an individual’s personal hearing requirements.
Batteries last all day on a single charge
The rechargeable lithium-ion batteries run for a whole day on a single charge, even if you are streaming music or taking smartphone calls. Once installed on your smartphone, the new Audio Service App allows you to use your phone as a remote control for your hearing device. You can make adjustments, take phone calls and even listen to streamed music directly from your iPhone. If you have an Android phone you can use the streaming features through the Smart Mic, which can also be used as a remote control.
10 different shades
The Mood Li-on G6 hearing system is available in 10 different shades so you can easily find the perfect match for your colour styling. To find out more, book in to see Selma, Wendy or Kevin. Call 0345 222 0579 or fill in our online contact form.
Don't let hearing loss limit you
World Hearing Day – 3rd March 2020
See us on 3rd March at Dobbies Garden Centre, Beaconsfield
What is World Hearing Day?
Organised by the World Health Organisation, World Hearing Day is the largest campaign to raise awareness about ear and hearing care and calls for action to address hearing loss. It is the ideal opportunity to spread the word and raise the profile of ear and hearing care in people’s minds.
The first World Hearing Day was in 2014 and it is always held on the 3rd March – because 3.3. resembles the shape of 2 ears. Each World Hearing Day has a different theme and this year it is “Don’t let hearing loss limit you.”
While all World Hearing Days are important to us at Help in Hearing, this year’s theme really resonates with us as we often hear from new clients how their hearing loss had begun to limit their life. They tell us how they have started to avoid some social situations because they were embarrassed that they had to ask people to repeat themselves, or they stopped attending clubs because they didn’t hear most of the meeting.
Being able to help clients to hear well again provides fantastic job satisfaction and I like to think that my role is not to fit hearing aids but to facilitate clients in enjoying life to the full again by hearing well in every situation.
But what keeps me awake at night is knowing that there are people with hearing loss who have not yet had their hearing tested and begun their hearing aid journey. World Hearing Day is a great opportunity to reach out to friends and family who are showing signs of hearing loss and encouraging them to have a hearing test. We need to tell them “Don’t let hearing loss limit you.”
See us on 3rd March at Dobbies Garden Centre, Beaconsfield
On 3rd March, Gilly and I will be at Dobbies Garden Centre in Beaconsfield, promoting World Hearing Day and will be ready to answer questions about hearing, hearing loss and ear care.
We will be located near to the café in the garden centre so why not bring along your friends for a coffee and slice of cake and then come and say hello.
Dobbies Garden Centre, London Road, Beaconsfield HP9 1SH
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.