Selma Becker, Managing Director and Senior Hearing Aid Audiologist
Welcome to our July online newsletter
Welcome back to our online newsletter. I have just returned from a wonderful two weeks in Devon. Although we would have hoped for better weather, I so love the rugged coastal scenery and glorious walks. I do hope you are all enjoying the summer, wherever your holiday plans take you. It has been a busy first half of the year and we are really looking forward to seeing you over the next few months in clinic or at one of our events.
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. We have lots of articles on news, events, advice and industry news, which you can access by clicking the tabs above. Click through the tabs to view all our articles and scroll up and down each page to read the articles that are there.
A number of our clients have enjoyed meeting our new audiologist, Wendy. It only seems a short while ago that we were a team of three – Kevin, Selma and Gilly – and now there are five of us, plus Alfie of course! Jan has now been with us for a year, having joined us in June 2018 and Wendy has settled in so quickly that it feels like she has always been part of the team.
During July (17th, 24th & 31st) Wendy is giving a series of coffee morning talks at our Farnham Common practice, following on from the success of her presentation at the Alzheimer’s Café in early June. See our Events section for further details.
Looking ahead, our big news is that we are planning a high-profile Hearing Health Event at the Marlow Club on October 3rd based around Livio, the first aid with artificial intelligence which tracks brain and body fitness. There will be talks and a special health buffet as we continue to promote the importance of healthy hearing. Full details are in our News section.
The Stoke Poges Dog Show was great fun. It was wonderful to be promoting Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and we are delighted to say that our very own Alfie, the Bichon did very well.
On Thursday 3rd October, we will be holding a Hearing Health Event at The Marlow Club, an exclusive membership-only fitness facility based in Globe Park.
Join us from 4.00pm – 7.00pm for the launch of Livio, a new, world-first hearing aid, with hearing health talks and demonstrations, followed by a special health buffet.
These new aids, which are featured in our New Products section, have artificial intelligence to monitor brain & body health. Almost like a “Fitbit”, the Livio device comes with an app called “Thrive,” which tracks steps and heart-rate.
At the Marlow Hearing Health Event we will be giving a series of talks on:
o Artificial intelligence and monitoring your health
o How reducing hearing loss can combat the increase of cognitive decline
o How the Starkey Foundation has changed lives
The event will end with a complimentary Health Buffet and more time to talk to the audiology team.
All visitors will receive a complimentary Marlow Club VIP Day Pass & Training session.
There is more information about the Livio AI range on our New Products page.
Talk by the Starkey Hearing Foundation
Help in Hearing to support Starkey Hearing Foundation
At our Hearing Health Event there will be a talk on how the Starkey Foundation has changed lives, having taken hearing healthcare services to more than 1 million people in need worldwide.
The Starkey Hearing Foundation was set up by American William F Austin who believed that his calling in life was helping people to hear and that by doing so, he could have a lasting impact on the world. It was established in 1984 and with the help of thousands of volunteers and by collaborating with governments, non-government organisations, and health leaders, the Foundation has expanded its reach from its origins in Minnesota across the United States to more than 100 countries.
For every visitor that attends our Hearing Health Event we will be donating £5 per head to the Starkey Foundation in recognition of the amazing work they continue to carry out. Don’t forget that old hearing aids can be recycled. Please don’t throw them away, bring them in to us and we can send them off to be used for fitting hearing aids abroad for countries in need. Find out more at the Starkey Foundation website.
CCGs don’t have enough information to be effective
NHS hearing services at risk
According to information released by the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists (BSHAA), vital NHS hearing aid services across England could be at risk because an overwhelming majority of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) do not have the “bare minimum” information needed to be effective.
The report, conducted by the charity Action on Hearing Loss, was launched on 4th June, entitled “Valuing Audiology: NHS Hearing Aid Services in England.” It was compiled using data from Freedom of Information (FOI) requests sent by the charity to all 195 CCGs in England. Of those who responded in full, just one in 20 (5%) knew how much they are spending on audiology, how many hearing aids they are fitting, and whether patients are satisfied with what they are receiving.
Dr Roger Wicks, director of policy and campaigns at Action on Hearing Loss, said: “These results demonstrate an alarming lack of oversight and accountability on the part of CCGs, which are entrusted with providing healthcare to local populations across England. Without data on how many people are being treated for hearing loss or on the quality of services, commissioning for audiology in many parts of England is being done through apparent guess work, and we fear that under pressure CCGs may well continue to see hearing aid services as a soft target for cuts.”
Hearing loss linked to increased risk of dementia and other mental health problems
Roger continued: “Such a systemic lack of oversight on hearing aid services sadly seems to demonstrate that CCGs are still not taking hearing loss and its wider health implications seriously. Hearing loss is linked to a significantly increased risk of dementia, isolation and other mental health problems. Until CCGs take steps to collect fundamentally important data, these services remain exposed to a risk of cuts and rationing.”
Responding to the Action on Hearing Loss report, BSHAA chief executive, Prof David Welbourn said: “BSHAA – the professional body for independent audiologists – welcomes the work to shine a spotlight on the urgent need for many of the old myths about hearing care to be overturned. It is now recognised that untreated hearing loss is ranked as the fourth largest burden of disability in the UK, higher even than diabetes. Recent research has shown that addressing hearing loss is the single most significant action an individual can take to reduce their risk of dementia, and evidence continues to grow that hearing aids provide exceptional value for money, contributing strongly to wellbeing and fulfilment. Most hearing aid wearers wish they had taken action earlier.”
(Article courtesy of BSHAA)
The Otoscan 3D ear scanner
Taking the lead in digital advances
At Help in Hearing we strive to give our clients the best combination of quality care, service and technology. With this in mind we are proud to announce that we will be offering custom ear impressions with the use of the innovative new Otoscan 3D ear scanner.
We are the only independent hearing care professionals in the Thames Valley to take on this new equipment, which will streamline our processes and provide deeper scans than traditional impression material, with efficient digital accuracy, recording ear differences when the jaw is open and closed, giving vital information for a better fit. These scans will then be kept on our system for future reference and can be used to create in-the-ear custom shells and hearing devices, as well as sleep or swim moulds.
Otoscan has been developed by Otometrics – an independent hearing care provider of audiology solutions for more than 50 years. It is designed specifically for the needs of audiologists and hearing aid dispensers selling and fitting custom hearing aids.
Comments Selma: “In order to offer the best, we need to continue to invest in the latest personalised state-of-the-art technology. We are very excited to be one of the few independents in the country to take on 3D scanning. We believe this shows our commitment to our clients and their future needs. Otometrics have some fantastic testimonials to illustrate the advantages of the system and I am delighted to be able to pass these benefits on to my clients.”
We will be scanning as many clients as we can in our Farnham Common practice. Look out for some fantastic feedback in our next newsletter.
Wendy Davies, Audiologist
Private clinics at local hospital
Wendy is now holding private hearing clinics on Monday afternoons at the Thames Valley Spire Hospital in Wexham.
Wendy will be working closely with ENT Consultants at the Spire Hospital, offering hearing tests and tympanometry. Help in Hearing is now recognised by all the main insurance companies and can see privately insured patients at both the Spire and at our practice in Farnham Common.
Says Wendy: “I am delighted to be working with the Spire team and look forward to now offering this extended service at Help in Hearing.”
All private insurance bookings are via ENT consultant referral. For the Spire these are processed by outpatients at the Hub on: 01753 665429; or at Help in Hearing call our freephone no: 0345 222 0579.
In Other News
Veterans hearing fund
Did you know that there is a Veterans Hearing Fund (VHF) which provides support to veterans who acquired hearing loss while serving for the Armed Forces? It is open to those who have a wellbeing need that cannot be met through statutory services (such as the NHS). The VHF may fund hearing aids, peripherals or therapies (e.g, lip reading). Access to the fund is through the Royal British Legion, who say:
“No matter how long someone served or how long ago they left Service, there is a support network there for them and their families.” Further details can be found on the Royal British Legion website.
Making your mobile calls clearer
A company called Audacious have created a world-first technology that personalises your mobile calls to suit your hearing. They say that your call quality can be improved, based on your personalised hearing profile. What’s more, you don’t need a new mobile phone to use the technology because your hearing profile is stored on the SIM card. Over time, our hearing needs change. And whenever you get a new phone, the way it delivers sound will differ, too. With the Audacious system this doesn’t matter as the user can re-take the Sound Check any time. For more information, visit the Audacious website or get in touch with us.
Even though Alfie has recently paid four visits to the vets and has had two general anaesthetics in a short space of time, he still managed to win 2 rosettes at the Stoke Poges Dog Show. He was awarded second place in the Golden Oldies section and third place in Musical Sits. Well done Alfie! For more details, see the story in our Events section.
Help in Hearing will be joining the Lions Club Wellbeing Day at Burnham Park Hall on Saturday September 14th 10.30am-4.00pm. A great day out for all the family, there will be activities and therapies to learn about, arts and crafts to enjoy and healthy talks to give you inspiration and improve your wellbeing. More details to come, please visit the Burnham Lions Club website to find out more.
Join us for talks and coffee
Hearing Health coffee mornings and talks in Farnham Common
Our new audiologist, Wendy Davies, is running a series of Hearing Updates, followed by coffee and conversation and the opportunity to have your ears checked and hearing health questions answered.
We are holding these presentations on three Wednesdays in a row, from 10.00am-12.00pm at our Farnham Common clinic, as follows:
17th July: Hearing & Hearing Loss – an overview
Understand how we hear and the importance of each part of the auditory system.
What causes hearing loss, how we can protect our hearing and the effects of hearing loss such as not hearing conversations leading to avoiding social situations.
How we test hearing and what to expect at a hearing assessment appointment.
Brief explanation of tinnitus and its management
24th July: Cognitive Function Declines if Hearing Loss is Left Untreated
Overview of how important it is to hear well.
Discuss how important it is to socialise.
Definition of cognition and how it “makes us work,” leading into cognition decline can lead to dementia.
Links between hearing loss and dementia and how managing hearing loss not only helps cognition but overall wellbeing.
31st July: No More Beige Bananas – what do hearing aids look like in 2019?
When we think about hearing aids, we tend to think about large, beige, banana shaped devices that whistle – or at least that was what my grandmother had.
This talk will explore the different styles and colours of hearing aids and will explain why they don’t whistle any more.
Headline features such as rechargeability, noise management and health monitoring.
There will be products available for you to look at and handle.
If you’d like to try any of the products we can book you in for an appointment.
Look at apps and phone connectivity.
Please spread the word and let your friends know, as it would be great to see some new faces at these talks. Book in by visiting our Events page, call our freephone number 0345 2220579 or email email@example.com referencing the date of the coffee morning you plan to attend.
Fundraising for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
Stoke Poges Pooches
Wendy and Gilly had a great time at the Stoke Poges Village Fete on 8th June. They shared a stall with Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and provided the rosettes for the Dog Show, one of the highlights at the annual event. There was also a car show, fancy dress and Irish dancing. Lots of people turned up on the day and the sun just about shone through, although it was so windy that a couple of gazebos went flying at the set-up stage!
The six categories at the Dog Show were Cutest Puppy, Golden Oldie, Waggiest Tail, Musical Sits, Best Catch and the Dog the judge would most like to take home.
Fairly judged by the Hearing Dogs volunteers, Gilly’s dog Alfie came 2nd in the Golden Oldies at the grand age of 11 years and he came 3rd in Musical Sits, as Gilly’s husband disco-danced around the arena and encouraged Alfie to sit with quite a few treats. If Kevin had been there, we think Alfie would also have done better in the waggiest tail category!
Our art workshop was a great success
A big thank you to Debbie Perry for running our tinnitus summer art workshop on 1st June at Liston Hall in Marlow. It was such a good morning, well attended, great fun and very relaxing.
The workshop was based on Debbie’s recent research for her Masters in Applied Positive Psychology at Bucks New University. She is particularly interested in art-based research into emotions and emotion regulation and has just finished some research on tinnitus-related anxiety.
Emotional reactions to tinnitus
The idea behind the session was to help the group identify and express their emotional reactions to tinnitus, in order to accept and come to terms with the condition. Art and drawing, like other leisure pursuits, all help to distract from the tinnitus, while any form of relaxation helps to calm the nervous system. This in itself helps to create a positive emotional experience to help see tinnitus differently.
Debbie is a member of the Marlow Tinnitus Group and a client at Help in Hearing in Marlow. She is dependent on two hearing aids and has experienced tinnitus for a long time. Her journey has taken her from a very negative place to a positive one and at the workshop she shared her experience with the group. She used the opportunity to explain how her tinnitus has become a signal to alert her to take time out. If she becomes stressed or anxious, her tinnitus increases noticeably so it is time to deploy relaxation techniques that work for her.
The feedback from the session, which included expressing both the negative and positive aspects of tinnitus through drawing, colouring, stencilling and painting, was excellent. Here are a couple of the comments we have received so far:
“It was very interesting – whilst I was doing art I was not aware of [my] tinnitus at all. I think if you’d have asked me out of 10 what it was at the start and at the end – the score would have been different!”
“Thank you for a very informative and interesting morning. Driving home, I felt very relaxed in my shoulders and my tinnitus was barely audible.”
Book your place at one of our Tinnitus Support Group events
Tinnitus Support Group events
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.
Thursday July 11th
Refreshments: 6:00pm. Talk: 6:30 – 8:00pm
Help in Hearing, Cedar House, Glade Road, Marlow SL7 1DQ (free parking on site)
Joanna Hannam from Find your Smile is joining us on Thursday July 11th at our Marlow practice 6.00pm- 8.00pm to demonstrate Vedic Meditation, a really easy technique that quickly removes stress and tiredness from the body – both of which are key factors in the frequency and severity of Tinnitus.
Joanna will talk about the impact of stress on the body, how this meditation works and how it differs from other techniques – the key difference being that thinking is good! Joanna will walk you through some simple relaxation exercises that can help in moments of high stress and will provide details of her meditation course.
Tuesday September 17th
6:00pm – 8:00pm
Help in Hearing, Cedar House, Glade Road, Marlow SL7 1DQ (free parking on site)
Bring and share your tinnitus story
Everyone is welcome to bring and share their tinnitus story to this event. All the members of the group have had different experiences and this is an opportunity to exchange ideas of how to manage tinnitus and to hear all about the varied journeys and pathways that our members have taken.
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.
“Always a pleasure to visit, understanding, kind, patient & efficient. Has the latest test methods available, coupled with a high degree of experience which ensures that I get the best assistance in enabling me me to hear conversation & the more recent TV attachment, which in itself is simple to set up, ensures the programmes are easy to listen to & it has enhanced my viewing considerably.”
“Welcoming approach, good feedback and no problems making appointments. It doesn’t matter which member of staff you deal with they are all very professional but friendly.”
“Very helpful and efficient service. Professional approach. Special thanks to Kevin. Highly professional.”
“Patient, kind and very professional service from Selma. The right hearing aids chosen for you to try and use. Excellent service. Much better than any other audiologist I have seen. The technology is superior and the knowledge shown by Selma is excellent. Selma has excellent medical knowledge from being a trained audiologist and a Cardiac Nurse.”
“Efficient and helpful service, good hearing aids. Special mention for Kevin.”
“An introduction by the Postlethwaites about 10 years ago when I met Selma Becker really did change and improve my life. The technical advice and periodic follow ups are invaluable to keep the units evaluated. My wife has also benefited greatly by more recently having tests and acquiring appliances.”
“We would recommend Selma and the team very highly. The service is consistently high and we value the caring approach. Selma is patient and caring. We are never hurried.”
“Excellent friendly and knowledgeable service.”
“Always helpful and agreeable. Special mention for Kevin.”
A drying box can help reduce moisture overnight
Caring for your hearing aids
We are always happy to clean and service your hearing aids. They are very precious to you, so remember to book in to see us regularly to ensure they are in tip top condition and working their best for you.
Between appointments there are some very useful tips you can follow. If you would like us to set you up with a cleaning kit set, we can discuss what you will need and tailor your requirements accordingly. We might need to order certain items in for you and can outline the costs at your visit.
For example, to care for your RITE hearing aids effectively you will need:
A small brush (may have a small metal loop on the other end)
A wire filament
A hook or pick
A drying box if necessary (please ask us about the different types that may be suitable for you)
The British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists (BSHAA) have produced a very good series of leaflets to help you care for your aids so we have put a PDF link to these guides below. If you would like to be sent a copy of any of these leaflets please do let us know.
To read or download the leaflets, click on the leaflet name below. A new browser tab will open and the leaflet will appear on the screen. You can then either read it on screen, download it to your hard drive, or print it out.
Starkey have launched Livio AI, a world-first hearing aid that has artificial intelligence which can track brain and body health. Until now there has never been a device that can track and measure physical activity and cognitive health.
Most fitness tracking devices use the wrist but the ear provides far more accurate data. Compatible with both Android and Apple smartphones, Livio AI provides a body score, brain score and an overall score, combining the two, using an app called Thrive.
Starkey say that Livio is effective in even the noisiest environments, comfortable in loud settings and quiet in quiet settings, using their new technology known as Hearing Reality. It also features Amazon Alexa connectivity and has sensors that alert an emergency contact if the wearer has experienced a fall. Another benefit is the Advanced Multiflex Tinnitus Technology which also works via the Thrive App to bring Tinnitus relief.
Starkey Livio AI – where to find out more
The Starkey Livio AI hearing aid is now available at Help in Hearing. If you’d like to find out more, come along to our special Hearing Health event on October 3rd at the Marlow Club. Click here to find out more about the event and book your place. If you are unable to come to the event, please give us a ring on 0345 222 0579 or fill in our contact form online to find out more about the Livio.
Unitron launches the Discover range of hearing aids
Unitron have introduced new Discover technology to their Moxi family of aids. Natural-sounding hearing at ‘first fit’ is what the technology aims to achieve and Unitron say that Discover can mimic the hearing of a person in their twenties.
The aids will automatically adjust to different situations, categorising the environments into seven different hearing situations: Quiet, Conversation in quiet, Conversation in a small group, Conversation in a crowd, Conversation in noise, Noise and Music.
Great Sound at First Fit
Accepting your hearing aids from the first fit is not as easy as it sounds. If you’ve had a hearing loss for a while and have been hearing at a reduced level, you will have adapted to these decreased levels. This means that when you do optimise your hearing with aids, it will take a while for your auditory system and brain to acclimatise to the new levels and this is where the company believes the new Discover platform will make a difference.
The Sound Conductor (environmental information), Spatial Awareness (4 microphones), and Speech Pro (clear speech understanding) components combine with Sound Nav which is trained to think like a human and optimises the information from the seven possible environments to build your own personal sound map. It dynamically reads the environment and combines the information to choose the best program for you. Sound Nav includes Media Nav which allows users to stream audio from any device, directly to their hearing aids, with no intermediary device.
Hands Free – “Made for All” Streaming
This upgraded technology, in the new Discover platform, is also enhanced by the ‘hands free’ facility for phone calls from any smartphone – Apple or Android. You can answer phone calls by just pressing a button on your hearing aid, and end the call by pressing the button again. You don’t need to touch your phone at all.
Unitron have also now moved to the more reliable Lithium-ion rechargeable battery in the Moxi Jump R hearing aid. With this system you will get 16 hours of charge, with the added benefit of once you have removed the hearing aid from the charger, there is no need to press a button to start your hearing aid as it automatically turns on.
Unitron Diagnostic trials
The company offers the Flex:Trial and Flex:Upgrade system.
The idea is for the client to use the aids for a period of two weeks during which the hearing devices will ‘log’ the individuals lifestyle and environment after which a diagnosis of the relevant features within the system can be assessed and decided upon. If your listening environments change, and you become a more active listener in more challenging environments, you can simply upgrade your hearing aid to a higher technology (and pay the cost difference). Help in Hearing will upgrade the software, but you can continue to wear the same hearing aid.
Unitron Discover – where to find out more
Please make an appointment to see Selma, Kevin or Wendy if you are interested in trialling these devices or want to find out more.
Summer hearing tips
With the summer months approaching, our thoughts go to holidays, working in the garden and if the weather holds maybe some outdoor theatre and concerts. That means it is also time to think about our summer hearing health. Here are some of our summer hearing health tips.
Your hearing aid accessories are vital parts of your holiday packing list so do check a week or so before that you have enough batteries and domes for your trip. It’s a good idea to change the wax guards too before you set off – please contact us for an appointment if you would like us to service your hearing aids before your holiday.
If you are travelling to a country with high humidity, I would recommend investing in a hearing aid dehumidifier. These small pots use a dessicant to draw any moisture from the hearing aid overnight.
When the weather is hot, a dip in a swimming pool is just the way to cool off, but do take some precautions against developing a case of Swimmer’s Ear. All water contains bacteria but there are higher levels in untreated water such as river and sea water. When water containing bacteria gets trapped in the ear, it is in the right environment – a nice warm ear canal – and the bacteria start to multiply and this may lead to an infection in the skin within the ear casing inflammation, which can become very painful.
Follow these recommendations to reduce the risk of Swimmer’s Ear:
1. Use a swimming cap or ear plugs to minimise the amount of water going into your ears.
2. Dry ears thoroughly after swimming. If you feel you have any water trapped in your ear canal, lean your head over towards your shoulder, jiggle your ear lobe and gravity should do the rest, allowing the water to drain out. Never use cotton buds to try and mop up any water.
3. Do not try and remove any ear wax other than wiping it away from the entrance of your ear canal with a flannel or tissue. Again, never use cotton buds to remove ear wax. If you feel that you have a build-up of wax, please make an appointment to see us so that we can safely remove it.
It is good hearing health to protect our ears from excessive noise. Noise protection applies to all the family, not just those wearing hearing aids and not just the obvious times such as loud concerts or sporting events, but also when using electrical tools such as lawnmowers and DIY power tools. Help In Hearing can provide inexpensive over-the-counter noise plugs – please contact us for more details.
Summer is the time for meeting with friends and family and barbecues and parties. Your family will be delighted that you are taking care of your hearing health by wearing your hearing aids, so if you have not worn your aids for a while, it’s time to get them out again. Do make an appointment with us for a clean and service if required.
Summer hearing health tips – where to find out more
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.