Selma Becker, Managing Director and Senior Hearing Aid Audiologist
Welcome to our November online newsletter
A very warm welcome to you all. I can’t believe that Christmas is around the corner. Don’t miss out on those magical moments of festive cheer, make the most of your hearing aids if you wear them, book to come and see us for free hearing aid servicing. Do you need any batteries, wax guards or domes? Gilly and Jan are always at hand to send you everything you need. Just be sure you don’t miss the Christmas post.
Or, maybe you need regular microsuction? Don’t leave it too late to ensure your ears are in tip top condition – do book to see us before our Christmas closure at lunch time on Christmas Eve.
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.
It has been busy at Help in Hearing since our last newsletter in July. Kevin is now in the Marlow practice four days a week and the company has joined the Marlow Chamber of Commerce, as part of our plan to become more involved with the local community. Selma attended a very interesting Chamber of Commerce presentation at The Compleat Angler and we have agreed to sponsor the signs for the Christmas late night shopping evening on December 5th, so do look out for our branded signposting.
Our Hearing Health Event in October was a great success and in the last couple of months Selma has been interviewed by the local radio station, Marlow FM; Kevin has been nominated for a customer service award; Wendy and Jan have been busy running to raise money for charity; and Gilly has been celebrating two years of the Tinnitus Support Group.
Father Christmas’ elves have pointy ears, which really help in anticipating repairs on Santa’s sleigh. They have a large pinna – that’s the tissue on the outer ear – it helps elves localise sounds like a screw that’s become loose on a sleigh’s runner. Their brilliant hearing means they also have a talent for echolocation – that’s a skill you find in bats where they can hear reflected sounds to help see obstacles in the night sky – very handy because it gets dark as anything on Christmas Night and Santa doesn’t want to be seen.
Donkeys’ long ears are an evolutionary example of their desert-walking ancestors. Their ears give them the ability to hear the call of another donkey up to 60 miles away. Their large ears also help to keep them cool by using them as a fan!
Monday December 23rd: 9.00am-5.00pm
Christmas Eve: 9.00am-1.00pm Closed:
Christmas Eve: 1.00pm onwards, Christmas Day, Boxing Day & Friday 27th December Re-opens:
Monday December 30th: 9.00am-5.00pm
New Year’s Eve: 9.00am-1.00pm Closed:
New Year’s Eve: 1.00pm onwards
New Year’s Day Re-opens:
Thursday 2nd January 2020, normal working hours
The Hearing Health Event at The Marlow Club
Hearing health event review
Our Hearing Health event at the Marlow Club earlier in October was a resounding success! Thank you to everyone who came along, a good number have subsequently booked in to see us to find out more. Also a big thank you to our guest speakers, Paul Lamb, Technical Director at Starkey for telling us all about artificial intelligence developments in hearing aids; and Roger Lewin, Managing Director, who talked about the wonderful work of the Starkey Foundation in giving the gift of hearing to people in need in more than 100 countries. Starkey was also represented by Sales Manager, Julie Adshead, who was at hand to discuss the intricacies and benefits of the new Livio aids, launched at the event.
Nearly 30 people attended on the day and we were delighted that the Deputy Mayor, Bob Johnson, was also there to open the event. He was very keen to convey the message regarding the importance of correcting hearing loss to avoid social isolation and help with dementia. This was further talked about by our audiologist Kevin Jeffery in his presentation on how correcting hearing loss can play a significant role in combating cognitive decline.
Thank you also to the Marlow Club for hosting the event and serving us a fantastic health buffet, enjoyed by all.
Our audiologist, Kevin Jeffery, was recently shortlisted for Best Customer Service in the Hidden Gems Awards sponsored by Marlow FM.
Known by some of you as the “Ear Man,” Kevin was very humble about the nomination. He was told by the organisers that he had received numerous votes and nominations with very kind words of praise from his clients. He commented:
“To be nominated and recognised for my services to my clients in Marlow was a complete surprise. My work with helping clients to hear or advise regarding “anything and everything ears!” is reward enough, so it was very humbling. Although I did not win the award (the winner was far more deserving!), I would just like to say a huge personal thank you to everyone who did vote and nominate. I always try my best to help where I can with hearing, ears and hearing loss. Sometimes it can be straightforward. Other times it may be quite challenging due to how hearing is affected and the lack of a cure! However, despite this it is always a pleasure to see my clients, many of whom I have had the privilege of looking after for many years. Testament to why I have now been working in Marlow for nearly 14 years.”
According to Marlow FM, Hidden Gems was launched to champion, highlight and say thank you to the good and the great unsung heroes of the town. We would like to congratulate the winner Theo Clary of Sainsbury’s.
Santa Fun Run in aid of ADS
Santa Fun Run for Wendy and Jan
A big shout out to Wendy and Jan who entered the annual Santa 5K Fun Run around Dorney Lake on November 24th to raise money for Alzheimer Dementia Support (ADS) and all the work they do for the local area.
Guess the time and you could win a £50 John Lewis voucher
There’s still time to enter our competition to guess Wendy’s time to complete the 5k run, the prize being a £50 John Lewis voucher, in time for Christmas! The nearest time guess (to the second) wins the voucher and the competition is open until December 13th. Call us on 0345 222 0579 or email us with your entry. Or you can go directly to our Just Giving page and provide your name and your guess in minutes and seconds. Guesses cost £1 and all proceeds will go to ADS.
Deafening cinema sound is ruining films, claims Hugh Grant
An article recently appeared in the Guardian about cinema sound which had been set off by a tweet on 5 October from actor Hugh Grant who had been to see the new film “Joker”. In it he simply put: “Am I old, or is the cinema MUCH TOO LOUD? Unendurable. Pointless.”
The incident subsequently provoked an outpouring of accounts of aural pain at other venues. Many filmgoers said they believe sound levels have been crawling up the decibel scale, and not just for the adverts and trailers. Several sufferers also argued that a lack of balanced settings in an auditorium can create an unpleasant booming sensation.
How clever is this: Twin bloggers Hermon and Heroda lost their hearing when they were children but new clothing using haptic sensors means they can enjoy a night out dancing to music.
Special software captures the music, interprets it and then transforms it into touch data which is sent wirelessly to their shirts. Take a look at this video, it’s a great story.
Crisis text line for deaf people launched
A new free text message service to support deaf people who are in crisis has been launched. “Shout” is the UK’s first free 24/7 confidential text service and provides a unique opportunity for deaf people to access support immediately by texting the word DEAF to the number 85258. The service is much needed: deaf people are twice as likely to experience mental health problems than hearing people.
Following the successful coffee mornings at our Farnham Common practice, Wendy has taken her talks to the local community, giving a series of presentations on hearing technology and the correlation between cognitive function and hearing. She has been a guest speaker at the Alzheimer Café at the Spencer Denney Centre in Windsor and also at Elizabeth House, Cookham’s Award-winning adult day centre based at the old police station. If anyone is aware of a local organisation that would welcome a talk by Wendy, please do let us know as she is becoming a very popular guest speaker.
It has been a quiet time for Alfie. He is happy and healthy but hardly ever sees his friend Kevin. Gilly now works four days a week, so Alfie misses seeing Kevin when he’s in Farnham Common on her day off. If Kevin calls in to catch up with the team or to collect repairs or new aids, Alfie really can’t cope – everyone in the local area must surely be able to hear his joyful barking!! He is very much looking forward to Christmas (as he knows there will be some extra special festive treats!). He wishes you all a very Happy Christmas!
Join us to find out about Bluetooth connectivity
Practice Open Week
27th – 31st January 2020
Save the date! In the last week of January 2020 we are holding an Open Week in Farnham Common and Marlow focusing on Bluetooth connectivity and any post-Christmas party hearing “blues”.
Anyone who makes an appointment in our Farnham Common practice will also be offered the opportunity to try out our new Otoscan 3D ear scanner, which creates custom ear impressions.
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.
Call our freephone number 0345 222 0579, or email us to reserve a place at one of our Open Days.
Help us celebrate our 15 year anniversary
Charity gala dinner to celebrate 15 years of Help in Hearing
Save the date: Friday 24th April, 2020
We are delighted to announce that we are holding a Charity Gala Dinner to celebrate our 15th birthday at Stoke Place Country House on Friday April 24th at 7.00pm. 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
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 and entertainment.
Call our freephone number 0345 222 0579, or email us to register your interest in our celebration event.
2 year anniversary for our Tinnitus Support Group
2 years of the TSG
On November 19th we celebrated our two-year anniversary, with a guest appearance from Gavin Bateman of the BTA. A good number of new and old members joined us, celebrating with party food to mark the occasion.
When I started at Help in Hearing in September 2017, I mentioned to Selma how keen I was to set up a Tinnitus Support Group. I knew that a group like this would benefit from clinical input from an audiologist, so I was delighted when Selma was as keen as I was to facilitate and sponsor this venture.
Both Kevin and Selma have taken time to attend the sessions and we have invited guest speakers to present an array of topics ranging from ENT, Reflexology, Cranial-Sacral Therapy and Hypnotherapy to Aromatherapy, Mindfulness and Singing Bowls. We have also held a couple of workshops, with taster sessions on Tai Chi and sign language, plus “an expressing Tinnitus through Art” morning with one of our members.
The ethos behind the group is to share positive experiences and find ways in which we can learn to manage and live with our Tinnitus. There are new members joining all the time and I have been delighted that the group has been so successful.
Here are some quotes from some of our support group members about what the Group means to them:
“The support group means such a lot to me, and I will be forever grateful for the time and trouble you go to in order to make it successful. As you know, tinnitus can be a lonely road – and at times a distressing and depressing one – and knowing there are others who know what it’s like is a real emotional and mental health support for me.”
“What has been so important for me coming to the Tinnitus Support is meeting others and not feeling as isolated. Also, listening to the many speakers we have had has been inspiring. It was listening to Julian Cowan-Hill’s talk on tinnitus which really gave me light-bulb moments of understanding. He linked tinnitus with fight-or-flight and panic disorder and explained how our hearing is heightened during this. We are on hearing alert when anxious. Our hearing is more sensitive as we listen out for danger. Which means we are more likely to become aware of tinnitus. What I have learnt is that I may not be able to control my tinnitus, but I can control my emotional responses to it.”
“I joined the tinnitus group in January 2019, and since then I’ve met some wonderful people along the way. I enjoy getting involved with the group and helping out where I can, by doing so, I feel good knowing I’ve been able to help someone going through a similar experience as myself. I look forward to the upcoming support sessions and getting to know the group better.”
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.
Unless specified below, all events are held at:
Help in Hearing, Cedar House, Glade Road, Marlow SL7 1DQ (free parking on site)
Wednesday January 8th 2020
Refreshments: 6:00pm. Talk: 6:30 – 8:00pm
Mindfulness & well-being
Gayle Creasey, a local psychotherapist who works as a mindfulness and self-compassion trainer will be talking about the simple, practical skills needed to help reduce the impact of stress and suffering and improve emotional resilience and well-being.
3rd – 9th February 2020 – Tinnitus Awareness Week
Support Group meeting – Tuesday 4th February 2020
Refreshments: 6:00pm. Talk: 6:30 – 8:00pm
Share your tinnitus experience
A meeting to share our Tinnitus journeys, with the emphasis on positive management.
An opportunity for current and new group members to tell their story. All welcome.
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 support your tinnitus journey. The workshop is run by our support group members Vee Modha and Debbie Perry. Places are limited to 12 people so booking is essential.
We have decided to look more closely at some of the hearing related charities in a special regular feature “Spotlight On”. Our focus in this edition is on the British Tinnitus Association (BTA), who are celebrating their 40-year anniversary. We are delighted that a BTA representative, Gavin Bateman, joined our 2-year Support Group party in Marlow on November 19th to give a BTA update and presentation on the current research.
In this article, Nic Wray of the BTA takes a look at the history of the organisation.
The birth of the British Tinnitus Association (BTA) was one very much driven by people with tinnitus. A 1978 documentary on tinnitus, produced by the campaigning deaf MP, Jack Ashley, had flooded the RNID (Royal National Institute for the Deaf, now Action on Hearing Loss) with calls. The RNID called a meeting and on a sunny July day in 1979, over 300 people crowded into the Grand Committee Room at the House of Commons. Jack Ashley promised to campaign both inside and outside Parliament, to improve the lot of people with tinnitus. It was asked whether more self-help groups could be formed and an association set up – the British Tinnitus Association. The RNID Council considered the matter and the BTA was born.
Soon there were over 40 groups all over the country. Initially, the BTA was provided with an administrator and office by the RNID, and a tinnitus newsletter included in their journal.
From 1982 onwards, the BTA held two meetings annually, and in 1990 a Working Group was formed to look into the feasibility of setting up the BTA as an independent charity.
1991 saw the start of the new BTA, which became a registered charity in 1992, with volunteers associated with the Sheffield Tinnitus Association taking on the administration and organisational tasks.
In 1994, the first Counselling Training Seminars (now renamed Tinnitus Adviser Training courses) were held, and these have been joined by other professional development courses and events. Tinnitus Information Days were launched in 2012. Tinnitus Awareness Week (now Tinnitus Week) ran for the first time in 1990 and has now become an international event.
From a base of two part time volunteers and a rather rundown office, the BTA now has 18 staff members working from modern facilities in Sheffield and continues to go from strength to strength. We wonder what the next 40 years will bring!
What our patients say about us
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.
“Selma is so helpful as well as being very professional.”
“Extremely helpful service; speed of access; information expertise and reassurance!”
“Professional approach and time taken to clearly explain all the challenges and features of hearing aids. Quick response when things don’t go as expected.”
“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.”
Use good yet simple strategies for talking with hearing impaired people
Tips for communicating with hearing impaired
Successful communication requires the efforts of all people involved in a conversation. Even when the person with hearing loss wears hearing aids and employs active listening strategies, it is crucial that others involved in the communication process consistently use good yet simple strategies.
As someone with hearing difficulties, you may find it frustrating when your family and friends become impatient with you. Or, perhaps you are one of those friends or family members who are not being understanding enough?
The most straightforward changes can make a big difference. Take a look at this list of tips – however simple a suggestion might be, it really can help:
Face the hearing-impaired person directly, on the same level and in good light whenever possible. Position yourself so that the light is shining on the speaker’s face, not in the eyes of the listener.
Do not talk from another room. Not being able to see each other when talking is a common reason people have difficulty understanding what is said.
Speak clearly, slowly, distinctly, but naturally, without shouting or exaggerating mouth movements. Shouting distorts the sound of speech and may make speech reading more difficult.
Say the person’s name before beginning a conversation. This gives the listener a chance to focus attention and reduces the chance of missing words at the beginning of the conversation.
Avoid talking too rapidly or using sentences that are too complex. Slow down a little, pause between sentences or phrases, and wait to make sure you have been understood before going on.
Keep your hands away from your face while talking. If you are eating, chewing, smoking, etc. while talking, your speech will be more difficult to understand. Beards and moustaches can also interfere with the ability of the hearing impaired to speech read.
If the listener hears better in one ear than the other, try to make a point of remembering which ear is better so that you will know where to position yourself.
Be aware of possible distortion of sounds – sometimes voice can be heard but there still may be difficulty understanding some words.
Most hearing-impaired people have greater difficulty understanding speech when there is background noise. Try to minimise extraneous noise when talking.
Some people with hearing loss are very sensitive to loud sounds. This reduced tolerance for loud sounds is not uncommon. Avoid situations where there will be loud sounds when possible.
If there is difficulty understanding a particular phrase or word, try to find a different way of saying the same thing, rather than repeating the original words over and over.
Acquaint the listener with the general topic of the conversation. Avoid sudden changes of topic. If the subject is changed, tell the person what you are talking about now. In a group setting, repeat questions or key facts before continuing with the discussion.
If you are giving specific information — such as time, place or phone numbers — to someone who is hearing impaired, have them repeat the specifics back to you. Many numbers and words sound alike.
If necessary, provide pertinent information in writing, such as directions, schedules, work assignments, etc.
Recognise that everyone, especially the hard-of-hearing, has a harder time hearing and understanding when ill or tired.
Pay attention to the listener. A puzzled look may indicate misunderstanding. Tactfully ask the hearing-impaired person if they understood you, or ask leading questions so you know your message got across.
New Signia Xperience hearing aids
Signia have introduced Xperience, the world’s first hearing aid to feature acoustic-motion sensors. Combining acoustic and built-in motion sensors, the new Xperience platform has been designed to scan and understand the wearer’s environment.
Featuring smart chip technology known as YourSound, the aids provide a highly personal sound processing experience, enabling users to hear what matters most, in any situation, even when in motion.
In the past, listening to music with hearing aids has been a challenge. With the introduction of digital hearing aid technology in the 1990’s manufacturers focused on increasing speech intelligibility especially in noisy places. Part of this development was to ensure comfort for the hearing aid wearer in all kinds of listening situations and to do this the maximum volume of the hearing aid was limited.
Hearing aids also concentrate on amplifying the frequency range of speech and in the past this frequency range has been limited by the available technology.
Music often louder than speech
Music is often louder than average speech and initially digital hearing aids could not handle these louder volumes resulting in less than optimum sound quality when listening to your favourite tunes.
Digital hearing aids are now in their 10th generation. They have more powerful chips with a much higher level of processing, and this has allowed manufacturers to focus on improving the listening experience with music.
Music managed in a different way to speech
The latest hearing aids continually analyse the acoustic environment and automatically adapt their features to provide the most comfort and clarity for the wearer. This also includes recognising when music is playing and managing it in a different way to speech.
For most wearers the automatic music detection and subsequent processing provides excellent sound quality, but most hearing aids also have additional specialist music programs that can be activated by your Audiologist. These include programs for listening to music or for when playing an instrument.
Improved enjoyment of music
Today’s hearing aids have a wider frequency response than previously and are now able to process the increased volume of music compared to speech, resulting in improved enjoyment of music.
For further information about listening to music, please contact us on 0345 222 0579 or contact us.
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.