Selma Becker, Managing Director and Senior Hearing Aid Audiologist
Welcome to our October online newsletter
A very warm welcome to you all. Who would have thought that 2020 would be such a tough year for so many people? I do hope you have kept well and that you are now beginning to enjoy a little more freedom and family time. I am hesitant to say this as I know the rules may change at any point.
During lockdown we continued to support our clients on the end of the phone, responding to requests for hearing aid supplies and urgent repairs. We also offered a hearing aid “clean and service” facility which we are still running, by arrangement, for any clients who do not want to come in for an appointment. Aids can be dropped off and picked up from a basket outside the practice. During this time, we were also delighted to implement an audiological support service for local people with NHS aids. The feedback was fantastic and well worth some fairly lonely hours working on my own.
Harvey’s father, an NHS hearing patient from Brighton, was staying with him during the Coronavirus/Covid-19 lockdown, when his hearing aids developed a problem and became uncomfortable to wear. Harvey contacted us and was delighted when we were able to help using our safe support setup.
He said: “Thanks for the work you carried out on my Dad’s hearing aids yesterday, I am pleased to report that they are working much better and are more comfortable for him to wear, I really appreciated it!”
We spent the lockdown time wisely, working out our Covid19 processes so that we could re-open to see clients as soon as possible. We carefully risk assessed the practice itself as well as our appointment process.
We started taking bookings on 1st June and the diary has been filling quickly ever since. The PPE has been challenging but my staff have been wonderful adapting to the new “normal”.
Note from the editor
Charity Dinner Cancellation
In May 2020 we were due to celebrate the15th year anniversary of Help in Hearing, with many of our clients booked in to join us at our Charity Gala Dinner. Understandably we had to postpone the event and although we were initially still planning to run it in May 2021 we have now sadly made the decision not to go ahead.
Until a successful vaccine is available, we believe it will be difficult to guarantee holding such a large gathering. We had wanted this to be a happy event with no restrictions and would rather wait until it can be so.
Since we initially announced our Charity Event to raise money for the National Deaf Children’s Society, Hearing Dogs and Alzheimer Dementia Support, we have already received some very generous donations, totalling nearly £4000.
We have also received a selection of donated “prizes” and are planning to run an online auction at some point, so that we can continue with our fundraising efforts in our birthday year. Watch this space – we will let you know once this is up and running.
In our Spotlight feature in the edition, we take a closer look at the National Deaf Children’s Society.
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 hearing stories and follow us on social media. You can find us on Twitter and Facebook.
Selma setting up her new room – nearly ready to go!
Farnham Common Expansion
We are delighted to announce that our Farnham Common practice is expanding. Demand has increased so much in recent months that we will be running a dedicated microsuction clinic in our existing room.
Selma will have a new Consulting Room at the back of Southmead Clinic, with a lovely garden view and Wendy will be moving into the room at the front. As many of our clients know, we already have a state-of-the art 3D digital ear scanner. We now have a new audiometer and will continue to invest in the best equipment as our hearing centre continues to flourish.
Let's Talk Chatable
There has been a lot of interest around the new Chatable app which dampens down background noise in complex listening situations. It can be downloaded either through the app store for Apple products or google play for Android phones.
Designed for daily use in social places, the App can pair with any Bluetooth hearing aid or it can be used without an aid – either via wireless earpods or wired headphones. Even people with seemingly normal hearing can still have problems processing speech in background noise. Chatable uses artificial intelligence to manipulate sound to deliver what the brain actually needs.
No doubt many of you may be a little “zoomed” out with the lockdown madness of “meeting” friends and family online. However, both the Zoom and Facetime facility have become a very useful tool for communicating with clients, during lockdown and since. We have “met” a number of new clients online and our existing clients have found “virtual” appointments and remote adjustments very useful. We love seeing you in person, but we can offer this service to anyone who prefers to talk to us from their own home. It is particularly useful for new clients to “meet us” and discuss their hearing needs before their appointment Please do let us know if this is of interest to you, or someone you know.
Why do we need to wear PPE
Any form of wax removal is an aerosol generating procedure, meaning that tiny particles of moisture are airborne. Because the Coronavirus is transmitted through the air and is highly contagious, we have to wear the full PPE, including gown, gloves, filtered mask and visor to protect ourselves and our clients. What is an aerosol generating procedure (AGP)? Aerosols are produced when an air current moves across the surface of a film of liquid; the greater the force of the air, the smaller the particles that are produced. Aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) are defined as any medical and patient care procedure that results in the production of airborne particles (aerosols).
Help with Hearing on the telephone
One of our clients who has struggled to hear on the telephone for years was keen to tell us about a new system she has bought that has revolutionised phone conversations for her. Called the Alcatel Conference phone 1500, it comes with detachable DECT microphones and a full Duplex hands free function. It is very easy to transfer calls from your normal house phone to the conference phone. Our client is delighted and says it is making communication so much easier – her friends and family are delighted too!If anyone is interested in trying the system out, do let us know
Gilly’s dog Alfie the Bichon has decided to semi retire and spend more time at home. Southmead Clinic is very quiet without him. On days when Kevin was in Farnham Common, his canine friend used to cause quite a stir when demanding treats. Some of our clients have become quite fond of Alfie, often remembering to bring in a special something for him, although sometimes he was a such lazy hound, choosing to continue snoozing in his basket. We wish him well, now snoozing at home and hope to see him for the odd visit when he comes on occasion or for a walk in the woods.
Help us celebrate our 15 year anniversary
Due to Covid19, no events are currently available
No events currently planned but look out for news in our next edition on communication workshops and an online charity auction.
Online support is available through the BTA
Tinnitus Support Group events
PLEASE NOTE THAT TINNITUS SUPPORT GROUP EVENTS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE DUE TO GOVERNMENT CORONAVIRUS GUIDELINES ====
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.
Spotlight on….The National Deaf Children’s Society
The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) provides expert support on childhood deafness, raise awareness and campaign for deaf children’s rights, so they have the same opportunities as everyone else.
Founded over 75 years ago, as Britain rebuilt in the wake of the Second World War, a group of parents came together to support their deaf children to have the best start in life. From humble beginnings, the National Deaf Children’s Society now transforms the lives of thousands of deaf children and their families every year across the UK through its helpline, events, information and face-to-face support. We’re here for every deaf child who needs us – no matter what their level or type of deafness or how they communicate.
Yet too often, deaf children feel lonely and isolated. Too often they fall behind at school, miss out on opportunities, and are too often let down by local support services.
Coronavirus has only made things harder. Lockdown has changed life for everyone, but the pandemic affects deaf children and young people in ways most people won’t have considered: How to communicate with someone wearing a face mask when you need to lip read, even if you use sign language. Missing out on fun with friends because you now have to wait much longer to get your hearing aids fixed. How to cope with falling behind at school because your lessons aren’t accessible…
The National Deaf Children’s Society swiftly adapted services to provide immediate support with these issues. From sharing latest information from experts and hosting online advice sessions to parents, teachers and professionals. We’re empowering deaf young people and families to make informed decisions and advocating for their rights in education, in parliament and through the media. Our virtual events, helpline, website and The Buzz also provide forums to socialise and access wellbeing support; and we work with a vibrant and dedicated network of volunteers working passionately to raise both funds and deaf awareness.
The National Deaf Children’s Society remains committed to our vision of a world without barriers for every deaf child. We will continue to be here to help deaf children and young people and their families overcome the barriers that hold them back. By 2030, no deaf child will be left behind – at school, in their community or at home.
You can learn more about the National Deaf Children’s Society on their website.
Our clients often write to us telling us how they feel about their hearing and about us. Here are just a few of those comments.
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.
Sara, daughter of client Audrey Creasey
First Appointment Since Lockdown
“I wanted to say a big thank you to you for seeing Mum today. She’s hearing and feeling better already. Mum (90) tells me the way you have set up the clinic is – in her words – excellent, that she felt well looked after throughout. From arrival, when her temperature was taken and you explained what was happening, had hand gel applied on arrival and on leaving, to the kindness and patience shown (as always) she is extremely pleased. Please feel free to use this as a recommendation of the new arrangements you have put in place to be able to continue to provide a valuable service. It was Mum’s first and only trip out since lockdown and you made it a nice experience for her.”
A client with Help in Hearing since 2015
“I’d just like to thank you so much for all your ongoing care, kindness and professionalism and particularly at my appointment yesterday. It is much appreciated and along with your attention to detail, engenders such a safe space especially in these challenging times.
Selma and her team are indeed very special and I recommend whenever I can!”
On his first visit to Help in Hearing
“I would like to thank you for the time you spent discussing my TInnitus with me in a clear and practical manner. The fact that you understand this problem has helped in itself. I feel that being able to talk to someone like yourself has been equally beneficial and I would have no hesitation in recommending you and your practice to others.I have been using the sound therapy and I am indeed finding it beneficial.
I would also like to add that the whole process from initial query to consultation was undertaken in an efficient, polite and professional manner, especially considering the testing times we are all having to endure at present”.
A client since 2019
“You will never know just how very very grateful I am to whoever helped me regarding my lost aid. It has never happened to me in the 40 years I have been wearing them. I knew I couldn’t endure tinnitus until my appt, and almost decided my days were numbered. Thank you so very much.”
A client since 2011
My Dear Selma,
Thank you so much for your generosity in sending me the two replacement rechargeable batteries. The service you provide is outstanding and I applaud you.
Keep well and safe.
A new microsuction client
“Thank you so much for your help this morning. Much appreciated thanks.
You’ve done an amazing job, my ears are so much cleaner now and my hearing has vastly improved since my appointment at your place this morning.
Your work is priceless. Many thanks for your help.”
Some tips on how to wear masks with hearing aids
How to wear a Mask & What to do if you lose your hearing aids
As it is now compulsory to wear face coverings when entering shops and supermarkets in England, we are not surprised that hearing aid wearers are having a tough time. Not only is lipreading impossible but if the aid sits behind the ear, you risk losing your aid when you take the mask off, as it often catches on the elastic.
Our audiologist Wendy Davies dons her mask on this video to give a quick demo of a useful technique
There are a number of mask choices now available and some even have plastic windows to help with lipreading. Until recently these were not clinically effective enough but we are excited to say that we are currently awaiting delivery of a new version with a window which has now been approved by the hearing industry governing body.
Here are some recommended options for anyone who also wears a hearing aid:
Make sure to tie the straps high up on the head and low on the neck. Hearing aids will not be obstructed. When removing mask, untie the bottom first then the top to avoid knocking off hearing aids.
Masks with elastic bands
Use a mask extender. It connects the mask bands to avoid contact with the ears. An extender can be made out of a paperclip, shoelace or ribbon.
To avoid elastic band contact with the hearing aids, place the top elastic band high on the head and the bottom elastic band on the neck. When removing the mask, release the top band first and then slowly pull the bottom over the head, making sure hearing aids are secure.
Masks with elastic and headwear
You may also consider sewing two buttons on a hat or headband to help hearing aids stay secure on ears. When removing the mask, unfasten from one side first slowly by looping over the ear to avoid disrupting the hearing aid. Repeat the same process on the other side.
Find My Hearing Aid
If you do knock your hearing aids off when wearing a mask, all aids now have a “Find My Hearing Aid” feature. It will indicate whether you are getting closer or further away from the device, even if your hearing aid is lost outdoors and runs out of battery charge, GPS on the phone will show where the hearing aid was when it was last connected.
If all else fails and you do lose your aid, it may be covered under your household insurance. We always recommend declaring new devices on your policy. You can insist on seeing your existing audiologist and can ask for a cash settlement if you are making a claim. We would be very happy to advise you. For more information or help with your hearing aids, please call us on 0345 222 0579 or fill in our online form
Phonak Paradise has Arrived
Our audiologists recently attended the online launch of the new Phonak hearing aid, Paradise. Seen here are Wendy and Selma getting into the theme while watching the presentation which linked keynote speakers from all over the world.
Phonak say that the rechargeable Audeo Paradise gives wearers exactly what a hearing aid should. It offers great sound quality, universal connectivity and the ability to control and personalise hearing in any situation. A few of our clients have already been fitted with the new aids so we are very much looking forward to their feedback.
Brilliant speech understanding
Understanding someone who is speaking softly or from a distance in a quiet environment can be challenging. Paradise has a new Speech Enhancer which boosts soft-level speech helping you to to enjoy conversations with friends, colleagues and loved ones.
Voice assistance access at a tap
Phone calls can be answered and streaming or music can be paused by activating voice assistants, just by tapping your ear. A motion sensor in Phonak Paradise offers you an effortless way to do all that and more. The built-in microphone allows you true hands-free calls and voice assistant activation.
Personalized noise cancelling
It sometimes takes effort to follow conversations when speech is coming from the front and noise is coming from the side and back. This can often vary depending on the type of room you are in, or even how you feel during that time. With Dynamic Noise Cancellation Phonak say you can use their app to personalize the amount of noise cancellation you want all in real-time. It’s the best way to get the most out of your hearing aids.
Connects to smartphone, TV and more
Phonak Paradise connects directly to iOS®, Android™ or other Bluetooth®-enabled devices so you can stream audio in excellent quality directly to your hearing aids. Plus, as an added convenience, you can simultaneously connect to two Bluetooth devices and seamlessly alternate between the two.
An App of mobile application is software designed to work on a Smart Phone or tablet. These days there is an App for almost everything – including hearing aids.
All hearing aid manufacturers provide an App, which are usually free of charge, for their range of hearing aids. The Apps are either updated, or a new one created, when the manufacturer releases new hearing aid technology.
The main function of a hearing aid App is to work as a remote control to adjust the hearing aid volume, to change the program, or to start streaming to another device such as a TV streamer.
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.