tel: 0345 222 0579      email: mail@helpinhearing.co.uk

  • Caring for your hearing aids

    Caring for your hearing aids

    Caring for your hearing aidsWe 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. Here are some tips on caring for your hearing aids.

    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:

    • Antibacterial wipes
    • 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)

    Hearing aid cleaning kitThe 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.

    Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids

    BTE hearing aids with open fitting

    In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids

    RIC and RITE hearing aids

  • IP68 hearing aids - what does it mean and why is it important?

    IP68 – what is it and why is it important to my hearing aid?

    Do you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain?* Well if you do, but have been worried that getting your hearing aid wet would stop it working, the new coating on today’s hearing aids is for you. We explain about IP68 hearing aids and why it’s important for you.

    Ingress protection standards

    Today’s hearing aids are built to meet specific European standards called Ingress Protection or IP ratings. These ratings were originally developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission and define the levels of sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures, such as hearing aids, against dust, dirt and moisture or to speak more plainly, the IP rating tells us how robust our hearing aid is.

    The letters IP are followed by 2 digits: the first digit defines the robustness against dust and the second the robustness against moisture.

    IP68 hearing aids

    The latest hearing aids undergo rigorous testing to gain an IP rating. Since 2016 most hearing aids have a rating of IP68 which means that they can withstand dust, dirt and sand and being submerged in water to a maximum depth of 1.5 metres for 30 minutes and will continue to work.

    Unfortunately, IP68 does not mean that the hearing aid can be worn while swimming but it does mean that it is protected should it be accidentally dropped into water or worn in the shower.

    The practical daily importance of the IP68 hearing aid rating is to protect the device, that is of course sitting against the skin, from sweat and from getting caught in the rain.

    IP68 hearing aids – where to find out more

    If you would like to try a hearing aid with the latest technology, including IP68, please email us for an appointment, or fill in our online form.

     

    *From Escape (aka The Piña Colada Song), by Rupert Holmes, 1979.

     

  • Wind noise in hearing aids - is it a thing of the past?

    Wind noise in hearing aids – a thing of the past?

    There’s nothing like being outside on a gloriously sunny day to lift your mood. Whether it’s a walk along the promenade by the sea, strolling through a woodland park or a round of golf with friends, it has been demonstrated that the exercise and social interaction we gain through outdoor activities are good for our overall wellbeing. But for hearing aid wearers, these moments can be made more challenging by the wind. In this article we ask the question: Wind noise in hearing aids – is it a thing of the past?

    Wind noise in hearing aids used to mask out speech

    When wind blows across hearing aid microphones, particularly for models that sit behind the ear, it results in the wearer hearing, unsurprisingly, the wind blowing, but at quite a high level which masks out other sounds including speech. Fluctuating wind noise can be very irritating and many wearers may take their hearing aids out in these conditions.

    Noise management strategies

    Hearing aid manufacturers have built noise management strategies into their hearing aids for many years. These wind noise management features effectively reduced the volume of the wind noise but also reduced the volume of speech too so while this made the sound was more comfortable it affected the ability to join in conversations resulting in a trade off between comfort and intelligibility…..but not any more!

    Wind noise is now filtered out

    New advances in processing mean that wind noise can now be effectively managed while still preserving speech information. Unwanted wind noise can be separated from the conversations that we want to hear. Wearers experience good sound quality and clarity, allowing them to continue to participate in conversations without any uncomfortable wind noise and most importantly keep wearing their hearing aids, even in windy situations.

    Wind management algorithm

    Wind noise management is an automatic feature so there is no need to change to a different program or make any adjustments. The hearing aid continually analyses the environment and as soon as it detects wind, it applies its wind management algorithm until the wind stops blowing across the microphones.

    Wind noise in hearing aids – where to find out more

    For a trial of the latest wind management technologies, please contact us for an appointment

    We partner with most of the leading hearing aid manufacturers, find out more on our Hearing Aid Partners page. 

  • March hearing technology trial

    March Technology Trial

    Make the month of March memorable and trial the latest hearing technology

    Throughout March we are offering you the opportunity to personally trial the latest hearing aid technology.

    Try the new hearing technology throughout March

    At our Technology Days in November we unveiled a host of new hearing aid advances. In case you were unable to attend our events, or have not been able to visit us again since, we thought we would turn March into a memorable month when you can test out the options and, with our help, see what would suit you best.

    Trial the latest hearing technologyAdvice on the right hearing solution for you

    The wealth of choice is almost overwhelming, so our role as independent hearing consultants is to help guide you to the most appropriate solution. Even the best technology needs the support and experience of a healthcare professional, to ensure the most successful outcome for your individual hearing needs. With our dedicated ongoing aftercare, we guarantee that whatever choice is made, it is the right one for you.

    New hearing products available to try

    Book now and you can choose from the new generation Marvel by Phonak which offers true hands-free calls, or the new-look slimline Styletto hearwear by Sivantos. Then there’s the new custom Oticon OPN aid that uses an app to monitor your health and the Starkey Livio device which has a foreign language translation facility, plus motion sensors to monitor falls.

    Book your dedicated free trial appointment now

    Book any time in March to trial this new aid technology in our Farnham Common or Marlow hearing clinics. Call our Freephone number to make an appointment: 0345 222 0579

    We look forward to hearing from you.

    Enhance your hearing, life is worth listening to

  • Hearing fitness - the future of hearing aids, an article by Oticon

    The future of hearing aids – HearingFitness by Oticon

    In November we held two Help in Hearing organised Technology Days at the Harleyford Golf Club in Marlow and the South Bucks Golf Club in Stoke Poges. They were very well attended with a total of nearly 70 delegates in all. It was a rare opportunity to ask questions and have discussions directly with each of the leading hearing aid manufacturers. The main venue area was the focus for companies to exhibit all their ranges and accessories. In a separate room a representative from each of our hearing aid partners gave a talk on different aspects of the market and a glimpse into the future. Today we are showing an extract of the Oticon talk on the future of hearing aids and their app HearingFitness, which you can find below, along with a video Oticon showed on the day.

    The future of hearing aids – by Oticon

    We know that smartphones, computers and tablets connect to the internet, but did you know that some ordinary everyday devices – such as fridges, washing machines and doorbells connect to the internet too? This is an area of technology called “The internet of things (IoT)”. It’s one of the fastest growing areas of technology and it has been made more popular recently by systems like Hive and Nest that connect your home heating and lights to the internet.

    Internet of Things (IoT)

    Opn hearing aids are IoT devices too
    Opn hearing aids are IoT devices too!

    Opn hearing aids are IoT devices too! They work with a cloud-based service called “If This Then That” (IFTTT for short). IFTTT connects processes and services of all kinds of brands that wouldn’t normally work together. For example, IF you’re tagged in a photo on Facebook, THEN automatically save that photo to your DropBox account. How might that work with hearing aids, you ask.

    In this example, a visitor presses your internet-connected doorbell. It sends a message to IFTTT, which sends the notification to the ON app on your iPhone. The ON app in turn sends a spoken message to the Opn hearing aids. “Someone is at the door” (or whatever message you like!).

    Right now this service appeals most to people that love their technology. But people of all ages can benefit. For example, a young child or an adult with limited dexterity needs help changing their batteries. IFTTT can send a notification (text, email etc) to a parent, relative or neighbour when the batteries run low.

    HearingFitness

    HearingFitness builds on the general major change in the nature of health care – which is transforming from being reactive to preventive. New technologies can be expected to allow our current, largely reactive mode of medicine (where we wait until the patient is sick before responding) to be replaced over the next 10-20 years by a personalised, predictive, preventive, and participatory (P4) medicine. This P4 approach is the inspiration and vision behind HearingFitness.

    Participatory:

    Participation is key to HearingFitness – the foundation of the other Ps. Clients are given information so that they can better manage and are prepared to make their own decisions. We want to engage and encourage the users to be active partners and involved in their own healthcare.

    Personalised:

    We want to tailor hearing solutions/services to the client and their environment. Create hearing aids that could potentially adjust themselves not only to the user, but also to changes during the day (e.g. more tired in the afternoon), during the week (such as different needs during the week when at work versus during the weekend), and also over time (for example, if hearing deteriorates). We want to provide personalised support based on the specific user’s hearing aid, preferences, etc. This personalisation reaches its full potential when combined with user participation (which is the foundation). We can then use the information from HearingFitness to better understand behavioural patterns, the contexts in which the hearing aids are most used and how/where do people struggle – all these things are important in order to be able to personalise.

    Prediction:

    Oticon HearingFitness app collects data to predict future needs
    Oticon HearingFitness app collects data to predict future needs of hearing aid users

    We will know in advance, through big data, what is best for every hearing aid user. 360 million people worldwide with a hearing loss – imagine the potential data sets. Users are profiled into subgroups that share common features. For example, we will know through monitoring when a user is having trouble hearing and the hearing aids provide extra help.

    Prevention:

    As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” We take a life course approach, with early detection and monitoring over time of hearing and health status. Through combining multiple datasets and applying advanced analytics, it is possible to build profile-specific prevention strategies. For example, the hearing aid user could receive an alert if they are exposed to loud noises that could result in further hearing loss. Thereby the HearingFitness technology can help people to remain healthy late in life.

    References:

    Hood, L. & Galas, D. (2008). P4 Medicine: Personalized, Predictive, Preventive, Participatory: A Change of View that Changes Everything: A white paper prepared for the Computing
    Community Consortium committee of the Computing Research Association.

    How HearingFitness works

    HearingFitness is a feature in the ON app for smartphones. When a pair of Oticon hearing aids is connected to the app, it gathers data about how the hearing aids are being used and the type of sound environments the person is spending time in.

    HearingFitness will combine this information with data from the Health App on the smartphone. The specific data taken will depend on the user’s permission during installation.

    Generally, the Health App stores data from apps on the iPhone and Apple Watch. It also works directly with some health and fitness devices. Other devices and data sources (such as HearingFitness) must have a companion app that can access the data and save it to Health App for them.

    Initial release of HearingFitness

    In the initial release, which came out about 2 months ago, the functionality will appear somewhat simple. But as we gather more data we will introduce more and more useful functions, such as making adjustments to the hearing aids according to the user’s preferences, and notifications with suggestions for taking better control of your health.

    When the installation is done, you will be presented with a welcome screen introducing HearingFitness. After pressing ‘Continue’, HearingFitness will open. The first version of HearingFitness will look approximately as shown here. You will be able to see how much the hearing aids are used overall (in hours) as well as how much individual programs are used.

    Oticon Hearing Fitness ON app example
    An example of how the first version of the Oticon Hearing Fitness ON app will look

    In the upper right corner of the screen, you will be able to set a goal for the hearing aid usage. This goal could potentially be set together with your audiologist at the fitting appointment. In the left corner, you will see if the goal is reached – measured in percent. You will then be able to track usage for the specific day, week or month.

    Hearing care is health care

    We know from research that ”hearing care is health care.” It is well-documented that hearing well highly influences how healthy we are. With HearingFitness, Oticon aims to involve people in their own hearing care. We want to help them to make smart decisions about their hearing health and get the most out of their hearing potential with the ultimate goal of improving their overall health.*

    Watch video: Hearing care is health care

     

    HearingFitness – where to find out more

    At Help in Hearing we understand that caring for your hearing health is just as important as caring for the rest of your overall health and wellbeing. By looking after all aspects of your hearing, ear care and hearing protection, we make sure you remain socially active, stay confident in your working environment and ascertain your continuing enjoyment of your hearing health. With our personal and friendly approach we provide personalised hearing care plans offering a continuity of service which is second to none.

    Please get in touch to make an appointment for a hearing check-up or to discuss your hearing concerns.

    Or you can read more about the services we provide and testimonials from our clients here. 

    ** Extract thanks to Oticon from their talk presented by Alison Stone, Audiologist & Head of Training and Mo Butt, Reg Business Development Manager.

  • Technology days video footage

    Technology Days Video Footage

    In November 2018 we held events at South Buckinghamshire Golf Club in Stoke Poges and the Harleyford Golf Club in Marlow. At the events, seven hearing aid manufacturers presented the latest innovations in hearing aid technology. This short video shows footage from the two days.

    We’d like to thank everyone who attended the days and also all the manufacturers who attended and presented.

     

     

    Thank you to our hearing technology manufacturers for their talks:

    Widex
    Unitron
    Oticon
    Signia
    Starkey
    Resound
    Phonak

  • What are the different styles of hearing aids available?

    If you’re considering hearing aids, you may find the different types confusing. In this blog post, you can discover more about the different styles of hearing aids available today.

    Totally Invisible Hearing Aid LyricTotally invisible

    The Phonak Lyric is the world’s first 100% invisible hearing aid. It is placed entirely inside your ear canal by a trained audiologist, remaining completely invisible from view. The Lyric requires no daily changing/insertion, no batteries, no filters and is sweat-proof, shower-proof and remains in place 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for months at a time.

    IIC Hearing Aid Phonak Virto B TitaniumInvisible in the canal

    The Invisible In Canal hearing aid (IIC) fits deep in the ear, completely out of view past the second bend of the ear canal, providing an invisible fit. The cosmetic advantages of this hearing aid can appeal to a wide variety of people and cater for mild to moderately severe hearing losses.

    BTE Hearing Aid Starkey Muse wireless miniBTEBehind the ear

    This hearing aid is the most versatile and suits all types of hearing difficulties. It can amplify sounds more than any other kind of digital hearing aid. However, it is the most visible as it hooks over the top of your ear.

    Styletto colour rangeOpen fit

    This is a scaled-down version of the previous hearing aid and thus is a lot smaller in size. Therefore, they tend to be of help to those who have mild to moderate hearing difficulty.

    CIC Hearing Aid Primax Deep RedCompletely in the canal (CIC) hearing aid

    This hearing aid style is one that is actually moulded so that it fits completely inside the individual’s ear canal. A lot of people go for this option as it is the least visible and thus people don’t tend to notice it. A completely in the canal hearing aid tends to be best suited for those who have mild to moderate hearing loss. Because it’s inside the ear it is also easy to use with devices, such as mobile phones. And it is unlikely that you will pick up a lot of environmental noise, such as wind.

    In the canal hearing aids - ITCIn the canal (ITC) hearing aid

    The difference between this hearing aid and the one mentioned previously is the fact that an in the canal hearing aid only fits partially into the ear canal. Nonetheless, it still treats mild to moderate hearing loss, as does a completely in the canal device. The benefit this type of hearing aid has over the one just mentioned is the fact that you can typically benefit from added features, such as volume control.

    In the ear hearing aids - ITEFull shell in the ear (ITE) hearing aid

    This type of device treats a wider range of people as it can help those who have severe hearing loss. Nonetheless, the downside is that the full shell device is a lot more visible than other digital hearing aids. This is because it covers the majority of the ear’s bowl-shaped part. However, you benefit from longer battery life and ease of use. After all, this hearing aid is a lot easier to insert in comparison to the ITC options.

    Half shell hearing aid

    And finally, the difference between this hearing aid and the one previously mentioned is the fact that it only covers the lower part of your ear. Because of this, it only has the scope to treat up to moderate loss of hearing. This is a great option for those who are looking for something in between a full shell and an in the canal device.

    Different styles of hearing aids – where to find out more

    If you think you or a loved one may need hearing assistance, read more on our Hearing Consultation page, where we describe the process involved in having a full audiology assessment at one of our hearing clinics, either in Farnham Common or Marlow, in Buckinghamshire. 

    Or please get in touch to discuss your hearing requirements.

  • Audio Service Open Days

    Audio Service Open Days

    Audio Service Open Days – Book an appointment

    • Take a free two-week trial of these exclusive new aids
    • See Selma, Kevin & an Audio Service Expert

    Marlow: Wednesday 7th February
    Farnham Common: Thursday 8th February

    Call 0345 222 0579 or fill in our online contact form to book your place.

    Audio Service – Exclusive to Independents

    We are pleased to announce that we are now able to offer Audio Service, a German based manufacturer available exclusively in the UK through independent hearing consultants. Their latest product innovations are considered “audiological all-rounders in the modern hearing aid world”.

    Audio Service Sun G5 Hearing Aid

    Heading up the portfolio, the Sun G5 delivers outstanding hearing quality and excellent speech intelligibility, even under difficult acoustic conditions, offering a natural hearing experience. The constant communication between your left and right hearing aids means your world now sounds balanced and comfortable. During conversations, your hearing aids work together to evaluate all of the signals received and thus ensure a spatial hearing impression – maintaining the focus on the main person you’re talking to.

    Bluetooth Technology

    The best entertainment starts in your ear: telephone calls, music and navigation instructions are transformed into a true hearing experience by the combination of your iPhone and the G5 Bluetooth® technology. The signals are streamed directly to your hearing system – a particularly convenient solution for you. In addition, the Smart Transmitter 2.4 connects your Sun G5 to your TV or HiFi system quickly and simply – all without the need for any other devices. 

    Smart Direct App

    In collaboration with your iPhone, the Smart Direct app makes your hearing experience more convenient than ever before. Once installed, the app transforms the Sun G5 into stereo headphones. Telephone calls and streamed music are forwarded from your iPhone directly on to the hearing aids – without any additional accessories. In addition, the hearing program, volume, and alerts can all be set and customised easily using the Smart Direct app. For optimisation of your hearing, the app creates a personalised environment profile for you, providing us and you with information on your daily hearing performance.

    Audio Service open days – come along and take a free trial!

    Come along to our Audio Service open days on 7th February (Marlow) and 8th February (Farnham Common) to learn more about these hearing aids, available exclusively through independent hearing consultants. We will have an Audio Service expert on hand and you will have the opportunity to take a free, two-week trial of the new Audio Service hearing aids.

    Call us to book your place on 0345 222 0579 or fill in our online contact form.

    You can learn more about the Audio Service hearing aids on our Audio Service web page here.

     

  • What to do if your hearing aids get wet

    I’m often asked what to do if hearing aids get wet. Usually this is accidental – one lady recently saw to her horror that her hearing aids had accidentally fallen off her sunlonger and into a hotel swimming pool!

    Most hearing aids can survive up to about 30 minutes in water, so if you are able to rescue them within that time, the first thing to do is to dry them out as quickly as possible.

    How to dry your hearing aids

    • Remove any surface water with a soft, dry cloth
    • Take out the battery and check for surface water inside the battery door
    • Leave your hearing aids in a warm dry place, an airing cupboard or a shelf above a radiator. Don’t place them directly on a heat source though. Leave them to try for about an hour. Never put your hearing aid in a microwave as this will cause irreversible damage!
    • Put a new battery into the hearing aids

    Doing all the above should mean that your hearing aids are just fine. If there is still a problem you may need to take your hearing aid in to your audiologist or hearing aid professional for repair due to water damage.

    Unless you’re wearing the new Lyric hearing aids that can be kept in continuously, it’s best to remove your hearing aid before showering, bathing or swimming. It’s also a good idea to remove the battery from the hearing aid at night and leave the battery compartment open, to keep it aired and free from moisture and condensation.

    If you have any questions about maintenance or repair of your hearing aids, please get in touch.

  • Study Shows That Hearing Aids Improve Brain Function

    A news item in The Hearing Review caught our attention this week: A recent study at the University of Texas has found that hearing aids improve brain function in people with hearing loss.

    We’ve long known that untreated hearing loss can lead to isolation and diminished quality of life, but Jamie Desjardins, who has conducted this new study, goes further in explaining why this happens.

    “If you have some hearing impairment and you’re not using hearing aids, maybe you can figure out what the person has said, but that comes at a cost,” Ms Desjardins said. “You may actually be using the majority of your cognitive resources – your brain power – in order to figure out that message.” In other words the untreated hearing loss interferes with your cognitive abilities because so much mental effort is diverted towards understanding speech.

    Significant improvement after wearing hearing aids

    The study by the University of Texas looked at groups of individuals in their 50s and 60s with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss who had previously never used hearing aids. After two weeks of hearing aid use, there was an increase in percent scores for recalling words and selective attention tests, plus the processing speed at which participants selected the correct response was faster. By the end of the study, participants had exhibited significant improvement in their cognitive function.

    Ms DesJardins went on to paint a scenario of someone who has hearing loss and is still of working age, but they’re not wearing their hearing aids. They are spending so much of their brain power just focusing on listening they may not be able to perform their job as well. Or if they can, they’re exhausted because they are working so much harder and are more tired at the end of the day.

    Ongoing care and expertise of audiologist ensures best outcome for hearing impaired

    We see many clients who have resisted going to have their hearing checked because they don’t want to admit they have a problem. Or, they’ve received a hearing aid from another source but have not been given the aftercare support to help ensure their hearing aid is performing well for them. Here at Help in Hearing, we focus a little more on the expertise and experience of the audiologist and it is a combination of the commitment and professional relationship with the client that makes the hearing aids achieve the best outcome for the hearing impaired. We spend a great deal of time making sure we propose the right type of hearing aid for your specific type of hearing loss and we offer ongoing care throughout the lifespan of the devices, so the success rate is much higher, meaning you can get on with your job, your family life and your social life without having to spend so much effort on trying to hear what people are saying.

    Read the full article about the University of Texas study.