The Best hearing centre in Buckinghamshire
Henley hearing Clinic News:
‘CNN’ Profiles Inventor of HearGlass
Peter Sprague, the 78-year-old inventor of HearGlass—a technology that incorporates amplification into eyeglass frames—is featured in a recent CNN profile.
According to the article, Sprague was frustrated by how standard hearing aids “distorted audio” and has incorporated directional microphones, Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities, and a discreet design into his fourth-generation prototype.
Marshall Chasin, a frequent contributor to Hearing Review, was quoted in the article about the ways hearing aid manufacturers have improved their devices to help provide users with more dynamic sound options.
The Henley Hearing Clinic in Buckinghamshire for all info on hearing aids and ear issues.
Salt- or Sugar-Based Solution May Diminish Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
It’s well known that exposure to extremely loud noises—whether it’s an explosion, a firecracker, or even a concert — can lead to permanent hearing loss. But knowing how to treat noise-induced hearing loss, which affects about 15% of Americans, has largely remained a mystery. That may eventually change, thanks to new research from the Keck School of Medicine of USC, which sheds light on how noise-induced hearing loss happens and shows how a simple injection of a salt- or sugar-based solution into the middle ear may preserve hearing, the school announced on its website. The results of the study were published in PNAS.
To develop a treatment for noise-induced hearing loss, the researchers first had to understand its mechanisms. They built a tool using novel miniature optics to image inside the cochlea, the hearing portion of the inner ear, and exposed mice to a loud noise similar to that of a roadside bomb.
They discovered that two things happen after exposure to a loud noise: sensory hair cells, which are the cells that detect sound and convert it to neural signals, die, and the inner ear fills with excess fluid, leading to the death of neurons.
“That buildup of fluid pressure in the inner ear is something you might notice if you go to a loud concert,” said the study’s corresponding author John Oghalai, MD, chair and professor of the USC Tina and Rick Caruso Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery and holder of the Leon J. Tiber and David S. Alpert Chair in Medicine. “When you leave the concert, your ears might feel full and you might have ringing in your ears. We were able to see that this buildup of fluid correlates with neuron loss.”
Both neurons and sensory hair cells play critical roles in hearing.
“The death of sensory hair cells leads to hearing loss. But even if some sensory hair cells remain and still work, if they’re not connected to a neuron, then the brain won’t hear the sound,” Oghalai says.
The researchers found that sensory hair cell death occurred immediately after exposure to loud noise and was irreversible. Neuron damage, however, had a delayed onset, opening a window of opportunity for treatment.
A simple solution
The buildup of fluid in the inner ear occurred over a period of a few hours after loud noise exposure and contained high concentrations of potassium. To reverse the effects of the potassium and reduce the fluid buildup, salt- and sugar-based solutions were injected into the middle ear, just through the eardrum, three hours after noise exposure. The researchers found that treatment with these solutions prevented 45–64% of neuron loss, suggesting that the treatment may offer a way to preserve hearing function.
The treatment could have several potential applications, Oghalai explained.
“I can envision soldiers carrying a small bottle of this solution with them and using it to prevent hearing damage after exposure to blast pressure from a roadside bomb,” he said. “It might also have potential as a treatment for other diseases of the inner ear that are associated with fluid buildup, such as Meniere’s disease.”
Oghalai and his team plan to conduct further research on the exact sequence of steps between fluid buildup in the inner ear and neuron death, followed by clinical trials of their potential treatment for noise-induced hearing loss.
Original Paper: Kim J, Xia A, Grillet N, Applegate BE, Oghalai JS. Osmotic stabilization prevents cochlear synaptopathy after blast trauma. PNAS. 2018. Available at: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/05/01/1720121115.short?rss=1
Source: Keck School of Medicine of USC, PNAS
Image: Keck School of Medicine of USC
The Henley Hearing Clinic has the best and latest hearing aids in the county!
Henley Hearing Clinic really do keep up with the latests and greatest in digital hearing tech. From the most up to date digital hearing aids to the state of the art microsuction for clearing earwax (ear wax). Henley hearing Clinic can also do you free hearing tests and recommend a path to getting you towards better hearing in crowds, noisy environments such as a cafe or restaurant. Talk with Leon Cox the lead audiologist at the Henley Hearing Clinic and book your appointment now.
Oticon Brings Oticon Opn with Telecoil, Power Options, and Tinnitus SoundSupport to VA
Reportedly the “official supplier” of hearing devices to the Veterans Affairs Administration, Department of Defense, and other federal agencies, Oticon has already brought the Oticon Opn™ open sound experience to many US veterans and active duty military service personnel, the company announced. Now, the Oticon Government Services team will supply two new Opn solutions, Opn miniRITE-T and BTE Plus Power, and two new features, Tinnitus SoundSupport™ and Speech Rescue LX, to support the care provided by VA and government audiologists.
“Many hearing care professionals in the Veterans Affairs Administration have experienced firsthand how Opn’s benefits of less effort, better recall, and better speech understanding in noise provide real-world, practical, and significant impact on quality of life,” said David Horowitz, Oticon Government Services manager. “Now our expanded offerings bring even more benefits to more patients, especially veterans suffering with tinnitus, the most prevalent service-connected disability.”
Tinnitus SoundSupport is designed to enable VA audiologists to address the needs of veterans who experience both hearing loss and tinnitus with a range of customizable relief sounds, including broadband and ocean-like sounds. For veterans who prefer a telecoil, the small, discreet Opn miniRITE-T features a telecoil and tactile toggle switch for volume and program control. The Opn BTE 13 Plus Power gives veterans with hearing loss up to 105 dB HL access to Opn’s open sound experience. This hearing solution features a telecoil, toggle switch, and a two-color LED indicator.
All Opn styles and performance levels now also feature Speech Rescue LX, a feature that is designed to improve clarity and speech understanding for people with high-frequency hearing loss, according to Oticon. Speech Guard LX is designed to increase access to speech by rescuing speech cues that might otherwise be inaudible.
For more information about the expanded Oticon Opn family, visit www.Oticon.com/OPN.
Children with Hearing Loss May Experience Higher Rate of Bullying
New UT Dallas research indicates that children and adolescents with hearing loss experience higher rates of peer victimization, or bullying, than children with typical hearing, UT Dallas announced in a press release on its website.
In the study, approximately 50% of the adolescents with hearing loss said they were picked on in at least one way in the past year. Previous studies show about 28% of adolescents in the general population report being bullied.
“I thought more children and adolescents with hearing loss would report getting picked on, but I did not expect the rates to be twice as high as the general population,” said Dr Andrea Warner-Czyz, an assistant professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and a researcher at the Callier Center for Communication Disorders.
The study, which appears in the journal Exceptional Children, showed the type of bullying experienced by youth and adolescents with hearing loss mimics patterns in children with other special needs, with significantly higher rates of social exclusion.
More than one-fourth of adolescents with hearing loss indicated they felt left out of social activities, compared to only 5% of the general population reporting exclusion. These findings parallel published reports of fewer invitations to social events, lower quantity and quality of friendships, and higher loneliness in children and adolescents with hearing loss.
Researchers conducted an online survey of 87 children and adolescents ages 7 to 18 who wear cochlear implants or hearing aids for hearing loss. If they indicated they were picked on at all, the survey automatically generated follow-up questions on how often it occurred and why they thought they were targeted.
Approximately 45% said they did not know why, 20% said it was because of their hearing loss or cochlear implant, and 20% said it was because of how they looked or how they acted.
Based on information provided by parents and from other studies, Warner-Czyz said the problems with peers might reflect communication difficulties related to auditory skills.
“Sometimes they miss puns or a play on words, or other cues that have to do with humor. Or when something is said very quietly or in a noisy location, the student with hearing loss might miss it. And that can make them feel like an outcast, or it can make them look like an outcast,” she said.
“Friendships are important to most young people, but I believe are especially important for children with hearing loss.”
said Warner-Czyz. Alternatively, she said peer problems might indicate a broader issue of not recognizing social cues from conversation or distinguishing true friendship from acquaintances.
Researchers have previously said having at least one good friend is a protective factor against bullying. Most children in this study cited several or lots of friends, but anecdotal reports from parents and clinicians questioned the veracity of these friendships.
“Friendships are important to most young people, but I believe they are especially important for children with hearing loss,” said Warner-Czyz. “Anything parents can do to facilitate social interaction and friendship and letting them learn how to be a friend and who is a friend is critical.”
She said future research will delve more deeply into the reasons behind differences in friendship quality and peer victimization in children and adolescents with hearing loss to guide evidence-based, targeted therapeutic intervention and potentially contribute to effective anti-bullying programs geared toward children with special needs. She said these factors might go beyond individual youth characteristics to include a microsystem of school and home settings.
The research is part of a larger study exploring the quality of life in children and adolescents with cochlear implants.
Original Paper: Warner-Czyz AD, Loy B, Pourchot H, White T, Cokely E. Effect of hearing loss on peer victimization in school-age children. Exceptional Children. 2018;84(3):280-297.
Source: UT Dallas, Exceptional Children
Image: UT Dallas
Signia Launches Silk Nx Hearing Aids
Latest digital hearing aids in Bucks
Audiology technology company Signia announced its latest innovation, the new Silk Nx hearing aids. Re-engineered to be 20% smaller than its predecessor, these ready-to-wear, completely-in-canal (CIC) devices now include key features of Signia’s Nx hearing aid technology that are designed to deliver the most natural hearing experience.
With the new Silk Nx solutions, hearing aid wearers do not have to sacrifice size for performance in their hearing aids. Despite having designed the already small Silk hearing aids to be even tinier with this new release, they are also more powerful than ever. The result is what Signia calls a “discreet, instant-fit hearing solution with the highest level of sound quality.”
A practically invisible solution
Many hearing aid wearers, and especially those being fit for the first time, are insecure about others seeing their hearing aids. The Silk Nx were redesigned to be 20% smaller than previous models, according to Signia. As a result, they are designed for an improved fit rate and wearing comfort. They also feature darker faceplate colors that are designed to better blend into the ear canal and further decrease visibility.
Improved sound quality
Built upon Signia’s Nx technology platform, the new Silk is designed to provides wearers with the “most natural” hearing experience, according to the company. And Signia’s binaural beamforming technology is designed to allow clear speech understanding, even in noisy situations. Silk Nx hearing aids are also said to enable natural directionality and wireless streaming between both ears to make sure wearers hear what’s most important.
Silk hearing aids come ready-to-wear, with a secure fit for almost every ear. This is due to their super-soft and flexible silicone Click Sleeves, which are designed for a higher fit rate and are more durable than previous solutions.
More innovative features
The latest release also includes new features like TwinPhone, enabling wearers to put a phone up to one ear and hear the call through both hearing aids. They also represent what is said to be the “world’s first CIC solution” for single-sided deafness. With contralateral routing of signal (CROS) technology, Silk Nx hearing aids include wireless transmitters that transfer sound from the unaidable ear to the better ear, enabling the wearer to hear from both sides. Wearers also benefit from Signia’s apps, including the touchControl™ App and TeleCare™ 3.0, to provide greater control and convenience.
Oticon ConnectClip Wins 2018 Red Dot Award for Product Design
Commenting on the award win, Gary Rosenblum, president, Oticon, Inc said, “Oticon is honored to receive another prestigious Red Dot Award, this year for our new ConnectClip. This internationally recognized symbol of excellence is a testament not only to ConnectClip’s convenient, lifestyle-enhancing features, but also to the work that goes into the design and continued evolution of our Oticon Opn hearing aid, a 2017 Red Dot Award winner.”
The multi-functional ConnectClip is designed to turn Oticon Opn hearing aids into a high-quality wireless headset for clear, hands-free calls from mobile phones, including iPhone® and Android™ smartphones. Sound from the mobile phones is streamed directly to the hearing aids and ConnectClip’s directional microphones pick up the wearer’s voice. ConnectClip serves double duty as a remote/partner microphone, helping to provide improved intelligibility of the speaker wearing it, either at a distance (up to 65 feet), in very noisy environments or in a combination of the two. Opn wearers can also use ConnectClip as a remote control for their hearing aids.
Wearable Technology Award Win
Oticon also celebrates a win at the UK’s Wearable Technology and Digital Health Show Awards. Oticon Opn received the Innovation Award for wearable originality and advancement. The win reflects votes by a combined method of professional jury and public website vote.
Organizers at the Wearable Technology and Digital Health Show Awards commented on the win: ”The judges felt that the Oticon solution presented a revolutionary approach to hearing loss, and that its technology presented a real opportunity for users to interact with the growing number of smart devices in the home. A worthy winner.”
Learn more about the expanded Oticon Opn family, ConnectClip and entire range of wireless connectivity accessories at www.Oticon.com/Connectivity.
* Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple Watch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Android, Google Play, and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.
Images: Oticon, Red Dot
New Hearing Devices in Development May Expand Range of Human Hearing
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University are developing atomically thin ‘drumheads’ able to receive and transmit signals across a radio frequency range far greater than what we can hear with the human ear, the University announced in a press release.
But the drumhead is tens of trillions times (10 followed by 13 zeros) smaller in volume and 100,000 times thinner than the human eardrum.
It’s been said that the advances will likely contribute to making the next generation of ultralow-power communications and sensory devices smaller and with greater detection and tuning ranges.
“Sensing and communication are key to a connected world,” said Philip Feng, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science and corresponding author on a paper about the work published March 30 in the journal Science Advances. “In recent decades, we have been connected with highly miniaturized devices and systems, and we have been pursuing ever-shrinking sizes for those devices.”
The challenge with miniaturization: Also achieving a broader dynamic range of detection, for small signals, such as sound, vibration, and radio waves.
“In the end, we need transducers that can handle signals without losing or compromising information at both the ‘signal ceiling’ (the highest level of an undistorted signal) and the ‘noise floor’ (the lowest detectable level),” Feng said.
While this work was not geared toward specific devices currently on the market, researchers said, it was focused on measurements, limits, and scaling which would be important for essentially all transducers.
Those transducers may be developed over the next decade, but for now, Feng and his team have already demonstrated the capability of their key components—the atomic layer drumheads or resonators—at the smallest scale yet.
The work represents the highest reported dynamic range for vibrating transducers of their type. To date, that range had only been attained by much larger transducers operating at much lower frequencies—like the human eardrum, for example.
“What we’ve done here is to show that some ultimately miniaturized, atomically thin electromechanical drumhead resonators can offer remarkably broad dynamic range, up to ~110dB, at radio frequencies (RF) up to over 120MHz,” Feng said. “These dynamic ranges at RF are comparable to the broad dynamic range of human hearing capability in the audio bands.”
New dynamic standard
Feng said the key to all sensory systems, from naturally occurring sensory functions in animals to sophisticated devices in engineering, is that desired dynamic range.
Dynamic range is the ratio between the signal ceiling over the noise floor and is usually measured in decibels (dB).
Human eardrums normally have dynamic range of about 60 to 100dB in the range of 10Hz to 10kHz, and our hearing quickly decreases outside this frequency range. Other animals, such as the common house cat or beluga whale, can have comparable or even wider dynamic ranges in higher frequency bands.
The vibrating nanoscale drumheads developed by Feng and his team are made of atomic layers of semiconductor crystals (single-, bi-, tri-, and four-layer MoS2 flakes, with thickness of 0.7, 1.4, 2.1, and 2.8 nanometers), with diameters only about 1 micron.
They construct them by exfoliating individual atomic layers from the bulk semiconductor crystal and using a combination of nanofabrication and micromanipulation techniques to suspend the atomic layers over microcavities predefined on a silicon wafer, and then making electrical contacts to the devices.
Further, these atomically thin RF resonators being tested at Case Western Reserve show excellent frequency ‘tunability,’ meaning their tones can be manipulated by stretching the drumhead membranes using electrostatic forces, similar to the sound tuning in much larger musical instruments in an orchestra, Feng said.
The study also reveals that these incredibly small drumheads only need picoWatt (pW, 10^-12 Watt) up to nanoWatt (nW, 10^-9 Watt) level of RF power to sustain their high frequency oscillations.
“Not only having surprisingly large dynamic range with such tiny volume and mass, they are also energy-efficient and very ‘quiet’ devices,” Feng said. “We ‘listen’ to them very carefully and ‘talk’ to them very gently.”
The paper’s co-authors were: Jaesung Lee, a Case Western Reserve post-doctoral research associate; Max Zenghui Wang, a former research associate now at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC), Chengdu, China; Keliang He, a former graduate student in physics, now a senior engineer at Nvidia; Rui Yang, a former graduate student and now a post-doctoral scholar at Stanford University; and Jie Shan, a former physics professor at Case Western Reserve now at Cornell University.
The work has been financially supported by the National Academy of Engineering Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Award (Grant: FOE 2013-005) and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award (Grant: ECCS-1454570).
Original Paper: Lee J, Wang Z, He K, Yang R, Shan J, Feng PX-L. Electrically tunable single- and few-layer MoS2nanoelectromechanical systems with broad dynamic range. Science Advances. 2018;4(3):eaao6653.
Source: Case Western Reserve University, Science Advances
City, University of London to Pilot Language and Reading Intervention for Children
Researchers from City, University of London have been awarded £97k ($USD approximately $136,479) from the Nuffield Foundation to pilot a language and reading intervention with 120 children in their first year of formal education, the school announced on its website.
Involving Dr Ros Herman, Professor Penny Roy, and Dr Fiona Kyle from the School of Health Science’s Division of Language and Communication Science, in collaboration with Professor Charles Hulme from Oxford University, the study—which is reportedly the first reading intervention study to include both deaf and hearing children—will trial the new intervention in primary schools for a year and compare outcomes with other schools that offer the standard literacy teaching.
The research team have shown in previous research that many severely and profoundly deaf children have significant reading delays, yet are typically excluded from reading intervention research.
In this new study, teachers will be trained to deliver the intervention program, comprising systematic phonics teaching alongside a structured vocabulary program, during the school literacy hour. The study will investigate whether all children, or only specific groups of children, benefit from the integrated program and whether a full-scale evaluation is merited.
Dr Herman said, “Our previous research has revealed the scale of reading difficulties among deaf children. Our findings suggest that deaf children will benefit from specialist literacy interventions such as those currently offered to hearing children with dyslexia. In addition, deaf children and many hearing children require ongoing support to develop the language skills that underlie literacy.
“As a result we hope our new study, which will pilot a combined language and reading intervention, will address these issues so that teachers can provide the vital support needed to prevent both hearing and deaf children from unnecessarily falling behind their peers.”
Source: City, University of London
Neurofeedback May Reduce Severity of Tinnitus, Study Shows
Researchers using functional MRI (fMRI) have found that neurofeedback training has the potential to reduce the severity of tinnitus or even eliminate it, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), the international society of radiologists, medical physicists, and other medical professionals announced on its website.
For the study, researchers looked at a novel potential way to treat tinnitus by having people use neurofeedback training to turn their focus away from the sounds in their ears. Neurofeedback is a way of training the brain by allowing an individual to view some type of external indicator of brain activity and attempt to exert control over it.
“The idea is that in people with tinnitus there is an over-attention drawn to the auditory cortex, making it more active than in a healthy person,” said Matthew S. Sherwood, PhD, research engineer and adjunct faculty in the Department of Biomedical, Industrial, and Human Factors Engineering at Wright State University in Fairborn, Ohio. “Our hope is that tinnitus sufferers could use neurofeedback to divert attention away from their tinnitus and possibly make it go away.”
To determine the potential efficacy of this approach, the researchers had 18 healthy volunteers with normal hearing undergo five fMRI-neurofeedback training sessions. Study participants were given earplugs through which white noise could be introduced for periods of time. The earplugs also served to block out the scanner noise.
To obtain fMRI results, the researchers used single-shot echo planar imaging, an MRI technique that is sensitive to blood oxygen levels, providing an indirect measure of brain activity.
“We started with alternating periods of sound and no sound in order to create a map of the brain and find areas that produced the highest activity during the sound phase,” Sherwood said. “Then we selected the voxels that were heavily activated when sound was being played.”
The volunteers then participated in the fMRI-neurofeedback training phase while inside the MRI scanner. They received white noise through their earplugs and were able to view the activity in their primary auditory cortex as a bar on a screen. Each fMRI-neurofeedback training run contained eight blocks separated into a 30-second “relax” period followed by a 30-second “lower” period. Participants were instructed to watch the bar during the relax period and actively attempt to lower it by decreasing primary auditory cortex activity during the lower phase.
The researchers gave the participants techniques to help them do this, such as trying to divert attention from sound to other sensations like touch and sight.
“Many focused on breathing because it gave them a feeling of control,” Sherwood said. “By diverting their attention away from sound, the participants’ auditory cortex activity went down, and the signal we were measuring also went down.”
A control group of nine individuals were provided sham neurofeedback—they performed the same tasks as the other group, but the feedback came not from them but from a random participant. By performing the exact same procedures with both groups using either real or sham neurofeedback, the researchers were able to distinguish the effect of real neurofeedback on control of the primary auditory cortex.
The study reportedly represents the first time fMRI-neurofeedback training has been applied to demonstrate that there is a significant relationship between control of the primary auditory cortex and attentional processes. This is important to therapeutic development, Sherwood said, as the neural mechanisms of tinnitus are unknown but likely related to attention.
The results represent a promising avenue of research that could lead to improvements in other areas of health like pain management, according to Sherwood.
“Ultimately, we’d like take what we learned from MRI and develop a neurofeedback program that doesn’t require MRI to use, such as an app or home-based therapy that could apply to tinnitus and other conditions,” he said.
Co-authors are Emily E. Diller, MS; Subhashini Ganapathy, PhD; Jeremy Nelson, PhD; and Jason G. Parker, PhD. This material is based on research sponsored by the US Air Force under agreement number FA8650-16-2-6702. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not reflect the official views or policy of the Department of Defense and its Components. The US Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Governmental purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation thereon. The voluntary, fully informed consent of the subjects used in this research was obtained as required by 32 CFR 219 and DODI 3216.02_AFI 40-402.
Researchers Find Increased Risk of Hearing Loss Among Smokers
The study—which included 50,000 participants over an 8-year period—looked at data from annual health checkups, which included factors such as smoking status, number of cigarettes smoked per day, and the duration of smoking cessation on hearing loss, according to the release. Researchers calculated a 1.2 to 1.6 increased risk of hearing loss among smokers as compared to those who had never smoked before.
The risk of hearing loss decreased five years after smoking cessation.
For additional information, please click here to view the release on Science Daily’s website.
Original Paper: Hu H, Sasaki N, Ogasawara T, et al. Smoking, smoking cessation, and the risk of hearing loss: Japan epidemiology collaboration on occupational health study. Nicotine & Tobacco Research. March 14, 2018.
Source: Science Daily, Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Oxford Press