Independent hearing company Henley
Independent Henley hearing company
Independent Bucks hearing company at the Henley hearing Clinic. Mr Leon Cox audiologist at Henley hearing is an expert in ear wax removal using Microsuction. Microsuction ear wax removal is a safe, easy painless way of removing wax.
We also conduct hearing test in the Bucks area including dispensing the very latest hearing aids form all the main manufacturers. We are a family run company so are very friendly and not like the large high street stores. Mr Leon Cox is the owner and Audiologist and that is who you will see when you arrive for a consultation.
Henley Hearing Clinic News:
Phonak Marvel Receives Gold Stevie Award, Named ‘Innovation of the Year’
Phonak announced its Marvel hearing aid solution has won a Gold Stevie Award and was named Innovation of the Year—Consumer Products Industries in the 2019 International Business Awards. According to comments obtained from judges, the multifunctional hearing solution received top honors for being “the world’s first hearing aid to combine universal Bluetooth connectivity, lithium-ion rechargeability, and top-rated sound quality into a single device.” The Gold Stevie marks the fourth major product honor awarded to Phonak Marvel this year, placing it among the company’s most highly-awarded products ever, according to Phonak.
“We are thrilled that Phonak Marvel has received a Gold Stevie award and was named an Innovation of the Year,” said Martin Grieder, Group Vice President, hearing instruments marketing. “Marvel truly is the culmination of so many of our innovations into one product—including rechargeability, universal Bluetooth connectivity, Binaural VoiceStream Technology, and various eSolutions, just to name a few. All this technology works together to produce clear, rich sound quality from the very first fit.”
The Gold Stevie award is the latest product honor awarded to Phonak Marvel this year. In June, Marvel received the 2019 MedTech Breakthrough Award for its ability to fully support stereo audio streaming from Android and iOS devices. Also in June, Phonak eSolutions, optimized for Marvel, was the winner of the 2019 Mobile Business Awards. Phonak Marvel also received a Silver Edison Award in April and was named a 2019 CES Innovation Award Honoree in January.
A record total of more than 4,000 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories, including Company of the Year, Marketing Campaign of the Year, Best New Product or Service of the Year, Startup of the Year, Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year, and Executive of the Year, among others.
Stevie Award winners were determined by the average scores of more than 250 executives worldwide who participated in the judging process from May through early August, according to Phonak’s announcement.
Source: Phonak, International Business Awards
Images: International Business Awards
Hearing aids available Henley
Hearing aids available Amersham
Hearing aids available in Amersham by Oticon hearing
Hearing aids available Amersham at the Henley Hearing Clinic. A new style of hearing aid is now available for the younger generation. Made by Oticon. OPN Play. These hearing aids are available at specialist children’s centres who cater for children hearing loss. Many people suffer from hearing loss and we at the Chalfont hearing centre do cater for the older generation. We also conduct hearing tests and remove ear wax by appointment. Digital hearing tests are available again by appointment. The new Oticon Opn Play are designed for children only.
Ear wax removal Henley
Once we conduct a full spectrum hearing test we will go through the results with you to determine what hearing loss you may have and if any what type of remedy we can offer. This maybe through hearing aids or ear wax removal.
Hearing aids available Amersham
Henley Hearing Clinic News:
Oticon Introduces Opn Play
Oticon announces Opn Play™, a new child-friendly hearing solution, is said to “improve speech understanding in simple and complex listening environments and provides access to multiple speakers, without reducing environmental sounds important to incidental learning and safety.” The new Velox S™platform fuels Opn Play to provide children with the best possible conditions to grow, thrive, live, and learn, according to the company.
Buckinghamshire ear wax removal
According to pediatric best practice guidelines, it is crucial to give children as much of the auditory environment as possible, in particular speech, to create the best opportunities for learning and language development.* Opn Play featuring OpenSound Navigator™ (OSN) helps accommodate best practice by delivering the “optimal signal-to-noise ratio across varying listening environments to constantly optimize learning opportunities.” Unlike traditional omnidirectional and directional approaches, OSN reportedly gives children the best of both worlds—“always open” access to a balanced soundscape that helps support the natural way the brain makes sense of sound, even in difficult listening environments.
A study at Boys Town National Research Hospital with children ages 6-15 reported that OSN offered an average of 4 dB SNR improvement in speech recognition (up to 30%) whether the child faced the speaker directly or faced away. The same study found that OSN preserves competing speech to allow access to multiple talkers, supporting incidental learning for children.
“Young children naturally learn a tremendous amount from overhearing or incidental listening, but children with hearing loss have fewer opportunities to learn by overhearing, especially when they are not looking directly at the talker,” said Maureen Doty Tomasula, AuD, senior product & marketing manager, Oticon Pediatrics. “The ability of OpenSound Navigator to preserve speech coming from different locations allows access to other talkers in the background, which is fundamental to incidental learning in school-age children.”
In a separate study of listening effort for children, researchers at VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam found that OSN improves speech understanding by up to 5 dB SNR with less perceived effort compared to traditional omnidirectional technology.**
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Powered by the new Velox S platform, Opn Play reportedly analyzes sound at 56,000 times/second to give children access to speech details with “more natural sound and increased comfort,” according to Oticon. OpenSound Optimizer™, a new technology in Opn Play, uses “ultra-fast” detectors and a patented breaker signal to proactively manage feedback, even before it occurs. Hearing care professionals can now fit children with up to 6 dB more gain, helping to allow more stable gain for closed fittings and more open fittings. This helps enable Opn Play to provide the brain with up to 25% more speech cues, without the risk of feedback.*** The new technology helps ensure stable access to speech details to support better language development and is said to allow children to play, hug, interact, and wear hats and helmets without feedback.
Easy Connectivity at School and Home
Opn Play offers compatibility with existing classroom solutions. A new option—Opn Play plus Oticon ConnectClip—can enhance incidental listening and communication between parents and children with hearing loss, especially when there is distance or noise present, such as when riding in the car, at the playground, or in a stroller. ConnectClip helps make it easy for children to stay connected to the most important speakers in their lives, parents, friends, teachers, and coaches. Opn Play is Made for iPhone® and connects with smartphones, laptops and other Bluetooth®-enabled devices.
Henley ear syringing
The Opn Play miniRITE R offers a rechargeable lithium-ion solution in a “discreet design,” helping to eliminate the hassle of handling and replacing batteries every few days. The charger features a stable magnetic connection and is said to deliver a full day of power, including streaming, with an overnight charge.
The Oticon Opn Play family is available in fitting ranges from mild to severe across all styles and in an array of kid-friendly colors. For more information about the entire Oticon Opn Play family, visit: www.oticon.com/opn-play.
* American Academy of Audiology (AAA) Clinical Practice Guidelines Pediatric Amplification June 2013
** Ng E, Goverts T, et al. (2019). Oticon Whitepaper.
*** Speech Intelligibility Index. ANSI S3.5.
Hearing aids for Buckinghamshire
Hearing aids for Buckinghamshire at the Henley Hearing Clinic. We pride ourselves on being at the vanguard of hearing technology here at the Henley Hearing Clinic. Leon Cox the lead audiologist is a first class audiologist who keeps up today with the new tech that comes out constantly. Today we are looking at the recently announced Phonak Marvel. For those who don’t know what this product is here is a sample from their Press release.
”In October 2018, Phonak introduced Marvel, a hearing aid family that’s said to “combine all the top-requested features from hearing aid wearers” into one solution.
Hearing aids Bucks
According to Phonak, this technology also helps to improves accessibility to hearing care by empowering consumers to benefit from a suite of smart apps that connect hearing aid wearers with their hearing care professional via smartphone. These include video chat, instant feedback regarding their wearing experience, remote fine-tuning from anywhere in the world, and real-time, voice-to-text transcription of phone calls”.
Sounds good? We think so and we are pleased that Phonak has won a prestigious award saying that they agree too. If this Phonak product sounds like something you may like more info on then please let us know and we could arrange an appointment to see if this would be right for you.
See the rest of the info on the Phonak Marvelproduct bellow.
Henley Hearing Clinic News:
Phonak Marvel Wins Silver Edison Award for Hearing Aid Design Technology
Phonak Marvel, said to be “the world’s first hearing aid” to combine clear sound quality with universal “made for all” Bluetooth connectivity, received a Silver Award in the hearing aid design technology category at the Edison Awards gala in New York City, the hearing aid manufacturer announced. The Edison Awards, named after Thomas Alva Edison, recognizes and honors innovators and innovations.
In October 2018, Phonak introduced Marvel, a hearing aid family that’s said to “combine all the top-requested features from hearing aid wearers” into one solution.
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According to Phonak, this technology also helps to improves accessibility to hearing care by empowering consumers to benefit from a suite of smart apps that connect hearing aid wearers with their hearing care professional via smartphone. These include video chat, instant feedback regarding their wearing experience, remote fine-tuning from anywhere in the world, and real-time, voice-to-text transcription of phone calls.
All nominations were reviewed by the Edison Awards Steering Committee and the final ballot sent to an independent judging panel. The judging panel was comprised of more than 3,000 professionals from the fields of product development, design, engineering, science, marketing, and education, including professional organizations representing a wide variety of industries and disciplines.
Hearing aids for Buckinghamshire
For more information on the 2019 Edison Awards, please visit: www.edisonawards.com. Applications for the 2020 awards will open in August 2019.
Source: Phonak, Edison Awards
Ear wax removal Bucks
Ear wax removal Bucks is available at the Henley Hearing Clinic. If you are suffering from excessive wax build up in the ear or ears we can come to your aid. Using Micro-Suction or the traditional irrigation technique, (some call it ear syringing), it only take a few mins to painlessly remove excess ear wax. Please click here to see how Micro-Suction works.
If you live in the Chalfont area then contact us for Ear wax removal near Little Chalfont Bucks.
Henley hearing Clinic also conduct lots of other ear related issues such as hearing tests, dispensing the very latest digital hearing aids along with hearing aid servicing and setting up of new hearing aids after you purchase them. If you need any of our services please book by calling reception.
Henley Hearing Clinic News:
Philips Hearing Aids Introduced by Demant
Ear wax removal Bucks
In August, Demant announced a licensing agreement with Philips, which is headquartered in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, to bring Philips-branded solutions to the hearing healthcare market. Demant (formerly William Demant Holding) is the parent group of Oticon, Sonic, and Bernafon hearing aids, as well as Oticon Medical.
Ear wax removal Henley
“Based on a shared vision of improving the lives of people through innovative healthcare this new cooperation will not only change the way we see hearing healthcare, but also widen the definition of hearing healthcare, supporting healthier lifestyles and active aging,” said Spencer Ramsey, Senior Director of Brand Licensing, Philips, in the press statement. “Combining Demant’s world-leading hearing aid technology with Philips’ global brand presence in healthcare, the cooperation will enrich the hearing healthcare experience.”
The new premium Philips hearing aids—named Philips HearLink—are now available for hearing care professionals in selected countries. The look and feel of the Philips HearLink hearing aids is designed to cater to today’s baby boomer generation with design and usability developed for this expanding market. Philips HearLink users will benefit from connectivity between their hearing aids and the devices they use in their everyday life, such as smartphones and televisions. The hearing aids will reportedly be manufactured by Demant using the Velox-S and Velox platforms, and will be available in a complete range of styles, including RICs, BTEs, ITCs, CICs, and IITs.
“The Philips hearing aids will provide users with an innovative, future-proof hearing solution,” says Demant President & CEO Søren Nielsen. “We live in an age where user engagement and digital services are shaping the future of healthcare technology. More and more people are conscious of taking control of their own personal healthcare and are using electronic devices to do so. In this light, Philips Hearing Solutions offers new and exciting premium solutions alongside Philips’ healthcare ecosytem, which will attract interest and generate significant benefits to users, ultimately supporting our valued customer base of hearing care professionals.
Henley ear wax removal
“With this partnership, we take connected hearing healthcare to the next level and offer new and exciting solutions within integrated healthcare services to the benefit of both professionals and people suffering from a hearing loss,” continued Nielsen. “Health, caring, and innovation are cornerstones in the vision of both Demant and Philips, which makes the partnership a great match for the future. Furthermore, it will strengthen and add value to both companies’ ambition to improve people’s lives.”
The Philips brand is something of a “back to the future moment” for more seasoned dispensing professionals. Philips was a well-known hearing aid brand in the 1990s, and the company embarked on a technical collaboration with Telex then exited the market just before the turn of the new century when Beltone purchased Philips’ hearing aid technology. The Hearing Review published numerous news and technical articles about Philips technology in the 90s.
Traditionally, hearing aid branding has not played a large role in hearing healthcare; MarkeTrak 9 suggested that less than half of hearing aid users (43%) could identify the brand of their device. However, many experts in the industry believe this is due to change, as more consumers are expected to enter the market and there is continued competition and aggressive marketing among dispensing chains, pharmacies, mass merchandisers, and online retailers. The Philips brand brings with it one of the world’s best known and trusted healthcare and consumer electronics brands.
For further information about Philips Hearing Solutions and a full presentation of the Philips HearLink product range, visit: hearingsolutions.philips.com
Ear wax removal Henley
The Henley Hearing Clinic is located in Henley on Thames, Bucks. Big sister the the Chalfont hearing centre but does all the same procedures such as dispensing the latest Digital hearing aids and ear wax removal using Microsuction or the traditional syringing of the ears called water irrigation. Microsuction is the better way to remove wax in most cases.
Ear wax removal is available by appointment and a limited amount of out of hours appointments are available but please call reception if you require out of hours.
Comprehensive hearing tests are also available. Please make sure that any ear wax issues are clear before you take the test, if you need ear wax removing prior the test please call reception and make this clear to reception that you will need ear wax clearing first.
Hearing issues, Henley
Hearing loss in Bucks
The Henley Hearing Clinic is a private hearing company based in Henley, Buckinghamshire. Leon Cox, the lead audiologist can help with all matters relating to hearing issues & ear wax removal, also the latest hearing instruments (Hearing aids) and conducts hearing tests. Book ahead for a comprehensive hearing test and discussion on your hearing heath after the hearing test result.
If you are suffering with hearing loss and suspect that ear wax maybe the issue, Leon Cox will conduct either Micro-suction or use the traditional water ear irrigation technique. Microsuction is painless and is the latest way to remove stubborn ear wax from your ear canal.
News originaly taken from the Hearing Review
Hearing Technology Manufacturers Call for EU Response to Hearing Loss
The British and Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (BIHIMA) works closely with its European counterpart the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA), and has supported their recent efforts to raise awareness of hearing loss with EU policymakers, the trade association announced. EHIMA submitted a parliamentary question to the European Commission in July, which has recently received a response from ministers.
The question, which was signed by the Austrian MEP Heinz K. Becker, can be read in full here. The question points to a widening gap between people that self-report hearing loss and the smaller proportion that receive treatment and/or wear devices; this “suboptimal use” of devices is estimated to cost the EU over EUR 500 billion (about USD $583.73 billion) annually. Citing the European Pillar of Social Rights—principles 16 and 17 which cover health care and the inclusion of people with disabilities—the question asks how the Commission can support best practices like early screenings, community education about the benefits of hearing devices, and research related to prevention and treatment strategies for hearing loss.
The European Commission published its answer on August 24, pointing to its efforts to develop the Best Practice Portal, a website described as a “one-stop shop” for best practices in a number of public health initiatives related to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals developed by the United Nations. In particular, the website aims to meet goal 3.4, “to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being, by one-third.” Additionally, the Commission’s 7th Framework Program for Research (FP7) as well as Horizon 2020—an EU research and innovation program—have funded research on the auditory system, screening standards, hearing devices, diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss-related diseases, and sign language. Further, the Commission states they have proposed a EUR 7.7 billion (USD about $9 billion) health budget for Horizon Europe 2020, focusing on initiatives related to lifelong health, rare diseases, and health care technologies, among other things. To further facilitate hearing-related funding, the Commission said, “Horizon Europe will be open to research proposals on hearing loss, including prevention and rehabilitation and innovative treatments.”
According to BIHIMA’s announcement, the Commission’s response is considered a positive exchange of information. Further, they state, BIHIMA’s European hearing manufacturing partners are encouraged that a greater understanding of hearing loss is being fostered among European policymakers.
“BIHIMA stand fully behind our European partners, EHIMA, in their effort to draw much-needed attention to hearing loss and we applaud this initiative to influence EU decision-making,” said Chairman Paul Surridge.
BIHIMA and EHIMA are together committed to the work of improving the lives of people with hearing loss through promoting greater access to hearing technology.
Source: BIHIMA, EHIMA, European Commission
How long will a fully charged hearing aid last
How long should the hearing aid battery last after a full charge, and how does Bluetooth affect this?
The Henley Hearing Clinic is a premier independent hearing company based in Henley Buckinghamshire. We supply all manufacturers hearing aid batteries and conduct hearing tests. Microsuction ear wax removal is our speciality here and we also still use the traditional technique of water ear irrigation if you prefer. Hearing aid batteries can be bought over the counter or we can post them to you if this is easier.
This Weeks blog is about the hearing aid battery and how long these should last from a full charge.
Original story by the Hearing review
Henley Hearing Blog:
How long should the hearing aid battery last after a full charge, and how does Bluetooth affect this
Q: How long should the battery last after a full charge? How much does Bluetooth activity affect this?
A: This is a great and very important question. Battery life is dependent on several factors including the amount of capacity of the battery, how fast the hearing aid drains the current, and the wear behaviour and habits of the user.
I like to use the example of an automobile. How many gallons of gas does the fuel tank hold or, for hearing aid batteries, how many mAh capacity is in the battery? How many miles per gallon does the car use or how many mA does the battery drain both when streaming and not streaming? And, finally, is the car driven on the highway or in the city and is the air conditioner on or off? Or, for hearing aids, how many hours per day does the hearing aid stream? Does the hearing aid use 2.4 GHz streaming or does it is use NFMI with an intermediate device that has its own battery? And, what features are turned on or off on the hearing aid?
Henley Hearing Clinic for ear wax removal in Bucks
Please note a factor we have learned in our electronics’ lab. Not all hearing aids are the same. Some 2.4 GHz products have current drains averaging 4.8-5.0 mA when streaming while other 2.4 GHz products using lower power Bluetooth will drain the battery at 3.0-3.4 mA while streaming. Some 2.4 GHz products when not streaming may have battery drains of 1.8-2.0 mA, while some of the newer products with bilateral beam-forming may drain the battery at 2.3-2.5 mA when not streaming.
The key is to know your products and know your patient’s listening habits. This is critical to good counseling.
Q: Is the life of the hearing aid circuit reduced as a result of using the rechargeable system? It did happen when [a previous model of hearing aid] were rechargeable.
A: The ZPower Rechargeable System has been thoroughly evaluated by the hearing aid manufacturers and there is no indication that the system will have a negative effect on the life of the hearing aid circuit. The ZPower silver-zinc battery is designed to mimic the performance of traditional zinc-air batteries and is transparent to the DSP of the hearing aids. Extensive studies of hearing aids using the ZPower System also show the system including the ZPower silver-zinc batteries have no impact on the electrophysiologic performance of the hearing aids. Therefore, the ZPower System will not have a negative impact on the hearing aid circuitry or performance.
Previous Q & A’s
Q: What’s a realistic time frame for a rechargeable hearing aid battery to last?
A: Rechargeable silver-zinc batteries last about a year. They are removeable and therefore easily replaced. It is recommended that rechargeable silver-zinc batteries are replaced once a year by a hearing care professional.
Li-ion batteries are sealed within the hearing aid, and are usually removable only by the hearing aid manufacturer. They last approximately 4 to 5 years.
Q: What would happen if my patient accidentally places their hearing aids in the charger while they have zinc air batteries in them?
A: When the hearing aids are put on the charger, the charger will check to see what type of battery is in the hearing aid. If the charger detects a disposable zinc air battery, the lights on the charger will turn red. If the charger detects a silver-zinc battery, the lights on the charger will start blinking green; once the battery is fully charged, the lights will turn solid green.
Ear wax removal Henley Hearing Clinic
Q: Can my patients overcharge a ZPower battery if they leave it in the charger for too long?
A: The batteries will not overcharge if left in the charger. It is a best practice to put the hearing aids back on the charger when the hearing aids are not being worn during the day. This will keep the hearing aids turned off and the batteries charged. For long-term storage, if batteries will not be used for over 2 weeks, the rechargeable batteries should be removed from the hearing aids and stored in a location where they will not touch each other or other metal objects.
Q: What happens when the silver-zinc rechargeable battery is getting low on power?
A: The hearing aid wearer will hear the low battery warning. Once the low-battery warning occurs or once a hearing aid shuts off due to a low battery condition, the battery door should not be opened and closed to reboot the hearing aid. Rebooting after the low battery warning can override the smart circuitry in the battery door into believing it has a traditional disposable battery installed and, although the hearing aid will continue to work for a short period, it may over-discharge the battery. If a low-battery warning from the hearing aids is received, the hearing aids should be placed in the charging base for charging or the batteries should be replaced with non-rechargeable batteries. The rechargeable batteries should not be stored with metal objects such as keys or coins.
Q: How often should the batteries be charged?
A: The batteries should be fully charged every night. Once the hearing aids are finished charging, the indicator lights turn from blinking green to solid green. A full charge may take up to 7 hours—the charge time varies based on how much the battery was depleted during the day. Do not try to extend battery life by charging every other day, as this increases the chances of depleting the battery. A fully depleted battery will take longer to charge and may not fully charge in time for next use.
Q: What happens if the hearing aid wearer forgets to charge the battery at night?
A: They can use a disposable zinc-air battery until it is convenient to re-charge the batteries—ideally the rechargeable batteries should be charged the next night. The rechargeable silver-zinc batteries are a gold color, so they will not be mixed up with zinc-air disposable batteries. The rechargeable batteries should be stored in a safe place and should not be stored with metal objects such as keys or coins.
Samsung Announces Hearing Loss Detection App and New Initiative
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 5% of the world’s population—or 466 million people—have disabling hearing loss. In Argentina, hearing impairment constitutes 18% of the existing disabilities according to Info LEG—86.6% of which experience hearing difficulties; 13.4% are deaf.
While those diagnosed with hearing loss can take necessary actions for their individual cases—taking preventive measures to avoid total deafness, getting hearing aids, learning sign language, etc—those who do not know what’s happening to them are subject to a more frustrating experience. This is especially true for children who may lose the chance to develop their cognitive skills and pursue higher education.
Using Technology to Bridge the Gap
uSound for Samsung is an initiative designed to bring technology to people with hearing loss—to help detect the risk of hearing loss and thus improve their quality of life in such essential aspects as communication and education, the South Korea-based company announced.
uSound Test is a free application that is designed to allow users to detect their hearing loss risk. According to the company’s press release, the app reproduces pre-calibrated sounds that users give feedback to. It then compares these results with its database, with the app reportedly detecting specific frequencies the user may have difficulty hearing. uSound Test is designed to analyze the auditory curve that results from the whole test to help determine the degree of hearing loss risk.
uSound for Samsung reportedly issues a report with the results, designed as “a risk indicator,” according to Samsung. Since the test is not designed to be a medical diagnosis, the app recommends users contact hearing health specialists when necessary.
Cynthia Giolito, senior manager, corporate citizenship, Samsung Electronics Argentina, said: “uSound for Samsung reinforces our mission to offer technology with a purpose that improves quality of life. We are very proud to embark on this path and we hope to have solid results that will promote hearing accessibility in more places.”
Through uSound for Samsung, the company hopes to use its technology and resources to:
- Raise awareness about hearing loss and improve public policies;
- Avoid irreversible damage to hearing organs;
- Encourage learning and cognitive development for children;
- Develop speech and facilitate social inclusion;
- Contribute to a more egalitarian society.
Working with the Community
The Government of Jujuy will provide resources and workspaces for the hearing loss-detection campaign, according to Samsung. uSound will continue to help improve hearing experiences with its products, including the aforementioned test and an app that turns the cell phone into an auditory assistant**, according to the company’s announcement. Samsung Electronics will provide the necessary technology to carry out a first pilot test of uSound Test in health centers across Jujuy and will financially support the project.
Governor Gerardo Rubén Morales, Jujuy Province, said: “It is a pleasure to accompany uSound, a company from Jujuy, take on its challenges. With the support of Samsung, this project will impact thousands of people with hearing problems. It is great that this project started in Jujuy. We hope it can be replicated throughout Argentina and in other countries—technological innovation knows no boundaries.”
As a team, the Government of Jujuy, uSound, and Samsung Electronics Argentina will help give a larger part of the Argentine community access to tools to potentially change lives through the use of technology.
Ezequiel Escobar, CEO and co-founder of uSound, said: “We witnessed a truly historic opportunity for our company and for Jujuy. This plan, using our technologies, will benefit many people from Jujuy and has the potential to expand to help many more people around the world. We are talking about a huge impact that grows even more with the support from Samsung and the Ministry of Health of Jujuy.”
Samsung has been preparing for entry into the hearing care market for several years; Hearing Review reported that the company filed an April 2013 patent for a “small hearing aid.” In 2015, Samsung placed a $13.9 million order for hearing aid amplifiers driven, according to a BusinessKorea article, by Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong’s interest in what it called “mobile health care.” More recently, SamMobile reported in 2016 that Samsung applied for trademark registration of the term Earcle in South Korea, and that its application referenced hearing aids. Additionally, a Samsung device described as a “Samsung Bluetooth Hearing Aid” with the model number SM-R790, reportedly surfaced at the Bluetooth Special Interest Group’s (SIG) database.
* Not a medical diagnosis
** Not a hearing aid
*** Translated from Spanish and edited for clarity
Depression and Hearing Loss
Henley Hearing Clinic News:
Depression and its connection to hearing loss seems pretty logical and self-evident, especially if you’re a dispensing professional who experiences daily the difference that amplification can make in a person’s life. In fact, many clinicians find themselves explaining the connection as follows: a person’s hearing loss and related communication problems can lead to gaffes and social faux pas; leading to embarrassment, anxiety, and loss of self-esteem; leading to gradual withdrawal from social situations and physical activity; leading to social isolation and loneliness; and eventually bringing them down the path to depression.
While this is probably an adequate description for some cases, a recent webinar1 by Victor Bray, PhD, associate professor and former dean of Salus University’s Osborne College of Audiology, points to more recent scientific literature that paints a far more complex picture of hearing loss and its association with depression—one we all should be aware of. The utility of hearing aids, cochlear implants, and assistive devices is made no less important by this complexity; however, it’s vital to understand who might be most at risk for depression in your patient population, how best to administer simple screening tools (ie, the PHQ-2 or PHQ-9), and why it’s important to refer patients to a medical doctor or psychologist, when indicated.
Depression, also known as major depressive disorder (MDD), is present in 5-10% of the general population (up to 40% in some groups), and is a serious medical illness that negatively affects feelings, thoughts, and actions. The primary risk factors for depression are co-morbid chronic medical conditions (hearing loss is a pervasive chronic condition, especially among seniors) and recent stressful events. And, as with cognitive decline and dementia—the subject of my editorial last month—the stakes in treating depression are high for society and healthcare professionals. As Hsu and colleagues (2016) pointed out:
Depression is a common mental disorder, which affects 350 million people in the world. Unipolar depressive disorders and adult-onset hearing loss, the most common neuropsychiatric conditions, and sense organ disorder, respectively, are the first and second leading nonfatal causes of year loss due to disability among adults in high-income countries.2
Several of the studies reviewed by Dr Bray tend to suggest that the odds ratio for acquiring depression increases by a factor of about two if you have untreated hearing loss. However, a lot of the studies also show that a variety of chronic illnesses—ranging from cirrhosis to diabetes mellitus—can be associated with depression, so there could be some underlying neurophysiological common cause in hearing loss and other health problems that hasn’t been discovered yet. Dr Bray also looks at some very intriguing research about how dual-sensory loss (ie, hearing and vision loss) and sudden sensorineural hearing loss (particularly among young people) can greatly increase the risk for depression, as well as studies that are shedding light on how treated hearing loss might positively affect those suffering from anxiety, loneliness, and depression.
As Dr Bray explains, the linkage of hearing loss to depression could come from both a social (downstream) effect, as described at the beginning of this article, and a biological/neurological (upstream) effect, as proposed in a model by Rutherford et al.3 If that were the case, an effective treatment plan could involve therapy and/or medication from a psychologist, in coordination with a hearing device and/or auditory and cognitive retraining from a hearing care professional.
Dr Bray’s webinar was sponsored by Hamilton CapTel, and the company also sponsored an exceptionally interesting and well-viewed webinar last year about hearing loss and associated co-morbidities (including depression) by Harvey Abrams, PhD.4,5 When viewed together, they put an exclamation point on the fact that hearing loss isn’t just about the ears, it’s about health, the brain, quality of life, healthy aging, and so much more—while underscoring the crucial role of the hearing care professional in general healthcare.
To see Dr Bray’s webinar, visit https://bit.ly/2Lpt4AW.
Citation for this article: Strom KE. Depression and hearing loss. Hearing Review. 2018;25(8):6.
1. Bray V. Depression, hearing loss, and treatment with hearing aids [Webinar]. July 13, 2018. Available at: https://www.hearingreview.com/2018/07/new-webinar-depression-hearing-loss-treatment-hearing-aids
2. Hsu W-T, Hsu C-C, Wen M-H, et al. Increased risk of depression in patients with acquired sensory hearing loss: A 12-year follow-up study. Medicine. 2016;95(44):e5312.
3. Rutherford BR, Brewster K, Golub JS, Kim AH, Roose SP. Sensation and psychiatry: Linking age-related hearing loss to late-life depression and cognitive decline. Am J Psychiatry. 2017;175(3):215-224.
4. Abrams H. Hearing loss and associated comorbidities: What do we know [Webinar]? May 31, 2017. Available at: https://www.hearingreview.com/2017/05/new-webinar-hearing-loss-associated-comorbidities-know/
5. Abrams H. Hearing loss and associated comorbidities: What do we know? Hearing Review. 2017;24(12):32-35. Available at: https://www.hearingreview.com/2017/11/hearing-loss-associated-comorbidities-know/
New Study Examines Inequality in Treatment for Hearing Loss
Hearing loss seems like one of the great equalizers of old age, striking people of all kinds as their ears gradually lose the ability to pick out sounds or hear certain pitches.
But a new national study reveals major gaps in whether Americans over age 55 get help for their hearing loss—gaps that vary greatly by age, race, education, and income, according to an article published on the Michigan Medicine website.
In all, just over a third of older adults who say they have hearing loss are using a hearing aid to correct it, the study finds. But those who are non-Hispanic white, college educated, or have incomes in the top 25% were about twice as likely as those of other races, education levels, or income ranges to have a hearing aid.
The cost of hearing aids is most to blame, say the researchers from the University of Michigan who published the study in The Gerontologist. They presented it this week at the annual research meeting of the AcademyHealth professional society for health care researchers.
Hearing aids can cost thousands of dollars out of a patient’s pocket because most health insurance programs, including Medicare, don’t cover them.
In fact, the study finds that the only factor that leveled the playing field for hearing aid use was having insurance through the Department of Veterans Affairs, which covers hearing aids in many cases. Hearing-impaired veterans ages 55 to 64 were more than twice as likely as their nonveteran peers to use a hearing aid, even after the researchers corrected for other differences. The gap between veterans and nonveterans was also significant for those over 65.
But the detailed interviews conducted for the study also show that personal concerns about hearing aid use, and lack of engagement with health providers, play a role.
“Hearing aids are not easy for many to obtain due to their costs,” says Michael McKee, MD, MPH, the U-M family medicine physician and assistant professor who led the analysis.
“However, there are a number of additional issues that place at-risk groups at an even larger disadvantage to achieving good hearing health. Many of these issues are beyond the financial aspects, including racial/ethnicity and sociocultural elements, for instance stigma and vanity.”
National survey and local interviews
McKee, who uses a cochlear implant to overcome his own hearing loss, worked on the study with Helen Levy, PhD, a health economist and professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research, and other colleagues. The authors are members of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.
They used survey data from the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study, which is based on interviews conducted by the Institute for Social Research with funding from the National Institutes of Health.
The analysis included data from more than 35,500 people nationwide over age 55 who said they had hearing loss. In addition, McKee and colleagues conducted in-depth interviews with 21 other older adults with hearing loss in the communities surrounding the university.
The authors conclude that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Servicesshould consider covering hearing aids for Medicare participants and those in Medicaid plans for lower-income adults of any age. Some state Medicaid plans do cover hearing aids, but it is not required.
“Many people may not realize that Medicare does not cover hearing aids,” says Levy. “But it doesn’t, so cost can be a significant obstacle preventing older adults with hearing loss from getting the help that they need.”
More findings from the study:
- The percentage of older adults with hearing loss who used a hearing aid rose with age, from about 15% of those in their late 50’s to more than 57% of those in their late 80s.
- Forty percent of non-Hispanic white adults with hearing loss used a hearing aid, compared with 18.4% of non-Hispanic black and 21.1% of Hispanic adults with hearing loss.
- Nearly 46% of hearing-impaired older adults who had gone to college reported that they used a hearing aid, compared with just under 29% of those who hadn’t graduated from high school.
- Nearly half of those with incomes in the top 25% wore a hearing aid, compared with about one-quarter of those in the bottom 25%.
- There were no significant differences in hearing aid use based on the size of the community where the person lived, nor their level of health literacy as measured on a standard test.
- Interviews showed that cost, lack of insurance coverage (or knowledge about insurance coverage), vanity, and stigma were common reasons for not using hearing aids. Participants also cited a lack of attention to hearing loss by their primary care provider and worries about finding an audiologist they could trust.
- Many interview participants who used a hearing aid mentioned efforts that hearing-related professionals made to connect them to discounts and insurance programs.
More about hearing loss
Estimates of hearing loss incidence place it at 29% of people in their 50s, 45% of those in their 60s, 68% of those in their 70s, and 89% of those in their 80s.
Previous studies have shown that untreated hearing loss reduces older adults’ ability to carry out everyday tasks, reduces their quality of life, and is linked to social isolation, lower income, reduced cognitive function, and poorer physical and psychological health.
A recent study led by McKee’s colleague Elham Mahmoudi, PhD, found that having a hearing aid was associated with a lower chance of being hospitalized or visiting an emergency room in the past year. That study focused on people over 65 who had severe hearing loss, and it used data from a federal database.
McKee leads the Health Info Lab, which is researching health information use and literacy among deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.
This article is copyrighted by the University of Michigan and used with permission.
Original Paper: McKee MM, Choi H, Wilson S, DeJonckheere MJ, Zazove P, Levy H. Determinants of hearing aid use among older Americans with hearing loss. The Gerontologist. 2018. Available at: https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/geront/gny051/5000029?redirectedFrom=fulltext
Source: Michigan Medicine/University of Michigan, The Gerontologist
Image: University of Michigan