01491 577555

Henley independent hearing

Henley independent hearing

The Henley hearing clinic and ear wax removal centre is a premier independent local hearing service in Bucks. We believe in personal service, we offer premier hearing tests and ear wax removal. Using the latest knowledge and using the latest tech we know how to perform the very best hearing tests.

We stock hearing aid batteries, and conduct hearing tests onsite here in Henley.

 

Henley hearing clinic news:

Widex Announces New Insights into EVOKE Hearing Aid’s AI Function

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Widex announced the first data gathered from the WIDEX EVOKE™ hearing aid, which is said to achieve “a new level of Artificial Intelligence (AI)” through machine learning, and is helping to bring new insights into how users are taking control of their sound environment to improve their hearing experience, according to the company.

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Denmark-based Widex launched the WIDEX EVOKE hearing aid in April. The hearing aid is reportedly the first to give users the ability to employ real-time machine learning that can solve the tricky hearing problems that users face in their daily lives.

“We launched WIDEX EVOKE with SoundSense technology to put users back in control of the most difficult hearing situations,” said Jens Brehm Nielsen, data science & machine learning architect at Widex. “And we can see that EVOKE users have taken the opportunity to do that and, in the process, are helping us understand more about them. That information will help us to make the EVOKE and future hearing aids even better.”

Henley hearing aids

SoundSense Learn is an AI system, because AI is said to refer to systems that solve tasks humans are inherently good at—such as driving a car, doing the dishes, etc. SoundSense Learn expands into entirely new applications by helping end users adjust their hearing aids in the moment, reportedly something that no humans can replicate to the same degree of accuracy, according to Widex.

The SoundSense Learn smartphone app is connected to the EVOKE hearing aids and uses machine learning to guide users in optimizing the settings to their exact needs. The app gathers a variety of anonymous data such as how often they turn the volume up or down, which sound presets they use, and how many custom settings they create—including those made with SoundSense Learn.

Hearing test in Henley

Tagging of custom settings has proved to be one of the interesting pieces of data generated by EVOKE.

“We found that many people have created a setting and tagged it with, for instance, ‘work’ which suggests that it is something that our end users need and want,” said Nielsen. “And from SoundSense Learn we already have an idea of how they like the settings.”

Some hearing aids give users the ability to customize their sound experience by adjusting frequency bands to boost or cut bass, middle or high tones. Adjusting frequencies works well in many situations once the initial settings have been set by a skilled audiologist. However, some situations are so complex that hitting the right combination of adjustments can be difficult.

“Widex hearing aids are well known for the quality of their sound,” said Nielsen. “But SoundSense Learn has added an extra layer of quality sound on top of that by using a machine learning algorithm together with reinforcement learning—the two key ingredients in state-of-the art AI algorithm, that enables the algorithm to learn in the moment.

“The algorithm learns an optimal setting every time a user finds the sound to be a little below expectations in a given sound environment. It learns these settings by simply asking the user to compare two settings that are carefully picked by the algorithm. This allows it to learn an optimal setting in a new environment very fast.”

By collating and analyzing the anonymous data WIDEX EVOKE will continue to become even smarter as time passes.

Source: Widex

Image: Widex

 

 

Posted:

Cilla Black suffers from hearing loss and is proud to where her invisible hearing aid

Cilla Black_Hearing loss_invisible hearing aidTV Star Cilla Black (71) has recently been diagnosed with hearing loss. She has had an implantable hearing aid fitted because of damage. Implantable hearing aids like that of the Lyric from Phonak are inserted into the ear canal by a professional Audiologist and remain in the ear canal 24 hours a day; they are then replaced every 3 months. Suitability for the device is dependant upon the size and shape of the ear canal as well as the configuration of the hearing loss. Where the device is not suitable for an ear the patient can be fitted with an invisible in the canal alternative such as the nano or micro hearing aids. These are the smallest hearing aids available on the market at the moment and are completely invisible when in the ear.

The entertainer worked at the cavern club Liverpool in the 1960’s and attributes her time there to being one of the contributing factors in her hearing loss. Cilla said “It’s no fun getting older. I might be wearing beautiful diamond earrings but they can’t take away he pain of losing my hearing”.  Cilla’s hearing faded gradually over time and she did not realise how bad it had become.

The thing that made her realise that she could not hear properly was when she was on holiday in Barbados and she asked her friend “why are you whispering?” and her friend replied I am not whispering, it is you who has a hearing problem. Once getting her hearing aids Cilla found that she became increasingly aware of just how many of her peers wore hearing aids and ultimately how common it was.

While going to Barbados may nice it’s not the only way that you can find out whether you are having hearing problems, you can call us instead! Chalfont Hearing Centre offer express hearing testing services and professional  hearing aid advice. Call us in Amersham 01494 765144 or email Chalfonthearingcentre@live.co.uk

Festival Noise

festival_1With every summer comes the impending festival season. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world decend on the outdoor music scene, where the music is loud and the weather is unpredictable.

Over exposure to loud music has side effects. Have you ever had a ringing sensation in your ears after attending an event? This is known as temporary tinnitus. 90% of young people have experienced temporary tinnitus at least once in their lifetime. With continued exposure over time, this can lead to permanent tinnitus and even hearing loss. There is however, a simple solution to preventing damage to your hearing whilst still enjoying the festivals this summer…

Hearing Protection

Now, this does not have to mean large unsightly ear protectors that block out the much enjoyed music. Ear plugs for  music events are barely noticable in the ear. They also don’t block out the sound, they simply filter it to a safer level. At Chalfont Hearing Centre we provide custom fit ear plugs which are made just for you. By tailor making your ear plugs specifically to the shape of your ear, you will forget that you are even wearing them.

Performers, music artists and DJs all wear hearing protection to ensure their hearing is preserved for as long as possible. Their careers play havock with their ears with many people in the music industry suffering from tinnitus or hearing loss. All of which are preventable. So invest in your hearing now, so you can continue to enjoy your favourtie music in the future.

Contact Chalfont Hearing Centre now to find out more about how you can get your very own custom fit hearing protection – 01494 765 144  or  info@chalfonthearing.co.uk

NHS Hearing Aid Ban

Budget-Cuts-Hearing AidsAmidst ever increasing government cuts, the NHS has taken a huge impact.

This week, NHS leaders have proposed to save £1.2 million by no longer giving out hearing aids to patients with mild to moderate hearing loss. The proposed cuts would affect patients living in the Newcastle Borough and the Staffordshire Moorlands if approved.

Although this may seem far from home, the reality of the impending lack of NHS funding is not. Even this week Doctors surgeries hit the headlines for deducting elderly patients from their books, being considered most vulnerable and therefore the most expensive patients to maintain.

Hearing loss is not a minor health issue that can simply be ignored or delayed. That is until the increasing severity of it  reaches NHS criteria to do something about it, by which point the damage is done.

As NHS cuts increase more and more people will be moving to the world of private healthcare although not without doubts regarding cost and reliability.

Here  at Chalfont Hearing Centre we provide all the information you need to make an educated decision regarding your hearing. We are also clear and transparent with our competitive prices. If in the instance that your hearing loss can not be benefitted with hearing aids, and you need further assistance then we shall be honest with you and guide you in the right direction.

Being a private family run practice, we can offer you almost instant peace of mind and relief from your hearing loss, as we aim to see all our patients within a maximum of 3 days for a hearing assessment or consultation. This can be in as little as 24 hours, compared to anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months just for a hearing assessment once you have been referred by your GP on the NHS.

Once you have had your assessment, if hearing aids are the avenue that you choose; we offer the latest in hearing aid technology from a variety of manufacturers, at a range of affordable prices. Our hearing aids come in a range of sizes and designs to suit your needs entirely, compared to the limited selection available on the NHS. We also go that step further, and can advise and provide for you, a host of accessories available to hearing aid users, from phones to Iphone Apps.

Depending on your choice of hearing aid you could be fitted with your selected aid in as little as 24 hours.

After you have been fitted with your desired hearing aid, if you have any problems or queries we are just a telephone call away to book an appointment or for our experienced Audiologists to visit you at home to ensure your optimum comfort.

So whilst the NHS is  cutting back on its services we are steadily increasing ours. If you or a loved one would like to find out more about the services that we can offer you then contact us today :

Phone: 01494 765144   or    Email: chalfonthearingcentre@live.co.uk

 

 

 

 

How to buy your hearing aid?

As a hearing professional who has sat in front of NHS patients, one of the most common questions I was asked was, how do I go about getting a better hearing aid? However, owing to departmental impartially little advice or assistance was advised. These patients were largely left to their own devices to source more satisfactory solutions. Now sat in front of my private patients it is apparent that they are still ill informed and unaware of the vastly different options available to them. Leaving me to be the primary person answering their questions, which can be difficult to fit into a 90 minute consultation. After visiting several different health professionals, typically their G.P., NHS audiology, a national hearing aid company and doing internet research the patient arrives not knowing typical price structures, difference in clinical qualifications (competence) for achieving optimum outcomes, the importance of technology level and service packages in achieving satisfaction. Therefore I thought I would offer some advice based on the Which Magazine report.

If you decide to buy hearing aids rather than go to the NHS the price of the hearing aids is bundled with the service and follow up. In order to compare hearing aid prices it is important to compare like for like only. So make sure you know what is included. You are buying a whole on-going package not just a one off purchase. Independent hearing aid centres tend to be cheaper and have more flexibility when offering products because they are not generally tied to manufacturers. National companies tend to offer older technologies at lower price points, have higher overheads and therefore premium products are often more expensive and often they do not verify the fitting of the hearing aid which is important to ensure correct prescription. Hearing aid devices last on average 3 to 5 years, so you will need to build in the cost of replacing them. Manufacturer’s guarantees are attached to service packages to a maximum of 5 years, manufacturer’s guarantees are essential as you are buying an electronic device that can go wrong. Lifetime aftercare is a gimmick term used by companies to give you a false perception of the life of the hearing aid and the ongoing costs, it is a valueless term, as any quality independent hearing aid centre will always look after you and your hearing aid once you have purchased a hearing aid on an ongoing basis.

Ongoing costs can include batteries, domes and wax guards which can total an average spend of £50 to £100 per year. With some independents this cost is included in their premium packages. Batteries can be purchased for between £2 and £4 a pack (6 batteries).

There are 7 main manufacturers who all have four current ranges and therefore four price points. The four ranges are a basic, mid-level, advanced and premium level, with the performance and cost increasing as you go up the range. Average prices are from £500 to £3500 per hearing aid. The average spend in the UK is £3k for a pair of hearing aids. At Chalfont Hearing are prices range from £750 to £2000 per hearing aid with a basic service package. If you buy mid-level hearing aids from high street hearing centres you are likely to get older or lesser quality technology than obtainable from independent hearing centres. If you buy premium hearing aids (from high street hearing centres, like Boots, Specsavers, Hidden Hearing) you will often pay an unnecessary premium for exactly the same product. Hearing aids supplied by the NHS (such as the Oticon Zest) are mid-level technology and were released to the private market in 2008, they have since been super-seeded by 2 generations. We would advise against going for cheap hearing aids especially those under £500-£600 pounds as they are often old or extremely basic technology, these hearing aids maybe ‘OK’ for housebound elderly patients who can not get to the hospital but will offer limited benefit.

However getting value for money is about more than just the cost of the instruments. Actually the price is fairly trivial, its about service and therefore the difference of whether the hearing aids work or not. The amount you pay should reflect the quality of the instrument, the service and your lifestyle requirements. If your lifestyle is fairly relaxed and you rarely leave the house a more basic hearing aid is perfect, if you are still working and socially active then you will need something more premium.

Key questions to ask if you are buying a hearing aid:

1. Have you been offered a choice, have you reviewed the pro’s and con’s of different hearing aid styles and features?

2. Have you trialled them to see if they actually benefit you?

3. What is the warranty period (repairs and replacement)?

4. What level and quality will the fitting be done to?

5. How will the aftercare be delivered?

Five things to watch out for:

1. Some companies offer free guides on hearing aids and follow these up with home visits. They are often lead generation companies who operate in a sales based way.

2. Do not buy hearing aids online without a full hearing assessment, the hearing aid is only as good as the programming.

3. If you are shopping around, only compare ‘like for like’. That includes make, manufacturer, warranty, aftercare, additional extras, qualification of clinician and quality of premises and equipment.

4. Some companies have tie ins with manufacturers, this includes the NHS and therefore options will be limited if this is the case.

5. You should not need to replace hearing aids more than once every 3 years.

For your piece of mind Chalfont hearing Centre have considered and incorporated all of this information into our service delivery model to ensure our patients get the best advice on hearing aids possible. To have a hearing test and get informed and impartial information contact 01494 765144.

http://www.which.co.uk/home-and-garden/bathroom-and-personal-care/guides/how-to-get-the-best-hearing-aid/how-to-buy-your-hearing-aids/

Which Magazine Report on Hearing Aid 'Shops'

In October 2010 a Which? investigation revealed serious problems at ‘shops’ selling hearing aids to the public.  In an undercover inquiry they sent researchers with hearing loss to branches of the biggest five high street companies, plus some independent shops.  They found some ‘shops’ failed to ask basic medical questions or properly carry out hearing tests, and missed potentially serious problems. The report detailed below explains the shortcomings found across the industry.

http://www.which.co.uk/documents/pdf/p66-68_hearing_r3-231245.pdf

Is your hearing aid fitted correctly? Are you hearing properly? Can we help?

In the UK there is no standardised way of fitting hearing aids, there are also various different qualifications that practictioner’s may possess in order to fit hearing aids. The outcome and fitting success can vary wildly depending on where you go. Some people may have had negative experiences with private hearing aids, some may have had negative experiences with the NHS. The main factor in the successful fitting of a hearing aid is the audiologist or hearing aid dispenser that is fitting the hearing aid. A hearing aid is only as good as the audiologist fitting it. When choosing a hearing aid it is important not to choose an aid based on price but on the competency of the audiologist.  If the hearing is not fitted using some form of verification you may not achieve optimum hearing levels. Verification typically refers to the process of real ear measurement, insitu audiometry and speech mapping. If you hearing aids have not been fitted using this method they may not be working to their optimum. Under amplification may lead to a lack of clarity and over amplification may lead to feedback, noise, distortion and even further damage to your hearing.

To find out if your hearing aid is performing correctly contact us via email chalfonthearingcentre@live.co.uk or call 01494 765144.

Scientists 'prove theory of selective hearing'

A recent study has found that it is possible for the brain to cancel out some sounds, and focus on others when directed to. This is a particularly important consideration in hearing aid wearers, who need to relearn to listen with an acquired hearing loss.  Hearing aids only provide an aid to hearing, focused listening and hearing tactics are just as important in achieving improved hearing.

I am constantly trying to reinforce to my patients that listening is just as important as hearing and that while I control their hearing they control their listening. Many patients are overwhelmed by sound when they are first fitted with a hearing aids, resulting on them being distracted by noise rather than listening to speech. However, when the patient finishes their acclimatisation period and is wearing the hearing aid all of the time, they will begin to become selective again. However, this is not a passive activity for the hearing impaired it is a much more demanding activity, that will take time to improve. Continued dialogue with your Audiologist is important to make the best progress.

The link below is to a video which explains the details of the hearing study in more depth

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18519010