New type of hearing aids for Henley, Bucks
We are always on the look out for new hearing tech at the Henley Hearing Clinic. Today we are posting a review on the newly available Sivantos hearing aids that buck the trend of how hearing aids should look like.
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Sivantos Launches New Form Factor with Signia Styletto SLIM RIC
Why should a hearing aid looklike a hearing aid? That’s the question Sivantos engineers asked themselves when designing the new Signia Styletto receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing aid which is being launched today. Styletto is a rechargeable SLIM RIC that features a contemporary design and breaks the mold of traditional behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids by taking advantage of how its lithium-ion battery technology doesn’t need to conform to the traditional size and shape of a button cell. The new RIC, which uses the Signia Nx platform with Own Voice Processing (OVP), also comes with an extremely small charger which offers fast charging solutions as well as three full charges on the go.
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“There are people who look at a hearing aid and really don’t see it matching their style,” says Eric Branda, AuD, director of product management at Sivantos Inc, Piscataway, NJ. “We see all these people wearing large Bluetooth headsets flashing on their ears—huge devices on their ears—and yet [the hearing industry has] struggled to get them to adopt hearing aids, and I think it really comes down to the fact that we keep asking them to wear what looks like a hearing aid.”
Stylistic freedom by thinking outside the button cell. In terms of the history of hearing aids, Branda points out that, going all the back to the original body-worn devices and moving into today’s CIC and RIC devices, hearing aid sizes and styles have been dictated by the size and shape of button cell batteries. Although lithium-ion rechargeable batteries have also been built in this coin design, they’re not restricted to it—as demonstrated by the new Styletto SLIM RIC. Instead, it departs from the traditional coin cell look by using a slim pin design to create a new form factor.
“With today’s battery technology, we can take a new approach,” says Branda. “Rather than being discreet by being invisible, we can be discreet and drive acceptance withvisibility, which is a novel approach for people with hearing loss.”
Differentiating a hearing aid practice by appealing to different wearers. With its slim, elegant design that harkens to other high-tech product categories, Styletto provides a new option for those who might be put off by the traditional look of a hearing aid. In a US study of 500 mostly new users (92%) with moderate hearing loss, Sivantos found that when participants were given a choice between traditional BTE (Motion) or RIC (Pure) designs, or given the option of no hearing aid at all, more than half (57%) opted for the RIC, 19% selected the BTE, while almost one-quarter (24%) chose to go without a hearing aid. However, when the new Styletto was inserted into the study as an option, 90% of the participants selected a hearing aid: 65% of the study participants selected the SLIM RIC design, while about equal percentages opted for either the BTE and RIC (13% and 12% respectively), and only 10% chose no hearing aid at all.
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Similarly, when consumers looked at a simulated practice storefront window with a standard portfolio, only about 16% of the participants chose an offering without Styletto, while 84% of people chose an offering with the new aid.
Branda says that this indicates Styletto provides dispensing professionals with a new product that aligns more closely with patients’ style and view of themselves. “It may come down to the fact that people know what a hearing aid looks like,” he says. “But, when they see Styletto, they think ‘I can see myself wearing that and it doesn’t make me look like a hearing aid wearer.’”
Portable rechargeability for the wearer. The Styletto’s recharging case is very small, and reportedly offers 19 hours of full-day use with a 3-hour charge. If the wearer forgets to charge the device, they can drop it into the charger for 30 minutes and be able to use the device for 5 hours, says the company. The charger also carries three additional full charges. Thus, if the user starts out in the morning with a full charge and the charger is fully charged, they actually have four days of portable battery capacity available to them, according to Sivantos. The charger also contains an LED indicator to view the status of the charging, as well as an automatic on/off feature which means that the charger can serve as the primary carrying case.
Nx technology. The Styletto hearing aid uses Signia Nxsignal processing which is designed to emphasize a natural experience using Sivantos’ Own Voice Processing (OVP) technology. Signia’s ear-to-ear wireless (Ultra HD e2e®) is used in OVP as well as the hearing aid’s Narrow Directionality for a more natural sound quality and better speech intelligibility in noise. The wireless technology also enables the device’s Twin Phone capabilities, which allows the wearer to place the phone up to the ear, obtain the acoustic signal, and then the hearing aid wirelessly sends the signal to the opposite ear for binaural advantage during the phone call.
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The sleek instrument does not have push-buttons or a volume control. For those who want more control, the touchControl®App is a downloadable cell phone application that allows for the changing of volume, programs, and directionality. Similarly, miniPocket™, which resembles a keychain type remote control, allows for volume and program changes.
Styletto is available in all three of the Nx performance levels (7/5/3) and uses a Size M (60/119) receiver in lengths 2 and 3. The device is applicable for people with mild to moderately severe losses (60 dB gain).
For more information, visit pro.signiausa.com
Hearing aids, Buckinghamshire
Henley Hearing Clinic is an independent hearing specialist centre based in Henley Bucks. We specialise in the very latest hearing aids that will transform your life. The new 2018 digital hearing aids are a joy to use, connecting with your Iphone or most Android smart phones that are on the market today. You can really hear the benefits of the latest hearing tech, so why not book in and have a hearing test today and discuss your needs.
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Swedish University Researchers Develop New Test for Balance Disorders
Many individuals over age 65 suffer from dizziness and problems with balance; however, tests to identify the causes of such problems are often painful and can risk hearing damage. Now, researchers from Chalmers University of Technology have developed a new testing device using bone conduction technology that is said to offer “significant advantages” over current tests, the Sweden-based university announced.
A Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials (VEMP) test uses loud sounds to evoke a muscle reflex contraction in the neck and eye muscles, triggered by the vestibular system—the system responsible for our balance. The Chalmers researchers have now used bone-conducted sounds to achieve what they say are better results.
“We have developed a new type of vibrating device that is placed behind the ear of the patient during the test,” said Bo Håkansson, a professor in the research group ‘Biomedical signals and systems’ at Chalmers.
The vibrating device is small and compact in size, and optimized to provide an adequate sound level for triggering the reflex at frequencies as low as 250 Hz. Previously, no vibrating device has been available that was directly adapted for this type of test of the balance system.
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In bone-conduction transmission, sound waves are transformed into vibrations through the skull, stimulating the cochlea within the ear, in the same way as sound waves go through the ear canal, the eardrum, and the middle ear. Håkansson has over 40 years of experience in this field and has previously developed hearing aids using this technology.
The cause of dizziness can be difficult to diagnose for several reasons. In 50% of cases, dizziness is due to problems in the vestibular system. But today’s VEMP methods have major shortcomings, and can cause hearing loss and discomfort for patients.
For example, the VEMP test uses very high sound levels, and may, in fact, cause permanent hearing damage itself, according to the university’s press release. And, if the patient already suffers from certain types of hearing loss, it may be impossible to draw any conclusions from the test. The Chalmers researchers’ new method offers significant advantages.
“Thanks to this bone conduction technology, the sound levels which patients are exposed to can be minimized,” said postdoctoral researcher Karl-Johan Fredén Jansson, who made all the measurements in the project. “The previous test was like a machine gun going off next to the ear—with this method it will be much more comfortable. The new vibrating device provides a maximum sound level of 75 decibels. The test can be performed at 40 decibels lower than today’s method using air-conducted sounds through headphones. This eliminates any risk that the test itself could cause hearing damage.”
The benefits also include safer testing for children as well as patients with impaired hearing function due to chronic ear infections or congenital malformations in the ear canal and middle ear.
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The vibrating device is compatible with standardized equipment for balance diagnostics in healthcare and the cost of the new technology is estimated to be lower than the corresponding equipment used today.
A pilot study has been conducted and recently published. The next step is to conduct a larger patient study in collaboration with Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, where 30 participants with normal hearing will also be included.
More about the research
The scientific article “VEMP using a new low-frequency bone conduction transducer” has recently been published by Dove Medical Press, in the journal Medical Devices: Evidence and Research.
Chalmers’ partners in the study are the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, and the Danish audio companies Ortofon andInteracoustics. Grants for this project are received from Vinnova (Swedish Innovations Agency) and Hörselskadades Riksförbund (Hearing Impairment Federation).
Original Paper: Håkansson B, Fredén Jansson K-J, Tengstrand T, et al. VEMP using a new low-frequency bone conduction transducer. Medical Devices: Evidence and Research. 2018;11:301-312.
Source: Chalmers University of Technology, Medical Devices: Evidence and Research
Image: Johan Bodell/Chalmers University of Technology
Eargo Max is designed with an all-new chip set and operating system as well as “Flexi Domes,” that are designed to help decrease feedback and increase gain while preserving speech clarity, according to Eargo.
Each hearing aid also comes with sound profile memory and voice indicators that are designed to make Eargo Max even easier to use than its predecessor.
“We asked our customers, ‘How can we make Eargo even better?’ With their help we developed Eargo Max, the best invisible hearing aid on the planet,” said Christian Gormsen, Eargo’s CEO. “We’re proud of our latest creation but not spending any time patting ourselves on the back. There’s too much to do and we’re just getting started.”
Eargo provides support to clients transitioning to their hearing aids with the help of a team of licensed personal hearing guides. The company is backed by a group of investors (including NEA, The Nan Fung Group, Maveron, and Charles and Helen Schwab) who continue to invest their time, money, and resources into helping Eargo fulfill its mission.
Eargo Max Pricing & Availability
Eargo Max is available for purchase online at eargo.com or by phone at 1-800-61-EARGO. The Eargo hearing system is regularly priced at $2,500 but currently available for a limited time at the introductory price of $2,250. Financing is available for as low as $104 a month. Each purchase of an Eargo hearing aid comes with a 45-day money back guarantee, one-year warranty, and ongoing support by Eargo’s licensed hearing professionals. Eargo Max is only available in the United States.