01491 577555

Hearing check Henley

Hearing check Henley

 

You may not think you have wax but know there is something going on with your ears! If this is the case contact the practice for an Ear Check appointment.

Following an initial discussion regarding your health and hearing, we begin by examining your ears using a fibre optic camera. The camera sits just at the entrance of the ear, and enables both you and the audiologist to view your ear canal and ear drum on a large screen. If wax is present, this will removed.

Hearing check Henley

If there is no wax or debris present in the canal, there may be other tell-tale signs of what the problem is. We will perform a Tympanogram, which measures whether the mechanical function of the ear drum and middle ear cavity are working normally. This also highlights if you are suffering from any form of Eustachian tube dysfunction which is common. These results usually dictate the best next step.

If you have any referable symptoms or require antibiotic treatment, we will write to your GP with the outcome of your appointment.

Henley hearing clinic for all hearing issues such as ear wax removal, hearing aids and Hearing tests

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Benefits of hearing aids

Benefits of hearing aids

The Henley Hearing Clinic is a premier independent hearing company based in Henley on Thames. Leon Cox, the lead audiologist is here to help you diagnose your hearing symptoms along with other hearing issues such as possible ear wax blocking the ear canal. Ear wax can be easily dealt with by Micro-suction that gently hoovers out the ear wax cleanly and quickly.

henley, hearing, ear wax removal, Bucks,

New Digital hearing aids available at the Henley hearing clinic

If you need hearing aids

Hearing aids won’t make your hearing perfect, but they make sounds louder and clearer, reducing the impact hearing loss has on your life.

Hearing aids can:

  • help you hear everyday sounds such as the doorbell and phone
  • improve your ability to hear speech
  • make you feel more confident when talking to people and make it easier for you to follow conversations in different environments
  • help you to enjoy listening to music and the TV, at a volume that’s comfortable for those around you

But hearing aids only help if you still have some hearing left, so don’t put off getting help if your hearing is getting worse.

To book your appointment at the Henley Hearing Clinic  please call reception and speak with our receptionist. 

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Depression and hearing link

Depression and hearing link

 

Depression and hearing link found by researchers.

New report into depression and hearing has been published. We at the Henley Hearing Clinic are well aware of this link and can help with making your hearing a little better.

Bucks hearing and Ear wax removal centre

 

Bucks hearing and Ear wax removal centre is at the Henley Hearing Clinic the independent hearing and ear wax specialist covering Henley, Amersham and Twyford.  If you are having issues with hearing in general we can conduct a hearing test at one of our centres either in Chalfont or Henley. The comprehensive hearing test will take around an hour of your time, but the results will be know there and then putting you in control of your hearing. We can then discuss what hearing instrument (hearing aid) you may need if required.  There could be other issues at play if you are not hearing as well as you think you should be. We can before the test look to see if you have any ear wax present. Ear wax isn’t usually an issue, we all need a little for good ear health. However in some cases excessive ear wax build up can become an issue and if you have excessive ear wax we will clear this before any test is conducted.

Ear wax removal Henley Bucks

 

Ear wax removal is very easy and painless. We use the Microsuction ear wax removal method as this really is the gold standard of ear wax removal. We also can use the older method of ear wax removal called irrigation or some may know this as ear syringing. This method uses warm water to gently irrigate the ear to help release the ear wax out from the ear.

 

So if you are having some hearing issues and would like afamily run professional ear wax removal service then book an appointment. We can discuss at the appointment any of the issues at length. After all we are all ears!

 

Ear wax removal Bucks

 

Henley Hearing Clinic News:

Bringing world wide news on hearing to our local area.

 

Study Shows Older Adults with Hearing Loss at Higher Risk for Depression

 

Hearing loss is linked to depression

Chalfont hearing centre

The results of a study investigating the connection between hearing loss and depression found that older adults with some form of hearing loss were 47% more likely to also have depression symptoms, according to an article in Reuters

Henley Hearing centre, Bucks

Originally published in The Gerontologist, the research reviewlooked at 35 previous studies encompassing 147, 148 participants, who were at least 60 years old.

“We know that older adults with hearing loss often withdraw from social occasions, like family events because they have trouble understanding others in noisy situations, which can lead to emotional and social loneliness,” lead study author Blake Lawrence of the Ear Science Institute Australia, in Subiaco, and the University of Western Australia in Crawley, was quoted as saying in Reuters. 

Additionally, the article goes on to add that the brain may work harder to interpret sound from a weaker auditory signal, draining resources needed to maintain working memory or other cognitive functions. A weaker signal may also cause the “reorganization” of neural pathways, potentially changing the way depression is regulated in the brain.

Ear syringing Bucks

In a new white paper produced by The Hearing Review and sponsored by Hamilton CapTel, “Depression, Hearing Loss, and Treatment with Hearing Aids,” audiologist and educator Victor Bray, PhD, reviews previous landmark studies as well as more recent research into the complex relationship between hearing loss and depression. The paper helps identify patient populations who might benefit most from hearing devices. Additionally, Dr Bray’s webinar “Depression, Hearing Loss, and Treatment with Hearing Aids,” discusses the risk factors for depression among people with hearing loss as well as why hearing care providers should screen for depression when risk factors are present.

Original Paper: Lawrence BJ, Jayakody DMP, Bennett RJ, Eikelboom RH, Gasson N, Friedland PL. Hearing loss and depression in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysisThe Gerontologist. 2019:1-19. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnz009

Source: Reuters, The Hearing Review, The Gerontologist

 

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Hearing aids for Buckinghamshire

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 hearing aid technology also improves accessibility to hearing care by empowering consumers to benefit from a suite of smart apps that instantly connect hearing aid wearers with their hearing care professional via their smartphone.

Phonak Marvel available at the Henley Hearing Clinic Bucks

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.

Ear wax removal 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.

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

Images: Phonak

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Starkey hearing aids, Henley hearing Clinic

Starkey hearing aids, Henley hearing Clinic

 

We sell and dispense all types of hearing aids at the Henley Hearing Clinic. One of the big guns is Starkey. Recently they announced a new innovation for their Live Ai hearing aids. It now comes with fall detection, meaning it will detect if you have a fall and if you are paired with your phone it will message up to 3 contacts  that you have specified before hand.

Read the full press statement bellow for more info, or if you are interested in knowing more please pop in or make an appointment so we can walk you through the new hearing aid and it’s features.

 

Henley Hearing Clinic News:

Starkey Releases World’s First Hearing Aid with Fall Detection and Alerts to Livio AI Users

balance problems increase risk for fallsStarkey Hearing Technologies, Eden Prairie, Minn, has released its new Fall Detection and Alert feature in Livio AI hearing aids to a limited number of hearing professionals, and plans to offer the feature to all dispensing professionals and their clients in late February, according to CTO Achin Bhowmik, PhD, in an interview with Hearing Review on Tuesday, December 18. Using integrated sensors, the Fall Detection and Alert feature is designed to automatically detect falls and send messages to as many as three contacts.

Fall detection sensors are currently implemented in all Livio AI devices as part of its standard hardware platform, and Starkey has been working on the Fall Alert feature to maximize its utility for end users prior to the system’s widespread implementation.

Falls are a massive public health problem, particularly for older adults. It’s estimated that injuries due to falls will account for $67.7 billion in public health spending by 2020, and according to the National Council on the Aging (NCOA) falls are currently responsible for an older adult being admitted to a US emergency room every 11 seconds. Additionally, people with hearing loss are particularly susceptible to falls. A Johns Hopkins study suggests that having hearing loss triples the risk of falls for people age 40 and older—and the findings hold up regardless of whether their hearing loss is moderate or severe.

StarkeyFallsInfoGraphic

How Starkey Fall Detection and Alerts work. Starkey’s new Fall Detection system is said to have several benefits over existing stand-alone medical alert systems, which are typically attached to a lanyard around the neck. “The first key advantage is that a hearing aid is almost always in your ear during your active hours, making for one less thing to carry or remember. One of the major problems with medical alert systems is getting people to wear them,” says Bhowmik. “Second, we have two fall detection sensors [in binaural fittings] for the right side and the left side, whereas most fall detection systems have only one. And the way the two sensors are spaced apart and the way in which you hold your head, we can get better and more accurate results than neck-worn sensors designed to detect falls.”

Starkey CTO Achin Bhowmik spoke about the possibility of fall detection and other sensor-based capabilities at the 2018 Starkey Expo held in January.

Starkey CTO Achin Bhowmik spoke about the possibility of fall detection and other sensor-based capabilities at the 2018 Starkey Expo held in January.

According to Bhowmik, part of Starkey’s recent research has revolved around what constitutes an actual fall as opposed false-positives such as quick downward movements or even accidentally dropping the hearing aid. “If you take the hearing aid off your ear and drop it on the ground, you will not get a false-positive for falling with Livio AI,” says Bhowmik. “We have been working on [eliminating false-positives] for over a year. A good AI system is only as good as the data you train the system with. In this particular case, if the left hearing aid detects a fall, it immediately checks with the right hearing aid to see if the data matches what would indicate a fall for the system. Unless it detects a fall from the hearing aids in tandem for both the right and left sides of the head, the device will eliminate those non-fall events and false-positives.”

Starkey Livio AI hearing aid

Starkey Livio AI hearing aid.

The hearing care professional will be able to activate Fall Detection and Alerts through an easy-to-use interface within the fitting software for Starkey’s Livio AI hearing aids. The user can then enter the Auto Alert contacts—up to three people who are to be alerted in the event of a fall within the Thrive Hearing App. When a fall is detected by the system, an audio prompt asks the user if they have fallen. He or she then has 60 seconds to provide an Event Cancellation and stop the outgoing Fall Alert messages from being sent to their designated contacts. If the hearing aid user has fallen and elects to send the Fall Alert message to his/her contacts, they receive confirmation when each contact has been successfully reached.

The system also allows for a Manual Alert which can be activated by simply pressing the hearing aid button, sending an alert for a fall or non-fall related event. “Maybe you didn’t fall, but instead just felt dizzy or were otherwise forced to sit down on the floor,” explains Bhowmik. “Obviously, this is not a fall. But you can still use the Manual Alert to get help when you need it. By tapping a button, you can send an automatic alert to your contacts, telling them you need assistance.”

This is just another step in the direction of making the hearing aid a multi-purpose, multi-functional device, according to Starkey.

To learn more about Starkey’s Livio AI you can visit: https://www.starkey.com/hearing-aids/technologies/livio-artificial-intelligence-hearing-aids

 

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Ear wax removal Henley

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.

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Hearing centres in Bucks

Hearing centres in Bucks

 

Hearing centres in Bucks including the Henley hearing clinic that cover Maidenhead to the East and High Wycome to the North. If you are looking for a family owned and totally independent hearing centre then look no further than the Henley hearing clinic.

Leon Cox is a highly regarded audiologist and is the lead at Henley. Also owns and run the Chalfont hearing centre at Little Chalfont, Bucks.  Reception and will gladly make you feel welcome and make sure that your are up to date with appointments and info.  If you are in need of hearing aid adjustments or ear wax removal, all can be done from the Chalfont hearing centre.

 

Henley Hearing News:

BIHIMA Releases Q3 Results on UK Hearing Aid Sales

Published on 

BIHIMA_LOGO_RGB_150dpi

The British and Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (BIHIMA) announced its release of the Q3 results of its members, providing a picture of current trends and developments within the UK and Irish hearing care markets.

According to BIHIMA’s announcement, the “most significant” development is the continued growth in the number of units distributed through the private market in the UK: the number of unit sales increased by 2,756 units (3.5%) from the previous year and by 2,638 (3.3%) from Q2 2018. YTD (year-to-date) unit sales were also up 3.8% from 2017.

Meanwhile, the BIHIMA reports that the NHS side of the market slowed down in the same period: unit sales were flat compared to Q3 2017 and decreased by 7445 (2.2%) from Q2 2018.  YTD units were down 1.6% from 2017.

BIHIMA also tracks the trends in the types of technology being selected by patients in the private sector. In the private sector, the RITE/RIC (receiver-in-the-ear technology) continues to grow in popularity and now represents 69.4% of all sales, up 1.7% from Q3 2017.

“We are seeing solid growth in the private hearing care sector which is in line with expectations based on our aging population and also points to evolving public awareness of the hearing technology produced by our manufacturers which can have transformative results,” said the BIHIMA chairman, Paul Surridge.

In its role as the voice for the hearing technology industry, BIHIMA regularly monitors the market and releases the results of its members every quarter.

To keep up to date with the latest market information, download the results here: https://www.bihima.com/resources/statistics/.

Source: BIHIMA

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Best ear wax removal Bucks

Best ear wax removal Bucks

 

The Henley Hearing Clinic is an independent hearing company based at Henley-upon-Thames.  Family owned and run by Leon Cox, Henley Hearing Clinic offer the very latest in digital hearing aids, hearing accessories and ear wax removal using Micro-Suction.  With the sister site in Little Chalfont we cover the whole of Buckinghamshire. You are never far from the premier hearing  company of Buckinghamshire.

 

Henley Hearing news:

Starkey Releases World’s First Hearing Aid with Fall Detection and Alerts to Livio AI Users

Published on 

balance problems increase risk for fallsStarkey Hearing Technologies, Eden Prairie, Minn, has released its new Fall Detection and Alert feature in Livio AI hearing aids to a limited number of hearing professionals, and plans to offer the feature to all dispensing professionals and their clients in late February, according to CTO Achin Bhowmik, PhD, in an interview with Hearing Review on Tuesday, December 18. Using integrated sensors, the Fall Detection and Alert feature is designed to automatically detect falls and send messages to as many as three contacts.

Fall detection sensors are currently implemented in all Livio AI devices as part of its standard hardware platform, and Starkey has been working on the Fall Alert feature to maximize its utility for end users prior to the system’s widespread implementation.

Falls are a massive public health problem, particularly for older adults. It’s estimated that injuries due to falls will account for $67.7 billion in public health spending by 2020, and according to the National Council on the Aging (NCOA) falls are currently responsible for an older adult being admitted to a US emergency room every 11 seconds. Additionally, people with hearing loss are particularly susceptible to falls. A Johns Hopkins study suggests that having hearing loss triples the risk of falls for people age 40 and older—and the findings hold up regardless of whether their hearing loss is moderate or severe.

StarkeyFallsInfoGraphic

How Starkey Fall Detection and Alerts work. Starkey’s new Fall Detection system is said to have several benefits over existing stand-alone medical alert systems, which are typically attached to a lanyard around the neck. “The first key advantage is that a hearing aid is almost always in your ear during your active hours, making for one less thing to carry or remember. One of the major problems with medical alert systems is getting people to wear them,” says Bhowmik. “Second, we have two fall detection sensors [in binaural fittings] for the right side and the left side, whereas most fall detection systems have only one. And the way the two sensors are spaced apart and the way in which you hold your head, we can get better and more accurate results than neck-worn sensors designed to detect falls.”

Starkey CTO Achin Bhowmik spoke about the possibility of fall detection and other sensor-based capabilities at the 2018 Starkey Expo held in January.

Starkey CTO Achin Bhowmik spoke about the possibility of fall detection and other sensor-based capabilities at the 2018 Starkey Expo held in January.

If you are in Somerset

According to Bhowmik, part of Starkey’s recent research has revolved around what constitutes an actual fall as opposed false-positives such as quick downward movements or even accidentally dropping the hearing aid. “If you take the hearing aid off your ear and drop it on the ground, you will not get a false-positive for falling with Livio AI,” says Bhowmik. “We have been working on [eliminating false-positives] for over a year. A good AI system is only as good as the data you train the system with. In this particular case, if the left hearing aid detects a fall, it immediately checks with the right hearing aid to see if the data matches what would indicate a fall for the system. Unless it detects a fall from the hearing aids in tandem for both the right and left sides of the head, the device will eliminate those non-fall events and false-positives.”

Henley hearing Clinic

Starkey Livio AI hearing aid

Starkey Livio AI hearing aid.

The hearing care professional will be able to activate Fall Detection and Alerts through an easy-to-use interface within the fitting software for Starkey’s Livio AI hearing aids. The user can then enter the Auto Alert contacts—up to three people who are to be alerted in the event of a fall within the Thrive Hearing App. When a fall is detected by the system, an audio prompt asks the user if they have fallen. He or she then has 60 seconds to provide an Event Cancellation and stop the outgoing Fall Alert messages from being sent to their designated contacts. If the hearing aid user has fallen and elects to send the Fall Alert message to his/her contacts, they receive confirmation when each contact has been successfully reached.

Bucks hearing aids

The system also allows for a Manual Alert which can be activated by simply pressing the hearing aid button, sending an alert for a fall or non-fall related event. “Maybe you didn’t fall, but instead just felt dizzy or were otherwise forced to sit down on the floor,” explains Bhowmik. “Obviously, this is not a fall. But you can still use the Manual Alert to get help when you need it. By tapping a button, you can send an automatic alert to your contacts, telling them you need assistance.”

This is just another step in the direction of making the hearing aid a multi-purpose, multi-functional device, according to Starkey.

To learn more about Starkey’s Livio AI you can visit: https://www.starkey.com/hearing-aids/technologies/livio-artificial-intelligence-hearing-aids

 

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Best place to buy your hearing aids in Bucks

Best place to buy your hearing aids, Bucks

Henley hearing Clinic is based at Henley-on-Thames and run by Leon Cox.  Offering a full hearing service including hearing tests, ear wax removal (using Micros-Suction) and the fitting of the latest digital hearing aids for the Bucks area including Amersham and Beaconsfield.  The Henley Hearing Clinic can sometimes fit in early appointments through cancellations, so always ask to see if there are any early appointments needed for Ear Wax removal.  Please mention this when you book an ear wax removal appointment.

 

Henley Hearing Clinic, News:

Widex Announces TV PLAY and RedDot Award Honor

Original story by the Hearing review

Widex TV PLAY.

Widex A/S, Lynge, Denmark, the privately-owned Danish hearing aid company, has announced the launch of WIDEX TV PLAY, a high-end TV accessory and streaming solution for WIDEX EVOKE hearing aids. The sleek and versatile TV PLAY received the Red Dot Design Concept Award last Friday, September 28, for its pleasing design.

Bucks hearing aids

WidexWidex has also been honored as a leader in innovation in the RedDot Design Ranking for Design Concepts. The company placed number 4 out of 15 companies in the Americas and Europe region in recognition of its pursuit of design excellence over the past 5 years, reports the company.

Shipments of TV PLAY will start in November.

A valuable accessory for hearing aid users. A 2017 Nielsen survey1 reported that the US 65+ population consumes a daily average of 6 hours and 57 minutes of TV. Despite the growing number of mobile and web-based streaming services, watching TV is more popular than ever. But for some, it’s a struggle to hear the TV. Hearing aid users can find it hard to hear the TV over the other sounds in the room. In fact, some studies suggest that 78% of hearing aid users have trouble understanding things on the TV.

Hearing aids Henley

Designed for ease of use. According to Widex, TV PLAY lets hearing aid users enjoy great TV sound effortlessly through their hearing aids by providing direct streaming to both ears. TV PLAY is designed for fast and easy to set up, intuitive to control, and delivers outstanding and stable sound.

TV PLAY drops the “boxy” look of many TV streamers and instead has a futuristic design that blends in with modern homes. And if you prefer to have TV PLAY out of sight, the slim and discrete design fits behind flat screen TVs with no trouble, according to the company.

Ear wax removal In Henley

“At Widex we work to ensure that hearing aid users get the most of all aspects of life,” said Widex President and CEO Jørgen Jensen in a press statement. “We know that TV is an important part of staying in touch with the world around them through news and entertainment programs. TV PLAY gives them a better and more stable experience that also looks great in their living rooms.”

Maximum streaming stability. With Widex’s patent-pending dual-antenna technology, TV PLAY is said to offer maximum streaming stability. An easy-to-use app lets users balance the volume of the TV sound with ambient sounds and conversations—or choose just to hear the sound from the TV.

1. Nielsen. Total Audience Report Q2 2017. November 16, 2017. Available at: https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/reports/2017/the-nielsen-total-audience-q2-2017.html

Source: Widex A/S

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Henley hearing aids

Beaconsfield hearing aids

 

The Henley Hearing Clinic covers the whole of Buck including Beaconsfield and Amersham, Watford, Harpsden, Twyford.  Suppliers of high end digital hearing aids including hearing accessories, hearing aid batteries and ear wax removal. Leon Cox the lead audiologist at The Henley Hearing Clinic is a highly experienced expert on hearing and hearing tests. Please book an appointment if you need Micro-suction ear wax removal.

Henley Hearing Clinc News:

 

Original story by:The Hearing Review 

 

 

Researchers Identify Gene Associated with Age-related Hearing Loss

Mouse study reveals contributor to hearing loss

An international group of researchers, led by Ronna Hertzano, MD, PhD, associate professor, Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), and Michael Bowl, PhD, program leader track scientist, Mammalian Genetics Unit, MRC Harwell Institute, UK, have identified the gene that acts as a key regulator for special cells needed in hearing.

Ronna Hertzano, MD, PhD

Ronna Hertzano, MD, PhD

The discovery of this gene (Ikzf2) will help researchers better understand this unique type of cell that is needed for hearing and potentially develop treatments for common age-related hearing loss, UMSOM announced.

Bucks hearing aids

“Outer hair cells are the first inner ear cells lost as we age,” said Hertzano, whose research will be published in the journal Nature. “Age-related hearing loss happens to everyone. Even a 30-year-old has lost some of the outer hair cells that sense higher pitch sounds. Simple exposure to sound, especially loud ones, eventually causes damage to these cells.”

The inner ear has two kinds of sensory hair cells required for hearing. The inner hair cells convert sounds to neural signals that travel to the brain. This compares to outer hair cells, which function by amplifying and tuning sounds. Without outer hair cells, sound is severely muted and inner hair cells don’t signal the brain. Loss of outer hair cells is said to be the major cause of age-related loss of hearing.

About the Research

Hertzano’s group, in collaboration with Ran Elkon, PhD, senior lecturer, Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, Sackler Faculty of Medicine in Tel Aviv, Israel, took a bioinformatics and functional genomics approach to discover a gene critical for the regulation of genes involved in outer hair cell development. Bowl’s group studied mice from the Harwell Aging Screen to identify mice with hearing loss. Bowl identified mice with an early-onset hearing loss caused by an outer hair cell deficit. When the two groups realized that they were studying the same gene, they began to collaborate to discover its biological function and role in outer hair cell development. The gene is Ikzf2 gene, which encodes helios. Helios is a transcription factor, a protein that controls the expression of other genes. The mutation in the mice changes one amino acid in a critical part of the protein, which impaired the transcriptional regulatory activity of helios in the mice.

Micro-suction wax removal Bucks

To test if helios could drive the differentiation of outer hair cells, the researchers introduced a virus engineered to overexpress helios into the inner ear hair cells of newborn mice. As a result, some of the mature inner hair cells became more like outer hair cells. In particular, the inner hair cells with an excess of helios started making the protein prestin and exhibited electromotility, a property limited to outer hair cells. Thus, helios can drive inner hair cells to adopt critical outer hair cell characteristics.

Funding for the research was provided by Action on Hearing Loss UK, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) at the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Defense (DOD).

As Professor Steve Brown, PhD, director, MRC Harwell Institute, said, “The development of therapies for age-related hearing loss represents one of the big challenges facing medicine and biomedical science. Understanding the genetic programs that are responsible for the development and maturation of sound-transducing hair cells within the inner ear will be critical to exploring avenues for the regeneration of these cells that are lost in abundance during age-related hearing loss. The teams from the University of Maryland and the MRC Harwell Research Institute have given us the first insights into that program. They have identified a master regulator, Ikzf2/helios, that controls the program for maturation of outer hair cells. Now, we have a target that we can potentially use to induce the production of outer hair cells within damaged inner ears, and we are one step closer to offering treatments for this disabling condition.”

Original Paper: Chessum L, Matern MS, Kelly MC, et al. Helios is a key transcriptional regulator of outer hair cell maturation. Nature. November 21, 2018.

Source: University of Maryland School of Medicine, Nature

Image: University of Maryland School of Medicine

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