Hearing tests and hearing aids in Bucks
The Henley hearing clinic is the premier hearing clinic in Henley Buckinghamshire. Leon Cox the lead audiologist is fully qualified to conduct hearing tests, dispense hearing aids and remove ear wax using Micro-Suction. If you are suffering with Tinnitus Leon can discuss Tinnitus therapy to reduce the Tinnitus. Please ask reception or ask Leon at your next appointment. Tinnitus can be managed.
Hearing tests are always available at the Henley hearing Clinic, please call for an appointment.
Henley hearing clinic news:
GN ReSound Showcases New Partnership with Google and LiNX Quattro at EUHA 2018
With today’s start of the European Union of Hearing Aid Acousticians(EUHA) Congress in Hannover, Germany, GN ReSound has announced a new partnership with Google that will provide a full spectrum of direct streaming to hearing aids from Android devices, and the company is showcasing what the company is calling a “premium-plus” hearing aid, ReSound LiNX Quattro,™ which was previously launched in August.
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According to ReSound, the LiNX Quattro offers “a brilliant sound experience with unprecedented Layers of Sound.” In a direct comparison, where hearing aid users were asked to listen to music and rate the sound, the company states that 95% of respondents preferred ReSound LiNX Quattro compared to other premium hearing aids.
A new high-performing chip platform drives the extensive sound quality improvements, providing 100% faster processing, twice the memory capacity, and 35% increase in frequency bandwidth compared to ReSound LiNX 3D™. With a bandwidth of up to 9.5 kHz, a greater range of high-frequency sounds is accessible to people with hearing loss. An input dynamic range of 116 dB SPL—reportedly the highest in the industry—is designed to ensure that softer sounds are clearer and louder sounds are distortion free.
Hearing test Henley, Bucks
GN Hearing’s recently-announced partnership with Google allows it to offer a full spectrum of direct streaming from Android devices to hearing aids. It continues GN Hearing’s record of industry breakthroughs, including 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity, Binaural Directionality, direct full streaming compatibility with Apple devices, and cloud based remote fine-tuning.
Henley hearing aids
“With the launch of ReSound LiNX Quattro, as well as other major technology launches and partnerships, GN Hearing is continuing to shape the future of hearing care,” said GN Hearing CEO and President Anders Hedegaard. “We want to help people hear more, do more, and be more than they ever thought possible. We are striving to support people living with hearing loss and hearing care professionals alike access the latest technology and support the provision of high-quality care.”
Tinnitus therapy, Henley, Bucks
GN Hearing has also recently launched Beltone Amaze™, which GN characterizes as the world’s most complete hearing solution that combines great sound quality, connectivity, rechargeability and remote fine-tuning. The company also recently introduced Interton Ready™, which is designed to offer great sound, ease-of-use, and connectivity at an affordable price.
Source: GN ReSound
Cheapest hearing aids Henley?
The latest hearing aids in Henley
We may not be the cheapest hearing aids in Buckinghamshire, but we are very competitive and an independent small family owned company. Your ears deserve the best, we are the best in the Henley and Bucks area (according to our receptionist).
Unlike the larger high street companies, when you visit us you will be seen by the same person each time! This make a huge difference for your treatment and dispensing. Consistency is key when it comes to ear health. We don’t have the buying power of the major companies but we are pretty close. We offer what the majors don’t. We offer one to one ongoing treatment and advice with the same person who you will get to know and we will get to know you. For most of our clients we are almost family as we know each other so well.
If you feel like you need advice before you buy a new hearing aid or a set of hearing aids we are happy to trial these so you are 100% happy before you purchase. Please ask our receptionist or Leon Cox our lead audiologist for more info.
We are committed to make sure you are happy and content with your hearing aids, so always here to make sure you get the best from them and us. We will always try and fit you in as soon as possible if you are in need to see us urgently.
Ear wax removal Henley, Bucks
We also conduct ear wax removal using Micro-suction, and the traditional water irrigation technique, along with hearing test, hearing batteries and hearing aid repairs.
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?
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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.
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
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.
Best Bucks ear wax removal (Henley)
If you are looking to get your ears back into shape you could do no better than visit the Henley Hearing Clinic, Bucks. Hearing aid batteries and ear wax removal are just a small list of what is on offer at the premier hearing clinic in Buckinghamshire.
Henley Hearing Clinic News:
Starkey Launches Livio AI Hearing Aid with Integrated Sensors and Artificial Intelligence
Starkey® Hearing Technologies is said to have “reinvented both the hearing experience and the hearing aid” with Livio AI. Livio AI is reportedly “the world’s first” Healthable™ hearing aid to utilize integrated sensors and artificial intelligence and the first device to track physical activity and cognitive health as measured by hearing aid use in social situations, Starkey announced.
The launch also includes a brand-new mobile app—Thrive™ Hearing—and three new wireless accessories, the Starkey Hearing Technologies TV, the Remote, and the Remote Microphone +. With the Remote Micorophone+, Livio AI is also the first hearing aid to feature Amazon® Alexa connectivity.
“First and foremost, Livio AI is the best performing and best sounding hearing aid we have ever made,” said Starkey Hearing Technologies President Brandon Sawalich. “What makes today a pivotal moment in the hearing industry, is that with Livio AI, we have transformed a single-use device into the world’s first multi-purpose hearing aid, a Healthable with integrated sensors and artificial intelligence. Livio AI is so much more than just a hearing aid, it is a gateway to better health and wellness.”
According to Starkey, the new Hearing Reality™ technology is said to provide an average 50% reduction in noisy environments, significant reduced listening effort, and newly enhanced clarity of speech, while the use of artificial intelligence and integrated sensors enables it to help optimize the hearing experience.
Artificial intelligence and advancements in hearing technology enabled Livio AI to provide the following unique features and benefits, according to Starkey’s announcement:
- Understand and see the real-time health benefits of using hearing aids – NEW
- Overall health and wellness tracking through the app’s combined brain and body health score (Thrive Wellness Score) – NEW
- Integration of the physical activity data measured by inertial sensors of the hearing aids with Apple Health and Google Fit apps – NEW
- Personalized Control for customizable adjustments to sound and programs
- Remote programming by users’ hearing professionals to put hearing healthcare in the hands of the users – NEW
- Natural user interface with tap control – NEW
- Unprecedented, natural listening, and speech clarity in the noisiest environments with the new Hearing Reality technology – NEW
- Integrated language translation – NEW
- Dual-radio wireless platform: 2.4GHz radio for streaming of phone calls, music, media, apps, and connecting with various devices including TVs and Amazon Alexa; near-field magnetic induction technology for true ear-to-ear communication and binaural noise reduction
- Fall detection with inertial sensors integrated within the hearing aids (App support coming soon) – NEW
Designed to help users live their healthiest life, Livio AI is available as a RIC 312 and BTE 13 in a variety of colors. In addition to the above features, Livio AI also includes Starkey’s feedback cancellation, high-definition music prescription, Multiflex Tinnitus Technology, and Surface™ NanoShield pioneering water, wax, and moisture repellant system to help protect and ensure durability and dependability.
How integrated sensors and AI helped Starkey transform the hearing aid
“Artificial intelligence, coupled with advanced sensing devices, is rapidly changing the world around us,” Starkey Hearing Technologies Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of Engineering Dr Achin Bhowmik said. “We are proud to introduce these transformational technologies into the world of hearing aids to both optimize the users’ hearing experiences and enable them to continuously monitor and improve their overall health besides treating hearing loss, reducing the associated risks of dementia, anxiety, and social isolation.”
The integrated 3D motion sensors inside Livio AI enable the hearing aids to detect movement, track activities, and recognize gestures. The hearing aids communicate with each other and compatible mobile accessories to deliver meaningful, real-time feedback about users’ overall body and cognitive health and fitness.
This technology may allow people to take a proactive and personal approach to treating hearing loss, which has been linked to various health issues including dementia, cognitive decline, anxiety, stress, social isolation, and an increased risk of falling.
Livio AI is reportedly the first device utilizing the ears to help users better understand not only how to improve their overall health and wellness, but also the deep connection between treating hearing loss and reducing health risks. This helps to improve key areas of wellbeing by reconnecting users to the people, places, and activities they love.
Livio AI is available in the United States and Canada at this time, with a global rollout to more than 20 countries in 2019. For more information about Livio AI hearing aids, the Thrive mobile app, and new Starkey Hearing Technologies accessories, please visit www.starkey.com
Stay tuned to Hearing Review for a follow-up article detailing Starkey’s launch of Livio AI.
Henley hearing clinic ear wax information: Click here to see our ear wax removal video
GN Hearing and Google Partner to Enable Direct Streaming from Android Devices to Hearing Aids
GN Hearing and Google have announced a new technology partnership that will reportedly make GN Hearing the first manufacturer to enable a full spectrum of direct audio streaming from Android devices to hearing aids. In a future Android release, direct streaming may also become available for ReSound LiNX Quattro™ and Beltone Amaze™ hearing aid users.
“According to the World Health Organization, around 466 million peopleworldwide have disabling hearing loss,” said Seang Chau, vice president of engineering at Google. “This number is expected to increase to 900 million people by the year 2050. Google is working with GN Hearing to create a new open specification for hearing aid streaming support on future versions of Android devices.”
According to the joint announcement, users will be able to connect and monitor their hearing aids without using an intermediate device for streaming from Android phones and tablets to their hearing aids.
“We are honored to partner with Google for this important development, which will enable direct streaming for even more hearing aid users through their Android devices,” said Anders Hedegaard, CEO, GN Hearing. “This is another example of how GN Hearing relentlessly strives to drive innovation forward by developing new products and solutions with unique benefits for hearing aid users and audiologists around the world.”
Google has published the new hearing aid specification for Android smartphones available here: Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA) on Bluetooth Low Energy Connection-Oriented Channels.
The Henley Hearing Clinic is the place where you will find the very latest in digital hearing tech. If you need hearing aids, streaming devices or ear wax removal we do it all. Hearing loss in no longer a condition that is not treatable.
Source: GN Hearing, Google
Best hearing test in Henley,Bucks
Henley hearing clinic: News
The very best hearing test in Henley is at the Henley hearing Clinic, Buckinghamshire. We have the very latest technology to make your hearing test the very best out there. No compromising! You hearing health is the most important thing we care about.
Phonak Wins Three Red Dot Product Design Awards
Phonak hearing aids are available at the Henley Hearing Clinic.
Phonak, a global provider of hearing aids and wireless communication solutions, has been honored with three international Red Dot Awards for excellence in product design, the company announced. The product award winners include: Virto B-Titanium, said to be “the world’s first” mainstream titanium custom hearing aid; Audéo B-Direct, a Bluetooth®* hearing aid that is designed to directly connect to both a cell phone** and TV; and EasyView Otoblock, a product for hearing care professionals that is designed to allow for deeper ear impressions. The winners were celebrated at the Red Dot Gala earlier this month in Essen, Germany.
“Three Red Dot Award winners in one year is proof of what happens when you combine Phonak’s dedication to superior product design with a neverending quest to push the limits of innovation,” said Thomas Lang, senior vice president at Phonak. “Receiving honors for the Virto B-Titanium and EasyView Otoblock is a tribute to the amount of research and development Phonak devotes to producing the most cosmetically appealing and highest quality custom products on the market. Meanwhile, the awards for the revolutionary Audéo B-Direct keep on adding up!”
According to Phonak, the Virto B-Titanium is “the world’s first mainstream” custom hearing aid made of premium medical-grade titanium. It was designed to combine the benefits of titanium including superior strength and an extra light weight with the latest in 3D printing technology.
With the Audéo B-Direct, hearing aid wearers can answer or reject a phone call and talk completely hands-free by pressing the push button on their hearing aid. Meanwhile, the optional TV Connector uses proprietary AirStream™ technology to help connect wearers to their favorite TV programming for an immersive audio experience.
The EasyView Otoblock is designed to give hearing care professionals the ability to take deeper ear impressions by allowing “full visualization” of the eardrum, according to the company. Made from the seal of a Phonak Lyric™, the EasyView Otoblock attaches to existing otoscopes and speculas and is designed to provide better vision and light during Otoblock placement. It’s compatible with standard impression-making materials and stays on the impression during the scanning process, according to the company’s announcement. This may result in an average of 6mm more canal length information.
“I want to congratulate the award winners sincerely on their wonderful success in the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2018,” said Professor Dr Peter Zec, founder and CEO of the Red Dot Award. “Success in the competition is proof of the good design quality of the products and once again shows that companies are on the right path. When I speak about good design, I am referring to more than just an attractive product. All of the products are characterized by outstanding functionality. This demonstrates that the designers have understood their clients and their needs.”
For an inside look into the people behind Phonak’s Red Dot Award-winning products, visit:
* Bluetooth is a registered trademark owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc; Android™ is a trademark owned by Google, Inc
** with Bluetooth® 4.2 wireless technology and most older Bluetooth phones.
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: http://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: http://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: http://www.hearingreview.com/2017/11/hearing-loss-associated-comorbidities-know/
Heading a Football May Be Linked to Increase in Balance Problems
Soccer players who head the ball more often may be more likely to have balance problems than players who do not head the ball as often, according to a preliminary study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s (AAN) Sports’ Concussion Conference in Indianapolis July 20 to 22, 2018, the AAN announced on its website.
“Soccer headers are repetitive subconcussive head impacts that may be associated with problems with thinking and memory skills and structural changes in the white matter of the brain,” said study author John Jeka, PhD, of the University of Delaware in Newark, Del. “But the effect of headers on balance control has not been studied.”
For the study, 20 soccer players recruited from the community in Newark took a balance test where they walked along a foam walkway with their eyes closed under two conditions: with galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) and without GVS. For GVS, electrodes placed behind each ear stimulate the nerves that send messages from the balance system in the inner ear to the brain. So the stimulator can make you feel like you are moving when you are not. In this case, it made participants feel like they were falling sideways.
The soccer players, who had an average age of 22, also completed questionnaires about how many times they had headed the ball during the past year. The number of headers over a year for each participant ranged from 16 to 2,100, with an average of 451 headers. Those numbers were calculated by asking participants for the average number of headers during a practice and game, the average number of practices and games per week, and the average number of months per year that the player participated.
The study found that the players with the largest number of headers had the largest balance responses to GVS in both foot placement and hip adduction during the walking test, which indicated that they had vestibular processing and balance recovery problems. Researchers found for every 500 headers, foot placement response increased about 9 millimeters and hip adduction response increased about 0.2 degrees.
“Soccer players must have good balance to play the game well, yet our research suggests that headers may be undermining balance, which is key to all movement, and yet another problem now linked to headers,” said study author Fernando V. Santos, PT, of the University of Delaware. “It is important that additional research be done to look more closely at this possible link with balance and to confirm our findings in larger groups of people.”
A limitation of the study was that participants relied on memory when reporting how many times they headed the ball. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Learn more about concussion at www.BrainandLife.org, the American Academy of Neurology’s free patient and caregiver magazine and website focused on the intersection of neurologic disease and brain health. Follow Brain & Life on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
To learn more about the AAN’s Sports Concussion Guideline and access resources, visit https://www.aan.com/concussion.
Original Paper: Santos FV, Caccese JB, Gongora M, et al. Greater exposure to repetitive subconcussive head impacts is associated with vestibular dysfunction and balance impairments during walking. Paper presented at: 2018 AAN Sports Concussion Conference; Indianapolis, IN. https://www.aan.com/PressRoom/Home/GetDigitalAsset/12757
Image: | Dreamstime.com
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