Oticon OPN wins Edison Award for innovation and product development

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The Oticon OPN series recently received an Edison Award for “innovation and excellence in product development”, furthering the OPN’s status as one of the best hearing aids available.

In recent years, hearing aids have become better at more closely adapting to their users. Using smart phones or other devices, a user can adjust various settings based on their preference. While these developments have been a positive, there is still some room for improvement.

With the OPN series, Oticon brings new adaptability to the aid market.

Instead of blocking out sounds, the OPNs all have “BrainHearing™ technology”, which uses an ultra-fast sound processor to quickly manage multiple noise sources, making things easier on the brain. Users will no longer have to struggle to hear at parties or restaurants and can now be attentive in conversations and switch focus easily.

Oticon has fitted the devices with a new wireless communication system that uses less battery power than previous systems while streaming. Users can also connect their OPNs with the Oticon ON app on any smartphone to adjust volume, switch programs and check battery level.

In addition to the Edison award, the OPN series won two CES Innovation awards in November, joining the list of hearing aid that are being recognized by the broader electronics industry.

If you are interested in learning more about the Oticon OPN hearing aids or would like to schedule an initial appointment, please contact Hearing Revolution at (877) 426-0687.

Researchers may have found a way to regrow auditory hair cells

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Researchers at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital may be close to discovering a way to reverse hearing loss.

In a study released on April 11, St. Jude announced that they had used genetic manipulation to regrow auditory hair cells in adult mice, giving hope that it might be possible to use the same treatment on humans one day.

Losing auditory hair cells is the leading cause of hearing loss in adults all over the world. You can lose these cells with prolonged exposure to loud noises, illness and due to several other factors. Currently, the hair cells don’t grow back once they are lost, leading to the need for hearing aids or cochlear implants.

To develop the new therapy, the researchers at St. Jude looked at fish and chicken, who can regenerate auditory hair cells. By manipulating the same genes in the mice that allow for regeneration in the other aforementioned species, researchers were able to grow new cells similar to the auditory hair cells.

While this breakthrough comes as some good news to hearing loss researchers, St. Jude, as well as other research institutions, are still looking to replicate other factors to help in the regeneration of auditory hair cells. There are still many other genes and proteins that researchers have recognized might help hearing loss, but not yet figured out how to make them work for the human body.

If you feel you are suffering from any hearing loss, don’t hesitate to call Hearing Revolution at (877) 426-0687 or visit hearingrevolution.com.

Noise pollution may lead to dementia

Noisy city

Research suggests that the noise pollution caused by living in close proximity to a busy city road can affect one’s hearing and could possibly lead to dementia. Now, before people go running for the suburbs or beyond, the study says “close proximity” is 50 meters, or 164 feet. So while the situation in one’s home or apartment may be dire, there are some simple steps to follow if you are concerned about the level of noise pollution around them.

One of the easiest ways to deal with noise pollution is soundproofing the space. The soundproofing process can be as easy as keeping an outside door closed or putting rugs or curtains in places where noise might be coming from. Putting furniture on shared walls is also a good way for those living in townhomes or apartments to reduce noise from their neighbors.

If soundproofing isn’t enough, other option include white noise machines, meditation to train your brain to block background noise out, or earplugs that can be worn both during the day and at night, depending on the level of noise pollution. If all else fails, one might just have to move to quieter neighborhood.

Moving is obviously the last option to consider, but as populations are moving closer to city centers, people might want to consider their hearing as a factor when choosing where to live.

If you feel you are suffering from any hearing loss, don’t hesitate to call Hearing Revolution at (877) 426-0687 or visit hearingrevolution.com.

Impressions from AudiologyNOW! 2017

Widex showcasing their Beyond range

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) annual conference in Indianapolis.  AAA is something most audiologists look forward to all year: an opportunity to see what new products the manufacturers and vendors are releasing, a place to get continuing education for the year, and a chance to reconnect with colleagues, friends, and old classmates from the industry.

The highlight of the convention was the Pure 13 BT from Signia, which is their new direct to iPhone instrument that is also able to be adjusted by hearing healthcare providers remotely.  The new myControl app from Signia allows wearers to conveniently stream phone calls, music, and TV directly into the hearing aids without an intermediary device.  The Pure 13 BT is currently available in the Receiver in the Canal style and takes directionally to the next level by making use of iPhone motion sensors.  These instruments react and adjust to changing listening situations when the wearer moves around. For example, when the wearer is walking in a noisy environment, the hearing aids focus on the speech of a conversation partner as well as unobtrusive ambient sounds for increased safety.

As far as impressive new products from other industry vendors, my interest was piqued at the Shoebox Audiometry booth.  Shoebox Audiometry is offering the first automated iPad audiometer to perform diagnostic testing.  With calibrated headphones, Shoebox conforms to current CSA standards, ANSI and OSHA requirements.

Getting used to hearing aids

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When a patient gets hearing aids for the first time, they get to experience the world in a way they may have never heard before. All the sounds and experiences they have never heard or have not heard in a long time come back into focus. For some this is a relief but for others, it can be overwhelming.

Most hearing care providers recommend two to four weeks before a patient comes in for adjustments. During this time, a patient may have trouble blocking out less important noises they may have not been able to hear before. This includes re-learning how to speak at a comfortable volume and getting used to the sounds their body makes, like swallowing.

The best way to get a patient used to their hearing aids is to have them wear their aids an hour at a time, several times a day. This will help their brain recognize the differences in their hearing and starts the work of blocking out background noise. It is also recommended that patients try out their aids in different environments and noise levels to start training their brain and getting their hearing “in balance”

While it does take some time to get used to their new aids, after a few short weeks the patient will be able to enjoy all the benefits better hearing aids has to offer. It also allows for a proper assessment of how the aids are working and where levels might need to be changed in follow up appointments with providers.

If you are interested in learning more or would like to schedule an initial appointment, please contact Hearing Revolution at (877) 426-0687.

Notch Therapy as a treatment for Tonal Tinnitus

Tonal Tinnitus can affect your daily life

Modern hearing aids offer those who suffer from tinnitus some relief, but Signia is using a new technology to help those suffering from tonal tinnitus.

Tonal Tinnitus is the most common form of tinnitus and, according to the American Tinnitus Association, is the perception of near-continuous sound (or overlapping sounds) with well-defined frequencies. Many times the level of ringing the patient hears will fluctuate, depending on different factors. While several different treatments are available for relief of tonal tinnitus, Notch Therapy has emerged as one of the best and most effective.

Instead of producing noises that help to mask tinnitus, Notch therapy finds the unique frequencies of a patient’s tinnitus and amplifies all frequencies but the ones affecting the patient. Multiple clinical studies have shown that this therapy is highly effective and helps patients faster than more traditional masking techniques.

Notch Therapy is currently only available in the Signia Primax product line. If you feel you have tinnitus or hearing loss and would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Hearing Revolution at (877) 426-0687.

Everyday noises can lead to hearing damage

Senior man giving woman piggyback ride through autumn woods

Everyone knows that loud noises can damage hearing. Fire Crackers, standing too close to the speakers at a concert, or being in a loud stadium can quickly and permanently cause damage to your ears. But what about the quieter sounds that people are exposed to every day?

Many everyday sounds register between 85-100 decibels. Whether it’s an air conditioner that is close to you at the office or those ear buds playing music all day, prolonged exposure to these sounds can lead to hearing damage. Even something as simple as a balloon popping at a birthday party can be the reason behind a patient’s hearing loss.

For those worried about how their everyday activities might affect their hearing, there are some easy ways to stay safe. The simplest way is to always pay attention to volume of sound around you. It is recommended that everyone turns down music and other audio below 85 dB. If the noise does get above this level in a bar or restaurant, don’t stay around long enough for your hearing to get damaged. Also, when you’re in doubt about the noise level or the length of time you have to spend in a noisy environment, use hearing protection, such as ear plugs.

If you feel you may have damaged your hearing, don’t hesitate to contact Hearing Revolution at (877) 426-0687 to schedule an initial appointment.

Signia unveils Pure 13 BT Primax, a hearing aid made specifically for iPhone

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Today, Signia announced the latest addition to their hearing aid line up, the Pure 13 BT Primax, scheduled for release in May.

The new instrument offers some of Signia’s most innovative technology and will be the only hearing aid in Signia’s line-up that combines binaural audio exchange and direct streaming thanks to the e2e™ wireless 3.0 and Bluetooth wireless technology. The Pure 13 BT also offers better adaptability when the user is moving by connecting to an iPhone’s motion sensors via Bluetooth.

The Pure 13 BT runs on an updated primax star platform, which is compatible with TeleCare 2.0. This system lets hearing healthcare providers remotely modify hearing aid frequency. Provider can also access real-time data on the patient’s experiences in different settings through the myHearing App and make adjustments, saving both the provider and the patient multiple trips to the office.

The Pure will be available as a RIC model, offering advance technology in a discreet form factor. For more information on the Pure 13 BT and the revolutionary systems it use, check out the Signia website.

If you are interested in purchasing a hearing aid process, contact Hearing Revolution at (877) 426-0687.

 

 

Starkey wins an Interactive Innovation Award at SXSW

Senior couple on cycle ride in countryside

Congratulations to our friends over at Starkey, whose Halo 2 hearing aid won an Interactive Innovation Award for Wearable Tech at the South by Southwest Conference and Festival in Austin last week.

Launched in March of 2016, the Halo 2 continued the innovative line of “Made for iPhone” hearing aids; upgrading the both the compressor technology and installing a new operating system. This new hardware made it so the aid could process multiple sound sources at the same time, allowing for a more crisp and natural sound. It also added Starkey’s tinnitus technology for customized tinnitus relief.

Starkey released the TruLink app with the Halo 2 launch. TruLink connects with the aid through any Apple (or select Android) device, giving users an easy-to-use control app for their aids. The app gives users an easy way to adjust their levels as necessary and allows for customized geotagged locations that will automatically adjust levels at some of their most frequently visited environments.

The Wearable Tech awards was given “for the new hardware that revolutionizes the convenience, comfort, functionality, efficiency, and fashion of having a device literally ‘on you.’”. The Halo 2 was nominated for the award with four other finalists in the category, including companies like Samsung, Intel and Oakley.

To find out more on the Halo 2 products or to schedule an initial appointment, please call (877) 426-0687 or visit hearingrevolution.com

The Benefits of the Involvement of a Hearing Healthcare Provider in the Hearing Aid Purchase

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Browsing the internet can lead you to several “too good to be true” deals on hearing aids. Many of the places offering such deals simply ask you to send in an audiogram and they will send you your instruments of choice. It all seems so easy and convenient; how could anyone say “no”?

But what happens when you suddenly have a problem with your hearing aids or need an adjustment to better hear others in a non-doctor’s office scenario? This is why we believe that having a clinical component to the purchase process is so important. Our in-house audiologist Kristin Pena shared her thoughts on why having a hearing health care provider involved throughout your dealings with Hearing Revolution is so important to your overall hearing aid experience.

“I’ve long been a believer that a successful hearing aid fitting requires three things: a willing patient who is ready to acknowledge and treat his/her hearing loss, the appropriate hearing aid for the patient’s lifestyle and hearing loss, and a skilled hearing healthcare professional who effectively communicates with the patient, understands his or her challenges, and works with the patient to overcome them.

Learning to use hearing aids can be a daunting task for many first-time wearers.  From learning which direction the battery is seated to practicing putting the hearing aids in ears and taking them out again, the process can be stressful before the hearing aids are even on and in the ears.  It is quite helpful to have a clinician to assist in these processes; someone to make things go more smoothly, taking the time to practice battery insertion and removal with the patient, taking the time to practice hearing aid insertion/removal with the patient, etc. 

More importantly than learning how to insert/remove the instruments (which can be a difficult motor skill task for some of the senior population), it is important to have a clinical component when it comes to adjusting the hearing aids.  Being able to go into the office and say “Hey, I’m having a really hard time hearing when I get somewhere noisy, like in a restaurant” or saying “when my grandkids are in the back seat of the car and I’m driving, I can’t hear what they’re saying at all” and so on will help the provider to adjust the instrument settings for the patient.  The average new user comes in for 4-to-5 follow up visits after getting new hearing aids.  These visits are to tweak the settings in the instrument so that they are specially tuned to the patient’s liking and lifestyle. 

The bottom line is, When you purchase a hearing aid without a clinical component, you usually have to send the hearing aid away to be adjusted for issues similar to the ones above.  Doing this via USPS mail means that you are without your hearing aids for 10 days-2 weeks at a time, and since the person adjusting your aids doesn’t have you in front of them telling them how the instruments sound to you, so how it sounds is how it sounds and you have to keep sending it back for more adjustments.  Every time you send it back, you are without your hearing aid for 1-2 weeks.” 

To learn more about the clinical component of our programs or to schedule an appointment, please contact us at (877) 426-0687.