Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Understanding Hearing Loss

From KXAN.com:

Many people suffer from hearing loss. In fact, the latest available statistics show that over 10% of the U.S. population report difficulty hearing! That's over 31.5 million people! And as the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, that number promises to increase dramatically!

Are you are one of those millions of people who do not hear as well as they once did? If so, you are certainly not alone. Consider these statistics reported by Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Better Hearing Institute :
• 3 in 10 people over age 60 have hearing loss; 
• 1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 41-59), or 14.6%, have a hearing problem; 
• 1 in 14 Generation Xers (ages 29-40), or 7.4%, already have hearing loss; 
• At least 1.4 million children (18 or younger) have hearing problems; 
• It is estimated that 3 in 1,000 infants are born with serious to profound hearing loss.
In addition, studies have linked untreated hearing loss to emotional, physical, mental, psychological and even economic disadvantages! And, to make matters even worse, there are many "myths" about hearing loss that prevent those with hearing loss from doing anything about it.
Click here to view a video about the consequences of untreated hearing loss and the myths that surround it!
Causes of Hearing Loss
One of the most common "myths" about hearing loss is that only "old people" suffer from it! In fact, the reverse is true! The majority (65%) of people with hearing loss are younger than 65 and six million people in the U.S. between 18 and 44 suffer from hearing loss (Better Hearing Institute website).
The truth is that there are several causes of hearing loss with "exposure to noise" ranking high among the reasons. The primary causes of hearing loss are:
• Exposure to noise 
• Medicine 
• Aging process 
• Disease 
• Head trauma
Click here to find out more about the causes of hearing loss:
Types of Hearing Loss
Not all hearing loss is corrected through the use of hearing aids or alternative listening devices. Type of hearing loss determines the specific treatment required.
There are four types of hearing loss:
• Conductive: This could be caused by something as simple as earwax buildup! 
• Sensorineural: This is caused when tiny hairs in the cochlea are missing or damaged. 
• Mixed: This is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss 
• Central: Strokes and central nerve diseases are often the cause of this type of hearing loss. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hearing Clearly in Large Crowds

The NYT has an interesting article that discusses a hearing aid technology that has been around a while but is becoming more widespread: Telecoil.

As the article explains:

The basic technology, called an induction loop, has been around for decades as a means of relaying signals from a telephone to a tiny receiver called a telecoil, or t-coil, that can be attached to a hearing aid. As telecoils became standard parts of hearing aids in Britain and Scandinavia, they were also used to receive signals from loops connected to microphones in halls, stores, taxicabs and a host of other places.
People in the United States have been slower to adopt the technology because telecoils were traditionally sold as an optional accessory, at an extra cost of about $50, instead of being included automatically with a hearing aid. But today telecoils are built into two-thirds of the hearing aids on the market as well as in all cochlear implants, so there is a growing number of people able to benefit from loops.

The bottom line is the installation of these telecoils are truly good for business. Someone who has trouble hearing is more likely to visit a place where they can enjoy the performance. It's interesting to note, that they are even being installed in train station fare booths where hearing aids don't work very well due to the noise. As more businesses see the benefits perhaps more businesses such as museums and theaters will make this technology more readily available.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dementia: Hearing Aids Can Help

The Chicago Tribune reports that hearing aids may assist in helping dementia patients might help increase memory, reduce anxiety and increase social interaction among dementia patients, local health experts say. 

"Whether you have dementia or not, you need to hear," said Ronna Fisher, audiologist and founder and president of Hearing Health Center in Chicago and three suburbs. "It's not normal not to hear. Hearing is what makes us happy in our relationships. If you can't hear, you stop talking." 

 Improved sensory perception won't stop the progression of dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease, experts said, but increasing the ability to hear will help reduce a patient's loneliness and confusion. "Getting hearing aids does help them," said Diane Morgan, memory support coordinator. "When their hearing is down, they experience paranoia or anxiety because they can't hear what's being said to them."

 Fisher, whose father suffered hearing loss at an early age, said she began noticing in 2008 that when her dementia patients were fitted with hearing aids –– especially deep-insert hearing devices that remain in the ear for three months at a time –– they socialized more and their memories improved. In a study released this year, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine and the National Institute on Aging found that seniors suffering from hearing loss were more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing. 

Among other things, the research suggests that hearing loss could lead to social isolation, a risk factor for dementia. The research should offer hope to physicians treating dementia patients, said Dr. Marsel Mesulam, director of the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern's medical school. "Doctors and health care providers treating elderly patients should not throw up their hands treating dementia," Mesulam said. "

They can look at other factors that are treatable, like hearing loss or vision." Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a term used to describe the common symptoms of memory loss and declining cognitive abilities that interfere with daily life, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ind. — A garage sale to raise funds to buy children hearing aids is Friday, Saturday at Sunday at 3356 Cessna Drive.
People can donate items. The money raised will be used to buy hearing aids for 6-year-old Michael Sharp, of Columbus, who has severe hearing loss and speech problems. Any money left over will be given to the office of Dr. Jane Bowman, of Columbus, to help purchase hearing aids for 11 other children.Information: 581-0604 or 350-9135.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hearing Aids: More Important Than We Thought?

New studies from the Journal of Neuroscience are showing that hearing loss in older adults ;can lead to loss of brain volume. The MRI's results suggest that even moderate declines in peripheral auditory acuity lead to a systematic downregulation of neural activity during the processing of higher-level aspects of speech.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hearing Loss and Earthquakes

A very strange story is being reported concerning a 75 yr old with hearing loss. Robert Valderzak, from Virginia had been using a special speakerphone with a light on it that flashed when it was ringing and an audio device system to communicate. After experiencing an earthquake his hearing was somehow restored. Robert considered it an act of G-d.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hearing Better With Your Smart Phone

From WSJ:
A group of hearing health professionals, including ear, nose and throat doctors, audiologists and sound engineers, have teamed up to tackle the wide and underserved market of people who have some hearing loss, but not necessarily enough to require a hearing aid.
Kevin Leung, left, who has hearing loss, was surprised by the ACEHearing enhancement when he tried out the device earlier this year at Ximplar's office in Hong Kong.
"Although 38% of the world's population has some degree of hearing loss, only a very small percentage actually seek professional help," said Andrew Van Hasselt, who chairs the ear, nose and throat department at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Prof. Van Hasselt is one of the principal developers of ACEHearing, a "firmware"—software embedded in hardware. They say ACEHearing essentially turns everyday consumer electronics into hearing-enhancement devices. The innovation is a finalist in this year's Asian Innovation Awards.
The first application of the technology will be on smartphones, either as a downloadable app or firmware that will be installed in phones before purchase.
Users will be able to assess their own hearing in a quiet room by performing a hearing test that takes about five minutes. The device will capture and assess the individual's hearing profile, and then calibrate the smartphone to adjust and enhance its sound output by filling in gaps in the part of the sound spectrum where hearing is less than ideal. It doesn't just make everything louder.
Clinical trials have shown no significant difference between the ACEHearing test and a traditional test administered by an audiologist, according to Paul Lee, director at Ximplar Ltd., a Hong Kong-based software company that developed the ACEHearing technology.
"We've tested it in a quiet room, and those results are absolutely valid," Mr. Lee said. "We are going for accuracy first, but we want to make the test as short, simple and engaging as possible."
ACEHearing will be able to help a wide spectrum of people, from those with a small amount of hearing loss to people with severe hearing loss, according to Prof. Van Hasselt.
And although ACEHearing isn't meant to replace hearing aids, it could prove useful to those who already have them, as it eliminates the need to wear a hearing device while on the phone, thus eradicating annoying and sometimes painful telephone signal interference.
The team hopes to move beyond smartphones in the near future, and implant the ACEHearing firmware in headsets, earphones, MP3 players and even telephone servers and switchboards.
"People are using everyday consumer electronics all the time, so we're incorporating it into the devices that people already have," Mr. Lee explained.
Many people don't seek treatment for hearing loss, according to the ACEHearing team. They are put off by the long process of getting a professional hearing test, which requires a referral to a specialist and multiple doctor visits. There's also the cost of a hearing aid, which can run from $1,000 to $4,000 per ear.
"A lot of people feel they're not bad enough to go and seek help," Prof. Van Hasselt said. And as anyone with a hard-of-hearing parent or grandparent knows, once hearing aids are procured, it's often a hard sell to persuade loved ones to wear them.
The ACEHearing team believes that they have solved the problems of convenience and cost (which would be included in the price of a smartphone or comparable to an app on iTunes), as well as the stigma of wearing a hearing aid.
At noisy dinner parties or business meetings, ACEHearing says users can wear a Bluetooth, leave their phone on the table, and be able to hear everything that's being said loud and clear.
Professor Van Hasselt of Chinese University of Hong Kong developed the firmware with Ximplar Ltd., a Hong Kong-based software company. The technology will first be deployed on smartphones using a touch screen, above.
Although ACEHearing is a finished technology and has an app compatible with both Apple and Android operating systems, it isn't expected to be commercially available until early 2012.
Currently, the firmware is being shopped around as a licensing opportunity for smartphone and earphone manufacturers, said Guy Proulx, managing director at Transpacific IP Ltd., a management and consulting firm that has taken on the marketing of ACEHearing.
"We're trying to hook up with large manufacturers, and go after the biggest players in the marketplace," he said.
Mr. Proulx added that there were several parties interested, but he declined to give further details.
The team hopes that ACEHearing will eventually become pervasive on all devices that produce sound.
"I can't hear some high-frequency sounds, and I became increasingly frustrated on the phone with my wife and kids," Prof. Van Hasselt said. "I was convinced that if we could bring together all the hearing expertise we could, we could help millions of people, including myself, to have a better quality of life."
The team's combined years of research and clinical experience in sound and hearing fast-tracked ACEHearing's development, which has taken about 18 months.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Miley Cyrus: I'm Going, Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Singer and actress, Miley Cyrus, is heading back to Haiti for a very good cause, providing hearing aids at schools for the deaf.
To hear one of the former Hannah Montana's songs would have been impossible for some in Haiti who can't afford a hearing aid or the maintenance necessary to keep one running. Many will receive hearing aids through the starkey hearing foundation , a charity close to Cyrus' heart.
Haiti Mission
The cause is so close to her heart that on Miley's first trip to Haiti there were no press releases, not many photos, or any news of the trip until weeks after.
For this trip, Cyrus announced her intentions at the Starkey Hearing Fundraising Gala.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Second Hand Smoke Causes Hearing Loss

Who would have thought that second hand smoke could cause hearing loss? ABC reports that a study found connection in teens between second hand smoke and hearing loss:

The researchers noted that the link of secondhand smoke exposure with elevated thresholds ranging from 0.5 kHz to 8 kHz suggests "that the injury to the inner ear is global."
In addition, the unilateral hearing loss is probably an early phase of ocular damage that is likely to progress in severity, they cautioned.
The elevated thresholds at 2, 3, and 4 kHz were particularly important, according to Lalwani and colleagues.
"These mid-to-high frequencies are critical for hearing in humans and are responsible for the clarity of hearing that allows us to discriminate between similar sounding words," they observed.
Possible mechanisms by which secondhand smoke could result in auditory damage include effects on the vasculature of the inner ear and injury from nicotine or other components of the smoke.
Hearing loss in young children has been shown to interfere with not only speech and language development, but also cognitive function, academic progress, and social interaction.
But newborns and young children are routinely screened for hearing difficulties, while adolescents are not.
The findings of this study suggest that teens who are exposed to secondhand smoke should have their hearing tested, and parents and caretakers should be made aware of the auditory hazards of their smoking.
Limitations of the study include its use of cross-sectional data which doesn't allow assignment of causation, lack of information on duration and sources of secondhand smoke exposure -- including prenatal exposure -- and absence of data on other factors such as exposure to loud noises.
The researchers also were unable to rule out the possibility that some of the participants had conductive, rather than sensorineural, hearing loss.
They concluded, "Future studies need to investigate the adverse consequences of this early hearing loss on social development, academic performance, behavioral and cognitive function, and public health costs."

Friday, July 15, 2011

Diabetes Could Cause Hearing Loss?

WebMD reports that in an analysis of 13 studies people with Diabetes were twice as likely to have a hearing loss problem that those without. That in and of itself is not clear proof of cause and effect but would suggest that those with diabetes get tested regularly for hearing loss issues.

Blood Vessel Damage

It’s unknown why hearing loss is more common among people with diabetes, but most researchers believe that damage to the blood vessels is the main culprit, according to Pamela D. Parker, MD, of the A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Mesa, Ariz. She has studied the link between hearing loss and diabetes for years but was not involved with the new study.
Researchers believe that over time, the high blood sugar levels that characterize diabetes may damage the small blood vessels of the inner ear, making it harder to hear. Autopsy studies of diabetes patients have shown evidence of such damage.
Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes and about 34.5 million Americans have some type of hearing loss, according to the American Diabetes Association.
A 2008 study showed that 54% of people with diabetes had at least mild hearing loss in their ability to hear high-frequency tones, compared with 32% of those with no history of diabetes. And 21% of participants with diabetes had at least mild hearing loss in their ability to hear low-to-mid frequency tones, compared with 9% of those without diabetes.
The new study suggests that people with diabetes are 2.3 times more likely to have mild hearing loss, defined as having trouble hearing words spoken in a normal voice from more than 3 feet away.
These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hearing Testing is Tossing Out Veteran Police

The NYT is reporting on the NYC police department and it's policy on hiring: if you can't pass a hearing test you will not be hired as a police officer. The department has allowed officers to wear hearing aids and even pay for them at times but this is not the official policy. In 2009 they started  enforcing a ban on hearing aids effectively pushing out the older officers who then would tell others not to wear them to work.2 have already filed a complaint with the EEOC   stating that the policies are discriminatory.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Audiology Organizations Argue with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

(Washington, DC) – The Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) and the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) today joined forces to correct claims made recently by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) with regard to activities surrounding the legislative initiatives of these audiology organizations.
“For several months, ASHA has released contradictory and misleading information regarding its ‘comprehensive audiology Medicare benefit’ proposal and our organizations’ involvement in it,” said Patricia B. Kricos, Ph.D., President of the American Academy of Audiology. “We feel a responsibility to our membership to clarify the misconceptions and overstatements that ASHA has used in its publications.”
Notice of ASHA’s proposed ‘comprehensive benefit’ initiative came in February 2010 via an article in the ASHA Leader outlining plans to seek the aforementioned benefit through a legislative agenda. Following the publication of that article, 10 organizations representing audiology were invited to discuss the ASHA proposal. Upon initial review, and at subsequent meetings, AAA and ADA posed specific questions and concerns regarding potential unintended consequences of the legislation which, to date, have remained unanswered. Due to ASHA’s failure to respond to these inquiries, ADA and AAA have refrained from endorsing or supporting the initiative.
In the letter [click here to view], sent today on behalf of the membership of AAA and ADA to ASHA leadership, the organizations reiterate their stance of wholeheartedly supporting direct access to audiologists for Medicare beneficiaries, and enumerate their concerns with the ASHA-proposed benefit and recent articles in the ASHA 2011 Audiology Connections magazine.
“ADA and AAA have been clear on our position. We unequivocally support direct access and plan to continue to focus our efforts on that endeavor,” said Bruce Vircks, Au.D., President of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology. “We hope that the letter ASHA received today sends a powerful message that our organizations, representing nearly 12,000 audiologists, are setting the record straight: we do not endorse or support the ASHA-proposed ‘comprehensive audiology Medicare benefit.’”

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Haslam signs bill obligating insurance to cover child hearing aids

NASHVILLE — Gov. Bill Haslam signed legislation last week requiring private insurance plans to include coverage of hearing aids for children.

Senate Bill 607 <http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/BillInfo/Default.aspx?BillNumber=SB0607> , sponsored by Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville, Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, and Rep. Richard Montgomery, R-Sevierville, requires that health insurance policies provide coverage of up to $1,000 per individual hearing aid per ear, every three years, for every child covered as a dependent by the policy holder.

“Insurance coverage for hearing devices is very important to help make them affordable so these children grow and learn,” said Overbey. “There are many benefits to passing this legislation. If you provide hearing aids in early childhood you save money for therapeutic services and hospitalization down the road. The true savings of allowing children to have hearing aids, however, is that they become active members of their school day one.”

“I am very pleased this bill has become law,” added Ketron. “No child should have to go through life without hearing, especially when there is a medical device available to help them."

"This bill has been of great importance to many of us,” added Montgomery. “Hearing is critical to the development of a child. This new law will help many children have an opportunity to receive a hearing device for both their own personal success and to become productive citizens of Tennessee"

Friday, February 18, 2011

Will Hearing Aids Help Prevent Dementia?

New research has shown that  people who are hard of hearing have increased odds of developing dementia.The research however, does not show a direct correlation between cause and effect. There is hope that perhaps as more people use hearing aids, it can stop the tide of dementia.

"Dementia is devastating, and the prevalence doubles every 20 years," said Dr. Frank R. Lin, an ear surgeon at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, whose findings appear in the Archives of Neurology.

"There are some studies showing that if you can delay dementia onset by just one year, you would decrease the prevalence of dementia by more than 10 percent in 2050."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Miracle-Ear Announces 100% Invisible Hearing Aid

Miracle-Ear, the company responsible for the first in-ear hearing aid has taken the technology a step further, creating a 100% invisible hearing aid, the Miracle-Ear Mirage. The Mirage is a discreet completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aid. It can be custom molded to sit comfortably in the ear canal, unknown to anyone but the wearer.
The Mirage might be tiny-the entire device can fit on the face of a quarter-but it's packed with powerful micro-technology. It uses the ear's natural ability to locate sounds to deliver excellent performance that reduces or eliminates feedback and whistling. Most models are even compatible with wireless Bluetooth technology, which makes the Mirage an excellent choice for those with an active lifestyle, or a busy work or social schedule.
"The Mirage is our tiniest hearing aid ever. I think customers will be surprised at how much something so little can do," Lisa Smith, product committee chairwoman and Miracle-Ear franchise owner said. "It's discreet, powerful, feature-rich and comfortable. Whether you're an active individual, or you just want people to notice you, and not your hearing aid, the Mirage is a perfect choice."
The Mirage comes with all the fantastic features associated with many other Miracle-Ear solutions, including a 3-year warranty, free lifetime adjustments and cleaning, and a 30 day return policy. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lip Reading: It Helps...

Have you ever heard someone say, “I hear better with my glasses on”?
Most people feel they hear better when they can see the person talking. That’s because they’re getting help from lip-reading.

You probably get important help from lip-reading too. Not as in some spy movie, where the hero understands every word from across a room just by watching the person’s lips. Some sounds are impossible to lip-read, so lip-reading when you hear no sound at all is extremely difficult and of limited help.
On the other hand, many speech sounds are easy to lip-read and most lip-reading happens automatically. Fortunately, the sounds that are hardest to hear are easiest to lip-read.
To illustrate: the sounds “th” as in “thin” and “p” as in “pin” are difficult to hear because they are such soft, high-pitched sounds. But with the help of lip-reading, it’s fairly easy to “hear” the difference between “thin” and “pin.”
Vowels are louder and easier to hear – but harder to lip-read. The vowels “o” in “toe” and “e” in “tee” are relatively easy to hear, but it’s difficult to lip-read the difference between the two vowels.
Some sounds are literally impossible to tell apart solely from lip-reading. For example, the sounds “p,b,m” look identical, so you can’t tell the difference in the words “pat, bat, ,mat” from lip-reading alone. With just a little help from hearing, however, it’s much easier to distinguish those words correctly.
Lip-reading tips:
Lip-reading was once taught in special classes as the major source of help for people with hearing loss. Today’s hearing aids have made special training less important, although practice and training can improve your ability to read lips. For most people, the following tips should provide enough help to make lip-reading as helpful as having a third hearing aid.
Make sure you can see the speaker’s face. It’s hard to read lips from another room, from more than 10 feet away, or if the speaker is turned away from you.
Watch the speaker’s face, not just the lips; facial expressions and gestures give important clues.
Make sure there isn’t bright lighting behind the speaker.
Concentrate on sentences and topics rather than individual sounds and words.
Finally, concentrate on how much you understand, not on what you miss.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hearing Aid Questions

QUESTION: My doctor recently told me that I need a hearing aid. My first thoughts were of the large, clumsy hearing aid my grandfather wore. I'm sure there must be better options. Over time, some hair cells in the inner ear grow old, die and are not replaced. When hair cells die, the electrical messages of sound don't travel to the brain as well as they should.

ANSWER: If you're like so many members of the boomer generation, your problem may be presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss. Presbycusis is the leading cause of hearing impairment and affects most people as they age.The good news for people with age-related hearing loss is that, like cell phones, computers and televisions, hearing aids have benefited from the digital revolution. As a result, hearing aids are smaller and have better sound quality than ever before. And as the technology continues to evolve, hearing aids are gaining new capabilities, including wireless connectivity to cell phones, televisions and MP3 players.Even with these impressive advances, all hearing aids have the same primary purpose: to make sound louder. They have the same basic components, and most run on batteries. They contain at least one microphone that picks up sound and converts it into electrical signals.These signals are transmitted to an amplifier, which boosts their strength and alters the sounds. The amplified electrical signals then travel to a receiver, a small loudspeaker hat converts the electrical signals back into sound waves, and channels them into the ear.

The first generation of hearing aids only amplified sounds by a few decibels. By contrast, hearing aids today can boost sound by as much as 80 decibels -- roughly the difference between a whisper and a car horn. That's why it's extremely important to find a reputable hearing aid professional, often called a dispenser, who will adjust the volume properly so it's loud enough to meet your needs but not so loud as to be harmful.The hearing aid style and circuitry that you choose depend on many things. A prime consideration, of course, is the nature of your hearing loss, its cause and its severity. Your audiologist or hearing instrument specialist will make recommendations based on your audiogram.For example, if you have severe hearing loss, you may need a larger hearing aid. Although this is gradually changing, small hearing aids are typically too small to contain circuitry powerful enough to help someone with more than moderately severe hearing loss.Even if you have a mild to moderate degree of hearing loss, the smallest hearing aids may not be an option for you. If you are prone to an excessive buildup of earwax or to ear infections, small hearing aids may not be the best choice because they are easily damaged by earwax or draining ear fluid.

Finally, you may want the capability to reduce some types of background noise and boost the sound frequencies you have the most trouble hearing; these optional features are not always available in very small hearing aids.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Unilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss: BAHA

Here is an article about BAHA, which stands for for bone-anchored hearing aid.The implanted system works through direct bone conduction and in 2002 was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of unilateral sensorineural hearing loss.BAHA allows sound to be conducted through the bone rather than via the middle ear, It consists of three parts – a titanium implant, an external abutment and a sound processor. The system works by enhancing natural bone transmission as a pathway for sound to travel to the inner ear, bypassing the external auditory canal and middle ear.

The implant is placed during a short surgical procedure and over time naturally integrates with the skull bone in a process call osseointegration.For hearing, the sound processor transmits sound vibrations through the external abutment to the titanium implant. The vibrating implant creates vibrations within the skull and inner ear that stimulate the inner ear’s nerve fibers, allowing hearing.

The device is used to rehabilitate people with conductive and mixed loss hearing impairment who suffer from chronic infection of the ear canal, congenital ear malformation, people with a single-sided hearing loss as a result of surgery for a vestibular tumor of the balance and hearing nerves. It is used both in adults and children.

The device costs $4,000 in the US plus the cost of surgery The only manufacturers are the Sydney, Australia-based Cochlear Limited, which registered BAHA as a trademark, and the Gothenburg, Sweden-based Oticon Medical.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Remote Microphone Technology

ReSound, a technology leader in hearing aid solutions, has created an innovative proprietary Remote Microphone Technology that enhances natural directivity, spatial awareness and wind noise performance in hearing aids. 

The Remote Microphone Technology uses a thin tube to connect the hearing aid to a microphone that is tucked into the concha cymba area of the external ear. The remote microphone utilizes the natural effects of the pinna, as they relate to directivity, high frequency amplification and wind noise reduction. The body of the hearing aid is placed in the ear canal to create device retention and cosmetic appeal. 

"Remote Microphone Technology is a very attractive alternative for hearing aids users that have an aversion to Behind-The-Ear (BTE) instruments," said Dr. Laurel Christensen, Chief Audiology Officer, ReSound. "The placement of the microphone in the concha cymba not only hides it from view, but also improves acoustic performance due to pinna effects." 

Behind-the-ear (BTE) and some traditional custom hearing instruments have less-than-ideal microphone placement compared to the natural ear, causing distortions to occur if sound collection from the pinna is not utilized. Remote Microphone Technology takes advantage of the pinna effect to preserve natural localization (including front-back localization performance) and directional cues. 

"This technology is completely unique to ReSound," said Dr. Christensen. "As an element of good sound quality, ReSound's remote microphone hearing instruments restore the pinna effect to give a sense of spatial awareness and localization." 

Early market feedback quickly validated the benefits of this innovative hearing instrument design that leverages the ear's natural abilities through consistent patient reports of significant wind noise reduction, superior sound quality and an improved ability to localize sound. 


Monday, January 3, 2011

Mandating Coverage for Hearing Aids in NH

(Boston.com) CONCORD, N.H.—The hard of hearing are getting help paying for hearing aids under a New Hampshire law that took effect Saturday.The law requires insurance policies to provide up to $1,500 in coverage per hearing aid every five years.The law passed over the objections of opponents who said the benefit is too generous and would hurt small businesses.Supporters argued that most children and about half the adult population up to age 64 currently have some coverage. They said hearing loss results in less effective communication, especially on the job, jeopardizes safety and isolates people.