Update on tinnitus research

Research by Richard Salvi and colleagues in China and Canada may provide insights into how tinnitus may develop and be sustained.
Research by Richard Salvi and colleagues in China and Canada may provide insights into how tinnitus may develop and be sustained.

 

Tinnitus is largely a mystery, a phantom sound heard in the absence of actual sound. Tinnitus patients "hear" ringing, buzzing or hissing in their ears much like an amputee might "feel" pain in a missing limb. It is a symptom, not a disease, and though exposure to loud noise may cause it, some cases have no apparent trigger.

Existing treatments, meantime, are unreliable, either not working at all or varying greatly in effectiveness for those who report some relief.

But a global research effort involving investigators from the University at Buffalo; Southeast University in Nanjing, China; and Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, have made a major breakthrough that provides new insights into how tinnitus, and the often co-occurring hyperacusis, a condition that causes sounds to be perceived as intolerably loud, might develop and be sustained.

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trouble hearing in background noise?

Difficulty hearing in background noise can be frustrating. New research into the issue is revealing the secrets

Is this the real reason you can't hear conversation round the dinner table? ...even though the standard test says nothing is wrong with your ears

  • Pure tone audiometry test suggested Diana's hearing was normal
  • Then she heard about emerging phenomenon 'hidden hearing loss'
  • Decided to try very different type of hearing test using series of electrodes

Do you struggle to understand the person next to you above the background chatter at dinner parties? Or fret at the prospect of an evening in a pub that insists on blaring out loud music?

You're not alone - surveys suggest that more than a quarter of us have great difficulty deciphering speech in a noisy environment.

In my 20s, going to bars or restaurants with background music meant a stressful night of straining to work out what anyone said over the din. But when my GP referred me for a hearing test around five years ago, aged 29, I was surprised to receive a clean bill of health. 

Surveys suggest that more than a quarter of us have great difficulty deciphering speech

The standard hearing assessment, known as the pure tone audiometry test - where tones of varying volumes and pitches were played to me through headphones while I pressed a button to indicate I had heard them - suggested my hearing was normal.

Then I heard about an emerging phenomenon known as 'hidden hearing loss', and wondered if this could apply to me.

Coined in 2011 by researchers at University College London, hidden hearing loss refers to the kind of difficulties not detectable via standard hearing tests, says David McAlpine, a professor of auditory neuroscience at the UCL Ear Institute in London.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3217425/Is-real-reason-t-hear-conversation-round-dinner-table-standard-test-says-wrong-ears.html#ixzz3kZinpHWh

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Clinics Right Across Central Scotland

NHS Hospital hearing aids VS private.... I'm told they are the same... why pay when they are handed out free?

NHS hearing aids OR Private... what's the real difference???

When should I consider going through the NHS and when would private be better???

Great question!

which hearing aid? NHS or Private
which hearing aid? NHS or Private

We are often asked this question, and find it rather challenging to answer, but read on and ill explain the key differences.

let me first have you answer a few questions

  1. Are you asking people to repeat more often?
  2. Do you find it challenging when people speak quickly?
  3. Is the volume up louder on your TV?
  4. Are you ready to find a solution to your hearing problems?
  5. Do you have trouble hearing in company?
  6. Are you finding background noise interferes with sound and makes words hard to catch?
  7. Is it difficult to hear well in the car, (if you cant see the person speaking)?
  8. Do you pull out of conversations when in company?
  9. Have you tried hearing aids before but felt let down by their performance in background noise?
  10. Do you think your hearing aids should have been set up using the exact sound situations you struggle to hear in?
  11. Are you worried your hearing problems will require visibly noticeable hearing aids and would prefer something invisible?

if you answered YES to questions 1 - 4 and NO to the other questions (5- 11) then you should go through the NHS and speak to their team about your hearing problems as they have excellent solutions that will help you well.

If however you answered YES to any of the questions 5-11 then you should consider the private market as NHS solutions may struggle to offer you the improvement you are looking for.

A recent study into satisfaction found that patients who are either "so happy they would recommend their hearing aids to others" or "Very happy with their hearing aids" found that these patients had success in 80% or more of their areas of trouble.

Below this 80% scoring the other patients were mediocre, unhappy or not wearing their devices any more.... (what a terrible waste of time and money).

 

98% achieve success with their hearing aids through our exclusive "Hear For life Program"
98% achieve success with their hearing aids through our exclusive "Hear For life Program"

 

So how do we get great success... well I'd love to say its easy but actually there are lots of things to get right!

To help you and your hearing best we need to first understand it properly, this happens through our 11 step hearing assessment which not only looks at your ears but your lifestyle, your dexterity, your cosmetic preferences and any budget considerations that you may have.

Only once these are understood can we get to the best bit... finding out if there is a solution for you and all the situations you find challenging.

At the Hearing Clinic UK we are the only hearing care specialists that use full surround sound technology to assess if any potential hearing solution will help you in your exact problem areas.

Imagine sitting in the restaurant you have trouble in, and then having your new hearing aids tuned exactly as you need them... (before you leave the clinic).

Or how about having the hearing specialist switch on the difficult car noise you find so challenging... then balancing out the tone to lift the speak and reduce the annoying background noise.

"So I have hospital hearing aids, surely they are the best available... I was told there's nothing better"

This all depends on your individual hearing situation and the solution you've been wearing. Its easiest answered by finding out for yourself... what I mean by that is that you will never know unless you look around and see what's possible.

Remember there are providers and there are providers...

Which? magazine quotes...."Choosing the best hearing aid retailers makes a difference"

It's crucial to choose a trusted retailer to ensure you optimise your chances of getting the best hearing aid solution for you.

The difference between a good and a bad hearing aid solution is not just in the aid itself. It's more to do with the professional fit, follow up and aftercare service given by the provider.

It can take time to fit and adjust a hearing aid correctly so that it's working to maximise your hearing. Without a patient and attentive fitting service, you could get frustrated and give up on your aid, consigning it to the back of a drawer forever."

If you want to see if you are getting the best hearing back that you can, there's no better way to find out than in the Sound Lounge.

 

The Sound Booth in Glasgow - The Hearing Clinic
Explore your hearing further with a unique SoundLounge experience at The Hearing Clinic UK

 

Come along and find out if you have more hearing ready to be restored with a FREE sound lounge session (normally £175).

 

Our friendly hearing care experts will assess your hearing and measure any hearing aids you currently have to see if you are receiving the maximum benefit possible.

If you are happy with your current solution but know of a friend, family member or loved one who may benefit please pass on this message!

 

Please call our team on 0333 320 7788 to arrange an exclusive Sound Lounge appointment

 

 


Outer Ear

Are your ears normal? Part 1 - The Outer Ear

Are your ears normal?

The age old question that many contemplate: 'Am I normal?'

And of course, the answer to that question is never simple.

What we can do for you while reading through this series is to help you understand the different types of hearing level and consider your options at each of these stages using our expert advice.

Starting with your outer earOuter Ear

First thing that may come to mind is: "I have an outer ear?!"

Yes,without going too deep into the anatomical description of your ears, we say that the ear comes in three parts: the outer, the middle and the inner. I will get onto the latter two a bit later.

The outer ear is the outside; the parts that you can touch and also includes the ear canal (where you can also touch, but we strongly discourage it to protect yourself).

What is the outer ear supposed to do?

A normal outer ear's job is to take in the sounds around you and pass them through to your eardrum. Essentially, it's all about getting the sound waves inside your head.

What could possibly go wrong there?

Imagine that you are in a room with a friend having a chat. You can hear nice and clearly. Then, all of a sudden a wall forms between where you are both standing. This wall prevents the sound waves from your mouths getting to your friend's outer ears.

Well, in a very similar fashion, when there is something obstructing the sound waves getting to your eardrum, you can't hear as well. These obstructions can come in a range of objects such as: ear wax, dead skin, dust among many other things.

Your ear naturally tries to get rid of these, but like the rest of our bodies, ear canals come in all shapes and sizes - we should know as we've seen a whole lot of them!  That means blockages may form and you may need an expert to help unclog the wax.

In the past, ear wax syringing was seen as the best method of removal; just like it suggests, by pushing water into the ear canal, the debris will be cleared. Great right? Yes, for a while. However, it was soon discovered that this method was a bit too forceful.

Your ears are fragile pieces of equipment and in many expert's opinion (including ours), brute force is not the answer.

Instead, it is best to opt for a more gentle procedure.

We have worked on a treatment called Ear Wax Microsuction that ticks all the boxes to clear the Outer Ear and ensure that the sound waves around you are getting to your ear drum without any obstructions.

It is a simple procedure, but requires a great deal of skill to carry out.

If you would like to learn more about ear wax microsuction, you can find our full explanation right here

 

Look out for Part 2 of 'Are your Ears Normal?' where we will be discussing the middle ear.


The Sound Booth in Glasgow - The Hearing Clinic

Hearing aid performance boost!

We are happy to announce several great updates to our clinic! read on to find out more.....

Ear Wax MicroSuctionThe Sound Booth in Glasgow - The Hearing Clinic

 

We have just welcomed our latest addition to our clinical team and he has hit the ground running!

Callum Jackson has an outstanding background in hearing aid audiology from working at the ground breaking Yorkhill Hospital for Sick Children, and also the worlds leading hearing aid manufacturer GN ReSound.

He is passionate about his practice and the patients have been extremely impressed not just with his bedside manner but his deep technical expertise!

We are sure you'll love him and he will be more than happy to see you if you pop in to our Bath Street Clinic!

The SOUND LOUNGE experience! unique to Scotland!

Delve into a wonderful new world of sound at our newly kitted out hearing clinics.

How do you know exactly how well your new devices will perform in the most challenging environments.... simple, you have to visit them and assess for yourself. what if you cant manage to get to your favourite restaurant easily..... bring it indoors to the sound lounge and we will check and adjust your devices to their peak performance.

The feedback has been exceptional. We often fine tune and adjust many patients’ systems and the changes are often startling. Come and experience The Sound Lounge, it's available to anyone and is, as always, FREE for our "hear for life" patients to have their hearing and system expertly calibrated.

For a FREE assessment and of your existing system, or to experience the incredible new technology available now call our team on 0333 320 7788 To take advantage of Scotland’s first Sound Lounge!


Hearing Map

Does your hearing map match reality?

Hearing Map

Imagine that you are in the middle of a city that you have never been to before and looking to get to the train station.

You are standing there with no idea where to go and no information on how to get there. Then, all of a sudden somebody hands you a map and points to a street name that looks like yours.

Problem solved? Nope!

The map is for another city, but this is not clearly marked and the street name you are on just happens to match the one on the map.

There you go, following the map as best you can to get to the train station, but you are utterly confused as to why you cannot get back to the train station so you can get home.

You are confused because the information that you were led to believe doesn't coincide with reality.

The reality is that you are lost. You need the help and direction from someone who knows the city well and can lead you to your destination without a hitch.

This analogy represents a truth that many people face; they don't know what level of hearing that they have got.

They have the symptoms of hearing loss:

  • Television is up too loud
  • They often ask friends and family to repeat
  • They 'zone-out' of conversations

And as a result, they are lost in a foreign city and don't reach the destination that has life, energy and vibrance; the destination is of course, the joy and happiness that comes from having a deep connection with those around them.

How to grab a hold of your own map and follow it home?

The first thing you need to do is accept that even though that first street matches where you were standing, the map you are holding may, in fact, not be correct.

After you have accepted this, you can feel comfortable enough to venture out and ask one of the people in the city who can help you (In this analogy, we can be your tourist information centre).

Your personalised hearing map

By getting a new hearing map. A new path and journey planned out, you can feel calm and more relaxed in your journey. You might even get to know a few things in the process too.

Don't get lost. Ask us, your hearing information centre for a helping hand and we'll be there for you all the way.

Give us a call on 0333 320 7788 to get your personalised hearing journey plan


Depression Awareness Week - Sufferer voices their encouragement for those with hearing loss

Depression Awareness Week

The link between the symptoms connected with hearing loss and depression have never been more apparent.

A bold statement, but one for which I am absolutely certain. Certain because I know both categories intimately.

My story

Over the past 9 years, I have suffered from intermittent bouts of depression and have only in the past month accepted that I need help. Why these bouts come about are a mystery to me.

I have my own apartment that I share with someone I very much love. I earn my keep doing something which I have always wanted to do and work with very friendly amicable people. My family regularly contacts me and sends their love too.

You suffer from depression?

To an outsider, it would be easy to question why I get so low. And the answer is that I do too.

Nonetheless, the sensation of isolation is ever present. There is a weight on my shoulders that is ever so heavy that nothing can be done at times than shed tears to release the feelings.

I do have a number of coping strategies that I use to ensure that I can continue marching on each day: keeping busy works, forced smiling works and making jokes with others around tends to keep me afloat, but deep down the chain latch continues to pull me down if I allow it a single opportunity to subdue me.

Similar symptoms to hearing loss

In a similar manner though, I have had the chance to learn about symptoms that come hand in hand with hearing loss whilst working at The Hearing Clinic. And, they aren't too dissimilar from those that I face myself:

  • Isolation and loneliness
  • Sadness
  • Difficulty communicating with those around me
  • Feelings of helplessness and emptiness

Knowing what I know now and the ability of our Audiologists to solve these problems straight away for our patients is something that I wish I could obtain. Unfortunately though, I do not have a hearing loss that can be helped with technology.

Acceptance

I have accepted where I am and made the decision to go to the psychotherapist for cognitive behaviour therapy treatment, a process that will likely last months and help me take control of the depression that shadows me.

For the hearing loss sufferers though, I would urge you to join me in accepting your symptoms and consider looking to get a full diagnostic of your hearing levels so that you can see if you have the opportunity to resolve yourself of the emotional turmoil that accompanies it through technology.

Our hearing centres can be seen here if you would like to begin your journey.

I hope that this article has raised awareness those people suffering from depression or hearing loss to seek help in changing their lives for the better.

Thank you for reading. If this has been useful for you, please consider sharing it for others so that more people can get involved in Depression Awareness Week and get help.


Secret to better hearing

Have you heard about the best kept secret in hearing?

Secret to better hearing

Before you go any further, let me tell you - if you are interested in learning more about your hearing, then this is undoubtedly the most important read you could possibly have.

You might have read a post I wrote last week about my trip to Texas and how I explored the latest and greatest audiology practices from around the world. Over the long weekend, I was having a think about the new methods that I had learned to help people with their hearing...

I was thinking "by fine tuning my approach, I can do even more now to get people hearing at their very best."

But, then it occurred to me that there was something much bigger that could be done.

And, of course that has to be to tell you about the best kept secret in hearing.

The best kept secret in hearing

The one thing that every audiologist treasures. Every patient, that when they find it, they are blown away by.

This is something that you absolutely must have if you are to get to the next crucial step in your hearing journey.

And, when I tell you, I am confident that you will be pretty surprised to hear that it is an extremely simple thing to do.

"Tell me the secret" - I hear you say.

The key to unlocking your hearing is to know in absolute terms what you have got.

Absolutely knowing vs. just relatively

I purposely put the word absolute there because many people only know what they have got in a relative sense.

What I am trying to get across is that you need a confirmation from a trained professional of what level of hearing that you have before you make the next step of doing anything about it.

Yes, by considering other peoples' voices, the number of times you ask them to repeat, the high volumes of the television and the dullness of sound among many other things you can get a good gauge of what you are able to hear. However, it is only a comparison.

What you need is a full hearing screening to determine what level of hearing you have got.Hearing Report

AND to make sure that you get a full hearing report when the screening is completed.

This way, you know the secret of where you are now and are also able to forecast where you are going in the future.

Like the old saying goes. Fail to plan, plan to fail.

We are offering free hearing screenings (including hearing reports) for the time being.

Let us do the planning for you.

Call 0333 320 7788 to book your free hearing screening now.


Linx2

As promised...our big news story from across the world

The convention capital of the world.

Over 4 days, The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Centre attracted some of the world's top audiologists in a bid to seek out the latest tech that will change the lives of their patients - and wow, did we stumble into something...

Circling the various stalls of gizmos and gadgets was intriguing, but one masterpiece really caught my eye.

The ReSound Showcase was none like any other. I was immediately welcomed to try out their latest smartphone app that allowed me to feel their advanced background cancellation do its job. I then hovered across towards their destination based sound where I could quickly understand where voices were coming from without moving all around.Linx2

These functionalities in themselves were quite something, but after I realised that they were all inside the one device - it was like a dream came true for anyone who has an interest in hearing better.

I asked a member of the ReSound team to show me what they looked like and was quite taken aback. These hearing aids weren't just presentable, but dare I say it. Fashionable.

Quote from the CEO of Resound, Anders Hedegaard:

ReSound LiNX2 is the latest step in our efforts to make hearing as natural and effortless as possible. We revolutionized hearing aid technology in 2014 with the introduction of ReSound LiNX, a game changing, Smart Hearing device that offered incredible sound quality, connectivity and control. ReSound LiNX2 builds on that unmatched capability, bringing even more empowerment to users that expect the best quality without compromise in an increasingly connected world.

This is all great news, but what does it really mean?

You might now be thinking: "So what? Another new product on the market, I have lost count of how many times that has happened."

Okay, so I'll break it down for you in a few short sentences - what this new Linx Squared can do.

1. As you may know, hearing aids come in many shapes and sizes - in the ear, behind the ear, receiver in the canal. These new devices have an incredible power availability in many shapes and sizes. Whatever style you prefer, you can still get the incredible sound that you are looking for.

2. Surround sound. The idea of hearing from all directions instead of being limited to where you are facing. This new hearing aid has the ability to help you feel more in control of your environment and respond to the situation around you unlike any other.

3. Smart App rehaul. ReSound launched their hearing aid iPhone application a year ago to allow a seamless sync between phone and hearing device. If you wanted to, you could use wirelessly call someone and have your hearing devices process the sound aspect of your call or listen to music through the devices too. Now, their team have completely revamped the application to allow you more flexibility and control over what sound environments you like.

4. The hearing aid comes with a hugely powerful tinnitus relief. In essence, this allows you to play a range of sounds through the devices that match your tinnitus needs (pitch and modulation) to reduce your tinnitus problem and allow you to concentrate on the activities that matter most to you.

We are now demonstrating these devices in-store

Yup, that's right. We were able to get our hands on them very early - even though they have just been released. We would love to extend an open invitation to you to try on these devices during your consultation.

Call us on 0333 320 7788 and let us know when is the best time that you can pop in to see us.


runner

Who is running the furthest ahead?

Have you ever just watched a child being themselves?  Living in the moment.

It's a concept that many of us lose after we 'grow up. 

I want to tell you about a time when I was running in a competition - about aged 10 or so.

It was a huge Olympic size circuit and there were 8 laps standing between me and the finish line.

The starter gun shot and I was off! I really enjoyed running at that age. The thrill of pushing yourself, but at the same time, the anticipation of knowing that pace is a necessity to reaching the finishing line without burning out.

My hair was blowing in the wind and I felt intensely happy. BUT, thoughts began to drift into my mind.

I started thinking back to the starter's line. The competition - some were bigger boys who looked the part. They were wearing the top running gear at the time. And, for a moment as I was running, I pictured these boys and I was intimidated; worried even.

I didn't want to entertain these thoughts for too long as I knew they were distracting me from my breathe control and maintaining my pace, but alas I needed to quell their need for an understanding of the competition.

I had a look all around the circuit expecting to be close to the front - maybe third out of the eight or so competitors.

But, I was rather surprised to see that I was first - and not just first by a few metres. I was a whole lap ahead of the big boy who I had earlier felt.intimidated by. He had most likely tired himself out early on and struggled to keep up thereafter.

At this point, I now knew that I would win the race - my training had paid off, and I could have slowed down, but I didn't.

I pushed on, gathering my strength for a final push that landed me a personal best.

Why did I tell that story, you might be asking.

The reason is, I am in the United States at the biggest hearing relates conference of the year to learn new techniques of giving patients the sounds they need, giving the best patient experience so they feel absolutely at ease and understanding the new functionality of the latest devices available on the market.

It's the one chance per year to get a really good look around. And just like at that race all those years ago, I realised that  my clinic is miles ahead of the rest of the pack.

We came here to learn the secrets and ended up giving helpful nuggets of advice to hearing clinics from all around the world.

It's funny. The whole 'living in the moment' thing. Loving what you are doing. Enjoying every moment. It really has a huge impact on your success.

I'll no doubt have some more updates over the next few days.

I have a big announcement in my next post so stay tuned!