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Phonak’s Newest Hearing Aid: the Audéo Marvel

Recently, Phonak unveiled of their new hearing aid called the Audéo Marvel — a device with advanced sound quality and universal Bluetooth® connectivity to both iPhone and Android devices. Available in late November, the Phonak Audéo Marvel focuses on what patients expect from a hearing aid: a clear, rich sound experience combined with modern technology. Here are some of the new features associated with this new device.

• Clear, rich sound in multiple environments, thanks to a newly developed computer chip with Artificial Intelligence.
• Connectivity to any Bluetooth® device for streaming audio content to both ears. This includes TV, music, eBooks and more.
• Hands-free calls to both ears from iPhone, Android or any other Bluetooth®-enabled devices.
• Lithium-Ion Rechargeable option available for a full day of hearing including streaming, now with the option to turn on automatically out of the charger.
• eSolutions with Smart apps enable live phone call transcriptions.

 

If you are interested in meeting with an Audiologist to learn more about this new device, and to discuss if it would be a viable option for you and your lifestyle, contact our Hearing Center at 904-900-0350 to make a consult appointment.

 

How to Get the Most out of Your Disposable Hearing Aid Battery

Hearing aids are getting more and more advanced. With all the extra processing power and new features in today’s hearing aids, you can typically get 3-10 days off a single battery. Why is the life of a hearing aid battery so unpredictable, where one battery may last a week, and another just two or three days? Much depends on your amount of hearing aid use, streaming, and how you care for your hearing aids.

Still, there are steps you can take to maximize the life of your batteries and optimize the performance of your hearing aids.

1. Let the battery “breathe” for 3-5 minutes. After removing the tab from the battery, let the battery sit for 3-5 minutes before installing it in your hearing aid. This “activation” time allows air to reach the materials inside the battery and activate them.

2. Wash your hands thoroughly before changing batteries. Grease and dirt on the batteries may damage the hearing aid. Also, grease and dirt can clog up the air pores in the battery.

3. Open the battery door at night. When you’re not wearing your hearing aid, turn it off or open the battery door to minimize battery drain. Leave the battery compartment of your hearing device open at night so moisture can escape. Doing so will keep the battery from corroding and damaging the hearing aid.

4. Use a hearing aid dehumidifier. A hearing aid dehumidifier will help absorb moisture out of your hearing aid and battery. This will allow the battery power to be used more efficiently. The dehumidifier is also a great place to store your hearing aids.

5. Remove the batteries entirely if you won’t be using the device for an extended period of time. This also helps avoid corrosion and damage from trapped moisture.

6. Check the expiration date on the batteries. The further out the batteries are, the fresher they are. Over time, batteries will drain slightly while sitting on the shelf. Ideally, you should buy batteries that have an expiration date a year or further from your purchase date.

7. Use the oldest pack of batteries first. The newest packs will have the furthest expiration date than your older packs of batteries. You want to ensure that you use the oldest batteries first, so that you are getting the most life out of them.

8. Keep the stickers on the battery. The sticker tab on the battery keeps the battery “fresh.” As soon as the sticker is removed, the battery is activated and starts draining. You want to make sure you don’t peel the sticker tab off until you need to use that battery.

9. Keep the batteries in a cool dry place. Storing new, unused batteries in extreme temperatures can cause the battery to drain/have a shorter life.

10. Invest in a rechargeable battery hearing device. Rechargeable hearing aids and batteries are starting to come out into the market. Rechargeable batteries allow you to charge the battery at night and get a full day’s worth of use the next day. If you’re interested in the new technology, make an appointment to discuss the various rechargeable options currently available on the market.

Bone Anchored Hearing Devices

While hearing aids and cochlear implants are better known options for assisting those with hearing impairments, there is another device that may be more appropriate for your hearing loss. A BAHD, also known as a bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA), is made up of a surgically implanted portion and a removable external processor. These devices are unique in that they send signals to your inner ear via vibrations. These vibrations are interpreted by your inner ear the same as any other sound signal.

As you can see in the above below, the sound processor sits just behind the ear.

 

Who is a candidate for the bone-anchored hearing device?

Patients with middle ear issues (chronic ear infections, previous surgeries, etc.) are often successful users of a BAHD because it bypasses the middle ear and directly stimulates the inner ear. The device is also beneficial for those with single-sided deafness. The BAHD is placed on the side of the head with the severe-to-profound hearing loss and the signal is sent to the better hearing ear.

New options with the BAHD!

Previously, the BAHD could only be worn by attaching it to an abutment that projected out from under the skin or by wearing a headband. There is now an option for attaching the external processor to the internal implant via a magnet. The image on the left demonstrates the magnet attachment.

 

In addition to the new wearing options, BAHDs have Bluetooth capabilities!

 

If you and your family are interested in learning more about BAHDs and want to know if you are a possible candidate, please do not hesitate to contact our clinic at 904-399-0350.

The Process of Purchasing Hearing Aids at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute

Today we will be discussing the process of purchasing hearing aids through The Hearing Center at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute (JHBI).

 

STEP 1: Hearing Evaluation

The first step when purchasing hearing aids through JHBI is to schedule a hearing evaluation.  The comprehensive hearing evaluation will assess several levels of your auditory pathway.  Throughout the testing, we will assess your ability to hear different pitches and understand speech.  If you are found to be a hearing aid candidate, you will be scheduled to see an Audiologist at the Hearing Center for a hearing aid consultation.

 

STEP 2: Hearing Aid Consultation

The second step of purchasing hearing aids is the hearing aid consultation.  You are encouraged to bring a spouse or family member to this appointment to provide support with decision making and to be an active member of your hearing healthcare.  During this appointment, the Audiologist will explain the results of your hearing evaluation, discuss hearing expectations and needs, and review the latest hearing aid technology.  Based off of your individual needs, the Audiologist will recommend a specific hearing aid for you.  Once you select a hearing aid that meets your needs, a hearing aid fitting will be scheduled.

 

STEP 3: Hearing Aid Fitting

At the hearing aid fitting, the Audiologist will program and adjust the hearing aids to meet your specific hearing healthcare needs.  After the hearing aids are programmed, the Audiologist will instruct you on proper insertion and removal of the devices.  General care and maintenance will also be reviewed with you to promote the longevity of your hearing aids.

 

STEP 4:  Hearing Aid Adjustment Period

All hearing aids have a 30-day trial period to ensure that you are happy and would like to keep your devices. Since it often takes time to adapt to amplification, the Audiologist would like to see you for programming adjustments during this trial period.  A two week follow-up will be scheduled after your hearing aid fitting.  At this appointment you will discuss any difficulties you are having with the devices and work with your audiologist to overcome these obstacles.  It is our goal to have you realizing a maximum benefit once your trial period expires.

 

To schedule an appointment at JHBI you could contact our clinic at 904-339-0950

Do I Really Need Two Hearing Aids?

The Benefits of Binaural Listening

The question regarding whether to purchase one or two hearing aids is an important topic to address with your audiologist during a hearing aid consultation. Hearing aids are an investment in your hearing health that can contribute to improved communication with family and friends and lead to better quality of life. Hearing aids are also a financial investment and it makes sense that many people want to weigh the benefits versus the cost.

In some cases one hearing aid truly is the best option. For example, a person may have a hearing loss in only one ear and normal hearing in the other ear. Another example is a person who has very little useful hearing in one ear; in this case a hearing aid may not provide any benefit at all and a cochlear implant may be the better option.  In most other cases if both ears have a hearing loss then two hearing aids are better than one.

Binaural hearing is the term used to refer to hearing with two ears (whether with two normal hearing ears or with two hearing aids). Bimodal hearing applies to people who wear a hearing aid on one side and a cochlear implant on the other ear. Studies have shown that binaural/ bimodal hearing have many benefits and leads to improved communication ability.

Detecting Location of Sound

The ability to detect where sounds are coming from is called “localization” and is a function of the brain that is dependent upon sound being heard well by both ears. The brain uses timing and loudness cues to determine which ear received the sound first and at which ear the sound was louder in order to determine where the sound is located. The brain is unable to detect the location of sound accurately with only one (amplified) ear.

Understanding in Noise

When sound reaches the ears, the signal travels to the inner ear and is then transferred to the hearing never. It then travels up the brainstem to the hearing centers of the brain. The brain analyzes and combines the sound heard from both ears to help “tease out” the speech signal from the unwanted background noise. If the brain only receives sound from one amplified ear it has much more difficulty separating speech from noise.

Louder Volume

When sounds are received by both ears the signal travels through multiple pathways in the brainstem. This double input of information to the brain creates a boost in the volume of the speech signal making it easier to hear. This boost or summation of volume does not occur with one ear.

Easier Listening

Studies have shown that when the brain listens with two ears, less effort is needed to hear and understand speech which helps to reduce fatigue.

For more information about the benefits of listening with two ears or about bimodal benefit for cochlear implant users call Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute at 904-399-0350 to set up a hearing aid consultation.

 

What’s New with Hearing Aids

The Phonak Belong Platform: An Overview

Audeo B-Direct:

Last week Phonak launched their ‘Made for All’ direct connect hearing aid, the Audeo B-Direct. Using a new proprietary 2.4 GHz radio chip these devices allow users to stream phone calls directly to any cell phone with Bluetooth without an intermediary device. Current technology from other hearing aid manufacturers allows only users of an Apple phone the ability to stream phone calls. The Made for All technology will allow Android, iOS or other Bluetooth cell phone users access to hands-free phone use. By utilizing built-in microphones as a voice pick-up feature, the Audeo B-Direct is able to function like a wireless Bluetooth headset. Once a phone call is received by the user, they are able to answer calls with a push of a button on the hearing aid. At this time, streaming of the phone call is only heard on the user’s preferred side, not to both devices. Patients will also have the ability to balance environment noise when background noise is present by either using the volume control on their phone or directly on their hearing aids. Using a streaming protocol called AirstreamTM Technology, the new TV Connecter from Phonak offers a “plug and play” solution that turns Audeo B-Direct hearing aids into wireless TV headphones. This device allows users to stream content from their TV without having to wear a body-worn streamer and is capable of streaming to multiple hearing aid wearers at the same time.

Virto B Biometric Calibration:

Another recent launch from Phonak is the use of Biometric Calibration in Virto B custom hearing aids. Using 3-D modeling software 1,600 biometric data points are identified from an earmold impression and are used to calculate calibration settings that are unique to each user. This technology allows individual ear anatomy and its effects on the acoustics of the incoming sound to be accounted for which provides a 2dB improvement in directionality. Another available option is the Virto B- Titanium invisible in the ear (IIC) option, which is made from medical grade titanium. Titanium is stronger and thinner than acrylic, allowing for significantly reduced device size.

Audeo B-R and Bolero-PR Rechargeable Options:

Phonak continues to offer a built-in rechargeable device option (Audeo B-R and Bolero B-PR). With a single charge, the device is powered for up to 24 hours. Smart charging options are also available, which allow on the go users to charge from anywhere, without having to worry about running out of power.

 

If you or someone you love is noticing hearing difficulties and would like to discuss hearing aid options, contact The Hearing Center at JHBI at (904) 399-0350 ext 246 to schedule an appointment to speak with an Audiologist about your options!

 

 

Hearing Aid Accessories and Bluetooth Connectivity

Boosting Your Hearing Aid Performance with Wireless Technology

Even with the best hearing aids, it can still be difficult to enjoy your favorite song or your favorite TV show, or hear a speaker clearly in a business meeting or at a restaurant. It may even still be difficult to hear someone talking to you on the phone. Over the past 10+ years, hearing aid manufacturers have developed wireless accessories to accompany hearing aids. These devices can be used in even the most complex listening environments. Today, some hearing aids will even connect directly to iPhones. Below is a list of outlined accessories and their uses as well as more information regarding direct connectivity options.

Direct Connectivity:

Several hearing aid manufacturers now offer direct-to-iPhone hearing aid options. Starkey, Oticon, Resound, and Widex hearing aids can be connected via bluetooth straight to your cell phone and most apple devices! Each manufacturer has their own free, downloadable, and user-friendly app which can control your hearing aids, including volume control, program changes, and some even allow you to control the directionality of your microphones in different listening situations. Phone calls are streamed directly to your hearing aids; your music, a video, a movie, anything streaming on your phone…that’s right! It goes straight to your hearing aids! They have now become wireless headphones!

Cell Phone Accessories:

With the technology of bluetooth, connecting your world to your hearing aids has become easier than ever. Several manufacturers offer wireless accessories that either clip to your lapel or hang around your neck. These intermediary devices allow your cell phone to talk directly to your hearing aids. As long as you are wearing your clip-on or your neck loop, your phone calls can stream directly to your hearing aids, as well as any other audio streaming from your cell phone. All it takes is a simple pairing procedure which your audiologist can help with!

 

TV Accessories:

With a TV Link, you will have the audio from the TV streaming directly into your hearing aids. All you have to do is hook up the accessory to your TV. Enjoy the comfort of listening to your favorite show at the volume you prefer while your loved ones can still enjoy the show at their preferred volume. Most TV Links require an intermediary device, however, which connects to the hearing aids and the TV Link then connects to the intermediary device.

 

Microphone Accessories:

 Many manufacturers make accessory options in the form of a remote microphone. Remote microphones significantly improve the signal-to-noise ratio in noisy environments. Although most hearing aids at all technology levels reduce background noise levels in noisy environments to some degree, a remote microphone brings the speaker’s voice directly to the hearing aid users’ ears. The speaker wears the remote microphone and the listener wears an intermediary device which streams the signal to the listener’s hearing aids. This makes for exceptional speech understanding in noise and better understanding over longer distances. Some remote microphones can transmit to the users’ hearing aids from up to 80 feet away!

 

 

 

If you would like to learn more about these devices for your hearing aids and learn what your options are, schedule a hearing aid consult with an audiologist today! They should be able to answer any questions you might have! Just call: 904-399-0350

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Hearing Aid

Do I need a hearing aid?

This is a question that the audiologists and physicians hear every day at The Hearing Center and JHBI. Let’s take a look at what matters (and what doesn’t!) when it comes to making that decision.

  • Hearing Loss:

    The first step to deciding whether or not it’s time to try hearing aids will depend on your hearing loss. Hearing aids can be programmed to fit all different degrees and configurations of hearing loss, from mild to profound. However, you have to keep in mind that what your hearing loss looks like will greatly affect your outcome with amplification. For example, patients that have very little usable hearing left may be better suited to a cochlear implant. Patients with middle ear problems may want to try a bone-anchored hearing device. So how do you know what’s right for you? That’s an easy one to answer- you just have to ask an audiologist. Come in for a hearing aid consult. If hearing aids aren’t the correct choice for you, we promise to guide you to whatever is.

  • Hearing Difficulties:

    Most people with hearing loss know that they have trouble hearing. In fact, that is usually what drove them to get a hearing test in the first place. However, even with severe hearing loss, some people will deny any hearing difficulties. Hearing aids are a process that involve both commitment and work on the part of the new user, so that person has to be invested in a positive outcome. In other words, it is important that you feel like you have something to gain from wearing a hearing aid. If you are convinced that you are not having any difficulty hearing, it will be hard to justify using hearing aids. Keep in mind, though, that sometimes it is actually the people you are talking to that take the brunt of a hearing loss. Are they frequently repeating or speaking up so that you can be apart of the conversation? Look to those closest to you for honest opinions about how they are affected by your hearing difficulties. If they are expressing frustration, that might be a reason to consider trying hearing aids.

  • Age:

    Hearing aids are for people with hearing loss, no matter their age. It does not matter at all how old you are- If you have a hearing problem, it is time to consider a hearing aid. Please do not wait until you reach a certain age to start considering a hearing aid.

  • Cosmetics:

    It’s okay to be worried about what a hearing aid will look like. We are all human, and we want to present our most confident self to the world. For some people, it’s scary to think about what a hearing aid will look like. The good news is that we have come a long way from the large devices that used to be the industry standard. Most styles are nearly invisible these days. Depending on your ear canal size and hearing loss, your audiologist can guide you into the most discrete style possible.

  • Price:

    For many people, the price of hearing aids can be very intimidating. At JHBI, we offer different levels of hearing aids at varying prices to meet the needs of everyone that comes through our door. We also have some financing options that may help. We encourage you to come in and see what we have to offer and talk about what your budget allows. Even if a hearing aid isn’t an option for you currently, we may be able to find some ways to help you hear better that are within reach.

For more information on hearing aids, click on the following link: https://www.betterhearingjax.com/hearing-technology/our-hearing-aids/

 

Hearing aid styles

Hearing aids can vary a great deal in size and the way they’re placed in your ear. The following are common hearing aid styles, beginning with the smallest and least visible in the ear.

Completely in the Canal (CIC)

A completely-in-the-canal, or CIC, hearing aid is custom molded to fit inside the patient’s ear canal. It can be used to fit mild to moderate hearing loss in adults.

A completely-in-the-canal hearing aid:

  • Is the smallest and least visible type of hearing aid
  • Uses very small batteries, which have shorter life and can be difficult to handle
  • Cannot contain extra features, such as volume control or a directional microphone
  • Is susceptible to earwax clogging the speaker

In the Canal (ITC)

An in-the-canal, or ITC, hearing aid is also custom molded to the patient’s ear, but fits partly in the ear canal. This style can be used to fit mild to severe hearing loss in adults.

An in-the-canal hearing aid:

  • Is less visible in the ear than larger styles
  • Includes features that won’t fit on CIC hearing aids, but may still be difficult to adjust due to its small size
  • Is susceptible to earwax clogging the speaker

In the Ear (ITE)

An in-the-ear, or ITE, hearing aid is also custom made to the patient’s ear, but can come in two styles — one that fills most of the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear (full shell) and one that fills only the lower part (half shell). Both are helpful for adults with mild to severe hearing loss.

An in-the-ear hearing aid:

  • Includes features that can’t fit on smaller style hearing aids, such as a volume control and program change button
  • Is be easier to handle due to its larger size
  • Uses a larger battery for longer battery life and easier handling
  • Is susceptible to earwax clogging the speaker
  • Is more visible in the ear than smaller devices

Behind the Ear (BTE)

A behind-the-ear, or BTE, hearing aid hooks over the top of the ear to rest behind it. A tube then connects the hearing aid to a custom-made earmold that is used for retention in your ear canal. This type is appropriate for people of all ages and for those with almost any type of hearing loss.

A behind-the-ear hearing aid:

  • Traditionally has been the largest type of hearing aid, though some newer mini designs are streamlined and barely visible
  • Is capable of more amplification than are other styles
  • Is easier to handle due to its larger size
  • Generally uses a larger battery for longer battery life and easier handling

Receiver in the Canal (RIC)

The receiver-in-the-canal, or RIC, style is similar to a behind-the-ear hearing aid, however, the speaker or receiver is in the canal instead of in the hearing aid body itself. A tiny wire, rather than tubing, connects the two pieces. This style of hearing aid can be used to fit people with mild to severe hearing loss.

A receiver-in-canal hearing aid:

  • Has a less visible behind-the-ear portion than BTE hearing aids
  • Doesn’t plug the ear like the small in-the-canal hearing aids do, making your own voice sound better and more natural to you
  • May be more difficult to handle and adjust due to small parts
  • Is susceptible to earwax clogging the speaker

 

 

The audiologist will recommend a style based on several factors during the Hearing Aid Consult appointment. These factors include degree and configuration of hearing loss, lifestyle needs, desired features, dexterity, and vision of the patient. If you would like to further discuss which hearing aid style is most appropriate for your needs with an audiologist, please do not hesitate to contact our clinic.