In the news: study shows fewer people feel embarrassed wearing hearing aids

The stigma of hearing devices may finally be decreasing!

A new study shows that fewer and fewer feel embarrassed wearing hearing aids.

Concerns about embarrassment have long been a major reason why people with hearing loss choose not to wear hearing devices. Many people go untreated years longer than necessary.

At least it is never too late to get help. Malcolm Simon, USA, had hearing loss all his life and didn’t get his Baha sound processor until 80 years of age. And he’s happier than ever!

“It was totally ignored in those days,” says Malcolm. “While glasses were common, hearing aids were not. They weren’t acceptable and people would actually laugh at you. I’d say, ‘Listen, a person has to wear glasses if they can’t see, so what’s wrong with a person wearing hearing aids if they can’t hear?’ Nowadays, I think hearing aids are accepted by everybody. People wear stuff in their ears and over their heads for all sorts of reasons, so there’s no longer a stigma about wearing hearing aids.”

Read Malcolm’s story here

Now a study carried out in Europe in 2009, 2012 and 2015, shows a steady decline in the number of people with hearing loss who indicate they are embarrassed to wear hearing aids.

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In the 2009 survey, 56% of people with hearing loss said that they felt embarrassed wearing hearing aids. In 2012, 52% felt embarrassed. In 2015 the figure had dropped to 42%.

”I’m very happy that fewer and fewer people with hearing loss will feel embarrassed to wear hearing aids”, says Secretary General Kim Ruberg, hear-it AISBL.

”But I still cannot understand why people will feel embarrassed about hearing aids. Hearing loss is quite common and nothing to be embarrassed about. And who would be embarrassed of wearing glasses if they have a problem with their vision? Hearing aids help people to hear just like glasses help people to see.  I really hope that within a few years no one will feel embarrassed to wear hearing aids.”

Read more about the survey results

In the news: Baha surgery transformed 15-year old Joey’s life

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Surgeons at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital in the UK have helped transform the life of 15-year old Joey Mains by helping him hear fully for the first time.

From Chronicle Live:

15-year old Joey Mains eyes “lit up” when Newcastle doctors uttered the first words he had ever heard clearly.

For years Joey had suffered hearing and ear problems, struggling at school he was forced to learn to lip read as his confidence hit rock bottom.

Now, after an operation to fit a bone conduction hearing device at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, Joey’s life has been transformed forever. Previously, although his speech was good, his social skills in school weren’t developing well and his self esteem was hurting. Now he’s much more outgoing – and confident.

“I now realise that all along, I’d never known what it was like to be able to hear properly, to really know what the world sounded like […] I feel much more confident in myself. I can keep up with conversations.”

Baha 4 Sound Processor

At first, Joey wanted to put off the Baha operation after having to undergo no less than nine surgeries for mastoid problems between the age of four and 12.

But the Baha procedure was much easier than he thought and he returned home the same day!

Two weeks later, he was back to have his sound processor fitted – and suddenly the world became a different place.

His mother Karin says:

“Mr Johnson, the surgeon, stood behind him and said a few words which, of course, Joey couldn’t hear. Then he put the Baha sound processor on, and went back again. Suddenly Joey could hear what he was saying. I’ll always remember that moment. Joey’s eyes lit up. It was like someone had thrown a light switch. I started crying with tears of joy and relief.”

Read more: Signs of hearing loss in children

How losing your hearing is different than losing your vision

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While hearing loss is still surrounded by a bit of a stigma, this is not the case with losing your vision. Who doesn’t use glasses in this day and age, right?

And though hearing and vision are both senses, that’s where the similarity ends. Losing your hearing is much different than losing your vision. Vision loss can often be corrected to a normal level with eyeglasses while hearing devices cannot restore hearing to normal.

Eyesight can be corrected back to normal vision with the correct prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses or corrective eye surgery. But even though hearing device technology has improved substantially in the last 10 years, hearing aids can never repair the damage to the hair cells of the inner ear. The hair cells do not regenerate, so when they die or are damaged, the brain has a harder time interpreting the signals they send.

Also, the average person unfortunately waits 7-10 years to get their first hearing aids, reducing the stimulation of sound of the brain during this time. When the hearing aids are finally fitted, the first time user often needs to retrain the brain to get used to sound stimulation again. In general, people tend to get their eyesight checked more often than their hearing, even though hearing loss can have a great impact on the mental health.

Read the full article at Healthy Hearing

On which side would I benefit most from a Baha System?

Question: Near deaf in left ear, moderate loss in right ear. Which side would a Baha System benefit me? Also would it be feasible to wear on the near deaf side along with an OTE hearing aid on the moderate hearing loss side? // Eugene

Answer: Dear Eugene,

A great question but one that I can’t answer definitively I’m afraid, as a recommendation would depend very much on the exact type and degree of hearing loss you have.

If all or most of your hearing loss is conductive, resulting from issues in the outer or middle ear, a Baha System will be a good solution. It will also be useful if you are deaf in one ear and have normal hearing on the other, then the system will send sound through the bone to your hearing ear.

The Baha System can compensate for some hearing loss in the inner ear (sensorinaural loss), however, for hearing losses that are mainly resulting from problems in the inner ear there are better solutions like hearing aids, or in more severe cases, cochlear implants.

Only a hearing care professional can really evaluate your hearing loss and recommend a solution for you.

~ Fredrik Breitholtz, Head of Training and Clinical Communication, Cochlear Bone Anchored Solutions

 

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5 tips to protect your hearing this winter

Snow and winter weather is definitely part of the season, but it can also be harmful to your hearing. Here are some tips to protect both your hearing and hearing devices this winter:noisy-snow-blower

  1. Noise. Did you know that snow blowers can exceed 100 decibels? That’s loud enough to cause permanent damage to your hair cells.  A simple solution is to wear a pair of foam earplugs if you’re around any outdoors machinery. If you wear hearing aids, greater danger lies in the fact that a loud noise is further amplified by them. Always use protective earmuffs or noise-reducing headphones that fit over your ears to protect your ears and hearing aids both from the cold and potentially damaging noise levels.
  2. Falling. People with hearing loss are three times more likely to suffer a dangerous fall than those without. And the risk of falling increases even more in the winter time with the onset of snow and ice. If your vestibular or balance system is compromised due to hearing loss, you need to be especially alert for hidden ice patches, snow covered objects and slick steps. One way to minimize the risk is to invest in a pair of grips.
  3. Ear infections. Winter brings a higher risk of ear infection, in both children and adults. One of these reasons is that less blood is circulated in the cold; add that to greater risk of irritation, trapped moisture or bacteria and you have a recipe for a painful condition known as otitis media. You can reduce your risk of ear infections by keeping your ears warm and dry when you are outside in winter weather. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising to improve blood circulation can also be helpful, especially now when resistance to infection is lower.
  4. Cold and moisture. Wind, rain, cold and freezing temperatures can shorten battery life as well as allowing moisture to build up in your hearing devices. If your Baha sound processors do become wet, an effective solution is to use a dry-aid kit overnight after removing batteries.
  5. Flying. Try not to fly if you are sick. A cold can lead to a blockage in the Eustachian tube, which will prevent the necessary equalization of pressure in the ears. A ruptured eardrum or severe infection can result, which can lead to temporary hearing loss and other problems. If you do fly and happen to experience hearing difficulties post-flight, see a hearing health care professional if your hearing doesn’t return to normal after a few days.

Source

Cochlear and GN Resound have formed the Smart Hearing Alliance

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Cochlear is strengthening the relationship with GN ReSound!

Last week it was announced that Cochlear Limited, global leader in implantable hearing solutions and GN ReSound, leader in Smart Hearing aids, will collaborate to develop the world’s smartest bimodal hearing solutions! The Smart Hearing Alliance will improve the hearing outcomes for more people of all ages with moderate to profound hearing loss.

GN ReSound CEO Anders Hedegaard says:

“GN ReSound is committed to advancing what is possible for people with hearing loss. This collaborative offering will help us change the lives of so many more people.”

Cochlear and GN ReSound have had a successful history of collaborating on technology and product development, resulting in the implantable hearing industry’s first bimodal solution using True Wireless. With GN ReSound’s leading 2.4 GHz wireless technology, recipients of Nucleus 6 and Baha 5 implants can stream sound directly to their ears completely without wires or bulky neck-worn components!

“This is a big step forward for our customers and professionals,” says Cochlear CEO Chris Smith. “The majority of cochlear implant recipients are bimodal users, so simplifying the management and improving the performance of their hearing solutions will be a huge benefit.”

Read more about this exciting collaboration here.

With the Baha 5 Sound Processor, James can hear the birds again

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In the year 2000 James Lenton, from Nottingham, UK, kept getting recurring ear infections. Eventually a cyst appeared which forced him to have mastoidectomy surgery on both sides.

As his hearing deteriorated, James tried behind-the-ear hearing aids but got problems with condensation getting in and causing cross infection. He had to continually remove it and dry out the tubing. That was when he was recommended the Baha System which doesn’t interfere with the ear canals at all.

“The most difficult thing about my hearing loss was the fact that I withdrew into myself,” says James. “I would avoid people because it was such a problem to have a conversation, especially in a group. I’d just stay in the background which made me a bit depressed.”

The decision to get the bone conduction implant wasn’t hard. Now he wears his Baha 5 Sound Processor all day, every day and finds it comfortable – most of the time he barely notices it. What he does notice is the immense change it has made to his life.

“Compared to before, my hearing is now so much better. I can have a conversation and hear what is being said, the sound is much clearer and I don’t have to keep asking anyone to repeat themselves. It’s been the biggest change in my life. I can now hear the things that I remember hearing many years ago – the birds singing in the trees, the farm animals in the fields a quarter of a mile away… And when riding my bicycle I can hear the cars  coming up behind me, which makes me feel much safer on the roads.”

James uses the Baha 5 Smart App everyday.

“It`s so nice to be able to have control over what I hear, its like having my own personal sound system.”

Among other things it allows him to raise or lower the tone, add base or treble to music and block out some background noise.

Read more about the Baha 5 Smart App here

James concludes:

“Having the Baha 5 Sound Processor has really turned my life around – from someone who was quiet and withdrawn to the person I am now. I’m a lot more confident with other people, I can enjoy the rich sounds of music from pop to classical to rock. It really has opened up my eyes to a whole world that I thought I would never know again.”

Do YOU know someone in James’ situation? Do they have the typical signs of hearing loss? Suggest they contact a hearing care professional to get help as soon as possible.