Mental health and strong cognitive functionality is vitally important to our well being, and never more so in 2020 with enforced lock down and since then, reduced social gatherings. Communicating with friends and family, by phone or technology like Zoom, has become more popular than ever.
Hearing aids help you stay connected to the most important people in your life. If you suffer from hearing loss, they are vitally important to help you fully interact in all types of social circumstances.
But hearing aids do much more than enrich your social life. They can have a profound impact on your brain by keeping you mentally sharp, lowering your risk of depression, and improving your well-being.
Furthermore, several studies have linked untreated hearing loss to an increased risk of developing dementia and reduced cognitive functioning. It can involve problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes.
Estimates and studies vary, but a rough rule of thumb is that only 20% of people that suffer from hearing loss have, or regularly use, hearing aids.
Previous Nantwich Heating Centre articles have covered topics such as smart/digital hearing aids and how small modern hearing aids are, but hearing aids also provide a number of clinically proven benefits for wearers including improved mental agility, decreased listening effort and improved cognitive function.
Simply put, they can help your brain function better, helping general mental alertness and reducing the risk of age-related cognitive decline.
Here are some factors, backed by medical studies, that you should find interesting:
- Wearing a hearing aid has a positive impact on your mental health
Studies have discovered that people who chose to wear hearing aids reported lower levels of depression and showed fewer outward signs of being depressed. They also found that people with hearing aids showed greater emotional stability and their families reported that they were less likely to become angry or frustrated. Overall, respondents who wore hearing aids felt that they had more control over their lives and a more positive outlook in general.
- Hearing aids reduces the risk of reduced cognitive functioning and developing dementia.
Studies have linked untreated hearing loss to an increased risk of developing dementia and reduced cognitive functioning. Research further supports that treating hearing loss with hearing aids may slow the cognitive decline associated with hearing loss.
Hearing aids may lower your risk of age-related cognitive decline.
- Hearing aids can improve memory and mental agility
A recent study showed that hearing aids – by minimising hearing loss – can help you remember things better, focus better and perform things faster.
- Hearing aids users report lower levels of depression
The National Council on Aging study – using 4000 participants with hearing loss (both with and without hearing aids) – found that that people with hearing aids showed greater emotional stability and their families reported that they were less likely to become angry or frustrated.
Overall, respondents who wore hearing aids felt that they had more control over their lives and a more positive outlook in general.
So, if you suffer (or think you might be) from hearing loss, hearing aids can help with your day-to-day social interaction AND potentially reduce the risk of depression and cognitive slowdown.
Nantwich Hearing Centre are pleased to offer free and no obligation hearing tests, with further advice and expertise should you require it.
Please read our keeping you safe article if you’d like to know more about our new safety measures in the light of the Covid-19 outbreak.
At Nantwich Hearing Centre the safety of our customers is always our top priority.
Like all businesses across the UK we are closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and following the advice provided by UK health authorities.
Our clinic remains open and if you have an appointment with us we look forward to seeing you soon.
We have introduced a series of measures to protect our customers:
- We have extended our appointment times. This will help us to implement a 1 customer only policy and enable us to thoroughly clean down after each appointment.
- Please do not arrive early for your appointment so you do not need to wait in our reception area.
- For existing customers we will be offering follow up appointments by telephone or by remote care. If all is well with your hearing devices and you do not wish to come into the clinic we can keep in touch over the phone if you prefer.
- If you require accessories e.g. batteries, wax filters or any other ear care products and do not wish to come into the clinic we can post these out to you. We will have to make a small charge for postage. Payment can be taken over the phone.
- If your hearing devices are sent for repair, we can ask the manufacturer to send them back to you directly, if you would prefer not to collect them from the clinic.
- We are closely monitoring our own health and if any of our staff develop systems of Coronavirus they will self isolate as per government guidelines. We will contact you if this affects your appointment.
- Likewise we respectfully ask that if you develop symptoms or are generally unwell please contact us to rearrange your appointment for a future date.
This is a very challenging time for all of us and we appreciate your co-operation and understanding.
We are always on the end of the phone if you have any problems or queries.
Alan, Helen & Paula
Modern Hearing Aids – almost like a Second Brain for your Ears
Hearing Aids have generally become a lot smaller and more discreet in recent years.
They have also become a whole lot cleverer too, thanks in large part to the huge advancement in technology and communication over the last decade and now as we have entered the 2020’s. Many hearing aids now enjoy the same technological benefits as other devices, controlled remotely and effortlessly from intuitive smartphone apps.
Smart Hearing Aids
“Smart” hearing aids are the most popular and effective treatment option for low/medium or more substantial hearing loss. The automatic functionality in smart hearing aids allows users to interact with their environment naturally while the device’s algorithms sort out noise and enhance desired sound in real time.
In simple terms, the smart hearing aid will adjust real-time to the current environment and will also remember your preferences in different situations based on any manual adjustments you might make.
This means the hearing aid will learn your hearing preferences over time in a wide variety of different situations. For example, your listening preferences within a busy and noisy pub or hearing tannoy announcements at a railway station. You can choose if you prefer to minimise background noise or hear “as is”.
The smart hearing aid will recognise similar situations and adjust according to the preferences it has learnt from past experience and user history.
Wireless & Bluetooth
In today’s communication-driven society, you can have most types of audio streamed into your ears safely and without distortion. With smart hearing aids, you can synchronize all of your devices and navigate between audio sources with ease, without sacrificing discretion or audio quality.
Many hearing aids can now connect to your smartphone to enhance your overall hearing experience. This is mostly done using Bluetooth technology like many other devices, and advancements in hearing aids means this feature doesn’t drain the battery like it used to.
Here are a few of the excellent features you can use with your hearing aids in conjunction with your smartphone:
1) Phone calls direct to your hearing aids
You can ask your smartphone to stream calls direct to your hearing aids, you don’t have to even pick up your phone.
2) Music and other audio to your hearing aids
Stream your favourite songs, podcasts and even real-time driving directions from Google Maps direct to your hearing aids.
3) Adjust volume and programs without fiddling with your hearing aids directly
Use your smartphone app to increase or decrease the volume – left volume, right volume or both together. You can also switch between programs or memories set up by your audiologist.
4) Check battery status
Check the battery status and percentage of your hearing aids, see instantly how much charge remains and for how long.
5) Find lost hearing aids
Modern hearing aids are now pretty small and if you can misplace your mobile phone, you can certainly misplace your tiny hearing aids! Use the apps functionality to help you seek out and find your hearing aids.
Hearing Aid Apps – from the manufacturers
Most major hearing aid manufacturers have their own app that is designed specifically for use with your hearing aids. In order to take full advantage of the smartphone features, you will need to download the app specific to your hearing aid from the Apple App Store (for iPhones) or Google Play for (Android phones).
Bespoke Hearing Apps
In addition to apps designed specifically for hearing aids, there are many other apps that can enhance your hearing experience.
• Apps that create captions for your phone calls. This supports what you can hear from the phone call.
• Apps that capture the audio from live muted TV and play you the content. This is great for muted or quiet TVs in bars, restaurants, gyms, airports or at somebody’s house where the volume seems quiet to you.
• Apps that give alerts based on different sounds – doorbell, smoke alarms and emergency sirens.
Future articles from Nantwich Hearing Centre will examine some of our favourite features from this new technology – based on customer feedback – and we will also test and rate some of the more popular apps!
At Nantwich Hearing Centre, our friendly and expert Audiologists are more than happy to explain and demonstrate the latest hearing aids and accompanying technology. Please use our contact page to call us, make an appointment or please do just pop in and say hello!
Legendary singer Roger Daltrey, from British rock band ‘The Who’ has confessed that decades of loud music has left him with a hearing loss.
According to The Mirror, Daltrey spoke out to the crowd at a solo show at the Hard Rock Resort in Las Vegas on Tuesday night, first revealing his is deaf and then offering advice to his fans.“The trouble with these ear things that I wear is that I am very, very deaf,” Daltrey said. “And I advise you all – all you rock-and-roll fans – take your earplugs to the gigs. If only we had known when we were young … we are lip-reading.” The way Daltrey performs with his hearing loss now is much different than back in the day. When performing live, he uses a combination of in-ear monitors and lipreading to help follow the music. Despite his hearing loss, he vowed that he won’t stop performing and hopes to continue playing music for many years to come. “I am lucky to be doing what I do – so thank you,” the 74-year-old said.
Hearing loss runs in the band
Daltrey isn’t the only member of The Who to admit to hearing loss. Co-founder Pete Townsend also has hearing problems of his own. “Pete deafened himself in the recording studio’ because of this, it affected the performance as ‘he had to stand next to the speakers to hear anything,” Daltrey told the Daily Mail in 2011. “I don’t know what Pete will do. I don’t want to do a tour and have him end up completely deaf.” Read more: Why musicians should be more aware of hearing loss Townsend wears hearing aids, although unlike Daltrey he links his hearing loss to listening to music through amplified headphones when he was younger, instead of loud concert music. When playing acoustic guitar, Townsend surrounded himself with plexiglass to shield himself from the deafening volume of his fellow bandmates. The two are among many famous musicians who have hearing loss, including Eric Clapton, Brian Johnson, Martin Kemp.
Read more on this article here
Tinnitus Week is taking place from 5-11 February
The aim of the week is to raise awareness of the condition, which affects approximately 1 in 10 of the population.
Raising awareness together
For the first time, the international tinnitus community will join forces to shine a light on the condition, targeting as many people as possible in order to raise awareness of how tinnitus impacts on the lives of those living with it.
This year, alongside the Tinnitus Research Initiative, Tinnitus Hub and the American Tinnitus Association, we are giving Tinnitus Week a real international boost. A new website has been set up, as a central resource collecting all the initiatives which will be taking place in 2018.
This website can be found at www.tinnitusweek.com.
They’ve been encouraging organisations, from across the world, who deal with tinnitus and other hearing-related issues such as hyperacusis and hearing loss, to work together to raise awareness of tinnitus during Tinnitus Week.
As such they’re hoping a large variety of activities will take place during the week across the globe, including local events, tinnitus information days, media interviews, science communication activities and much more.
If you will be doing anything during Tinnitus Week to help boost tinnitus awareness, please email email@example.com with the details and if suitable, these will be added to the Tinnitus Week site.
Here at the British Tinnitus Association, our campaign for the week will focus on children and young people.
The ‘Kids Talk Tinnitus’ campaign will engage with children, parents and schools to raise awareness of tinnitus amongst young people and drive the use of relevant support and resources
British Tinnitus Association reveals majority of UK parents are unaware children can have tinnitus
- The British Tinnitus Association survey found just under a third of UK parents (32%) think children under the age of 10 can have tinnitus, and just 37% think it can affect children aged 10 to 16
- The research, which coincides with Tinnitus Week (5-11 February 2018) and is part of the charity’s Kids Talk Tinnitus, also revealed many parents are unaware of the common signs of the hearing condition in children, such as anxiety or difficulty concentrating
- To help tackle the problem, the charity has created guidance for both parents and teachers
Read more on this article on the British Tinnitus Association website
It is nearly 3 years since we opened Nantwich Hearing Centre. Our aim was and still is, to provide a range of services to local residents, focussed solely on maintaining and improving their hearing health.
Our intention was never to just sell people hearing aids, but to develop long term relationships with our customers, by offering an after care service that you just do not receive from major high street retailers.
The positive response to our services has been fantastic and we have now helped hundreds of people improve and protect their hearing for the future. We are very grateful to those first few customers who put their trust in a new business and to those who have recommended us to family and friends.
We remain passionate about our business and the importance of encouraging people to take care of their hearing. We are therefore looking to expand the range of services we offer and are delighted that from mid-January we will be able to offer Micro-suction Wax Removal.
In order to be able to provide Micro-suction to the very high standard that our customers would expect from Nantwich Hearing Centre, we need to invest in re-designing and re-fitting our clinic in the Cocoa Yard.
We will therefore be closed from 13th December until the New Year while the work takes place and the new equipment is installed. Upon completion our clinic will include a treatment room dedicated to wax removal, both micro-suction and irrigation, a separate consultation room with sound proof booth, for hearing assessments and general advice on hearing health and a newly refurbished reception / waiting area.
During this period our phone line will be diverted so you will still be able to call or reach us on e-mail or via the website. Please be assured that we have not disappeared, it might just take us a little longer to deal with your enquiry.
We thank you in anticipation of your patience and very much look forward to welcoming you to the ‘new look’ Nantwich Hearing Centre in January 18.
Alan and Helen Jackson.
There are roughly 37.2 trillion cells in the human body, each of which can be categorised into one of about 200 different types. What’s remarkable about this immense number and diversity of cells is that they all came from a microscopic cluster that comprises the embryo. Many of these early progenitor cells start out the same, but they receive different programming instructions along the way that enable them to replicate and differentiate to form various tissues and organs.
Signalling pathways are cellular communication systems that govern whether a cell keeps dividing or stops, where it goes and, ultimately, what it becomes. One such pathway is Wnt (pronounced “wint”) signalling, a group of signal transmission networks that play a critical role in embryonic development. Dr. Alain Dabdoub, a scientist in Biological Sciences at Sunnybrook Research Institute, is studying how Wnt signalling affects inner ear development and hearing. A new study by his team has shown for the first time that Kremen1, a poorly understood member of the Wnt network, plays a direct role in the formation of the cochlea, a spiral-shaped auditory sensory organ in the inner ear.
“We know that initially at the very early stages [of development], Wnt signalling pushes cells to proliferate,” says Dabdoub. “Then division stops and cell differentiation occurs. We’re trying to find out what promotes this high level of Wnt and also what decreases it.”
Kremen1 is a protein that sits on the cell surface where it receives and transmits signals to the cellular machinery inside. Previous studies have shown that it blocks Wnt signalling, so Dabdoub and his team decided to investigate whether Kremen1 is involved in cell differentiation in the cochlea.
The researchers found that at an early embryonic stage Kremen1 was present in the precursor cells that give rise to hair cells and supporting cells. Shortly thereafter, Kremen1 was only found in the supporting cells that surround hair cells. When the researchers forced the precursor cells to overproduce Kremen1, fewer of them went on to become hair cells and more became supporting cells. In contrast, knocking down levels of Kremen1 resulted in more hair cells. The results were published in August 2016 in the journal Scientific Reports.
The cochlea contains tens of thousands of hair cells, which have hair bundles on their surface to detect and amplify sound. In mammals, when these cells are damaged or destroyed, they are not replaced and hearing loss results. Supporting cells, on the other hand, remain abundant during an individual’s lifetime and do not appear to be affected by the insults that batter hair cells.
Dabdoub’s research seeks to understand how the cochlea and hair cells form, as well as how these sensory cells can be replenished to restore hearing. “If you think about regeneration, where are the cells that you’re going to regenerate coming from?” he says.
The survival of supporting cells makes them excellent candidates from which to regrow hair cells, but they must first replicate to ensure there are enough to maintain a stable number of supporting cells and form new hair cells. Dabdoub thinks that exploiting the proliferation-enhancing properties of Wnt signalling will help achieve this. His finding that Kremen1 plays an important role in cell fate decisions in the cochlea will be critical to future efforts to regenerate hair cells. “This is a molecule that we should keep an eye on as we work towards regeneration,” he says.
Funding for this study came from the Hearing Health Foundation’s Hearing Restoration Project, Koerner Foundation and Sunnybrook Hearing Regeneration Initiative.
Read more at http://sunnybrook.ca/research/media/item.asp?c=2&i=1458&f=new-player-identified-hair-cell-development
Loud music and the increasing use of headphones for personal devices and consoles means children and teens are risking deafness in later life
The number of teenagers with hearing damage caused by loud music has hit an alarming level, experts warn.
Detailed tests on 170 students aged 11 to 17 showed almost all engaged in “risky listening habits” at parties, clubs and on personal devices.
More than a quarter of them were already experiencing chronic, persistent tinnitus – a ringing or buzzing in the ears that more typically affects people over 50.
Study co-author Drr Larry Roberts, of McMaster University in Canada, said: “It’s a growing problem and I think it’s going to get worse.
“My personal view is that there is a major public health challenge coming down the road in terms of difficulties with hearing .”
Further testing of the same subjects – all students at the same school in Sao Paulo, Brazil – showed that even though they could still hear as well as their peers, those experiencing tinnitus were more likely to have a significantly reduced tolerance for loud noise.
One in five Brits will suffer from hearing loss by 2035 warn experts….. Read More
This is considered a sign of hidden permanent damage to the nerves that are used in processing sound, damage that can foretell serious hearing impairment later in life.
Dr Roberts said that when the auditory nerves are damaged, brain cells increase their sensitivity to their remaining inputs, which can make ordinary sounds seem louder.
Increased loudness perception is an indication of nerve injury that cannot be detected by the audiogram, the standard clinical test for hearing ability.
Research indicates that such “hidden hearing loss” caused by exposure to loud sounds in early life deepens over the years, worsening a person’s hearing ability later in life.
Dr Roberts said the only solution is prevention.
“The levels of sound exposure that are quite commonplace in our environment, particularly among youth, appear to be sufficient to produce hidden cochlear injuries,” he said.
“The message is, ‘Protect your ears.’”
Nantwich Hearing Centre is delighted to have joined the South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce.
We look forward to meeting other chamber members and taking advantage of the benefits of membership, starting tomorrow at the welcome morning!