Kitty O’Neal passed away last week. A truly inspirational figure, left deaf from a childhood illness, she was thwarted in her dream to become a champion diver, and instead became a renowned stunt-woman, and then famously the world land speed record holder. She proved that deafness was no barrier.
In 1976 in Oregon, O’Neil set the world land-speed record for female drivers. A hydrogen peroxide powered three-wheeled rocket car called the “SMI Motivator” reached an average speed of 512.7mph, with a peak speed of 621mph.
When she retired, Kitty had set 22 speed records on land and water.
Well done Jo. Out on Sunday helping to look after our wonderful country. It’s SO important that we are all seen to have pride in our communities. The more of us that care, and are seen to care, the better we will all be.
Phonak has launched its new Audéo Marvel receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing aid which brings binaural sound to virtually any form of Bluetooth streaming—IOS, Android, or otherwise—with a unique sound classification technology yielding audio quality that impressed a group of industry experts and hearing aid users last week during a special media event and sneak-peek of the device at the company’s US headquarters in Warrenville, Ill, near Chicago. Based on the third version of Phonak’s Sonova Wireless One Radio Digital (SWORD) chip, the Audéo M is also designed to place the user at the centre of the audiological process with an array of new Smartphone apps, remote fine-tuning, and sound processing capabilities, says Phonak US President Jan Metzdorff.
PARC Research Audiologist Lori Rakita, AuD, explains how the AutoSense OS 3.0 technology classifies streamed media in real-time for optimized listening.
New levels of binaural sound quality and universality. One key feature that immediately jumps out in Audéo M is its sound quality. For real audiophiles and others accustomed to hi-fi systems, the sound quality in today’s hearing aids is very good, but can still prompt them to ask why the devices can’t sound like stereo headphones. Of course, the problem—which has been around even before made-for-iPhone (MFi) systems became available—stems primarily from the venting of the aid for real-life environmental speech and sounds. This provides the important natural sound benefits associated with open-fit aids, but has required a trade-off in streamed sound quality. With the Audéo M, Phonak has reinserted a clear richer sound into streamed music, TV, or other devices via hearing aids—and demonstrated fairly dramatic differences in a paired comparison test. The system features AutoSense OS 3.0 which reportedly classifies streamed media for optimized listening.
Phonak staff members Barb VanSomeren; Lori Rakita, AuD; Kailen Berry, AuD; Jan Metzdorff, Abby Poyser, AuD; Christine Jones, AuD, Nicole Klutz, AuD, and John Urbaniak at Phonak US headquarters near Chicago.
“We have the first classifier that also operates on the streamed signal,” said Christine Jones, AuD, Phonak US vice-president of Audiology and director of the Phonak Audiology Research Center (PARC) in Warrenville during a presentation at the media event. “Some of the early work we did highlighted that there was an opportunity with streaming—as with the unique listening environments that can also be encountered by patients—where someone’s preferences may be very different than when listening to streamed speech, or dialog in media, movies, etc. Listening goals can be different, and sound quality preferences can be different. So, now we are not only classifying the environmental sounds, but we can also classify those streamed sounds to deliver the best possible experience under all listening conditions.”
Although the advanced design of the previous Audéo B-Direct model is award-winning, it does not feature binaural streaming. With the new Audéo M, wearers can now binaurally stream audio content, including smartphone calls, music, eBooks, and more, to both ears from any Bluetooth device.
Phonak points out that iPhones account for only 13% of smartphone use worldwide compared to 86% for the Android OS, and wearers’ choices have been limited primarily to hearing aids that utilize the MFi protocol. Additionally, even with IOS-compatible devices, some forms of MFi hearing aid streaming (eg, streaming from MacBooks and iMacs) were unavailable until now. SWORD 3.0 is capable of running Bluetooth Classic, Bluetooth LE, AirStream Technology (for TV), and Binaural VoiceStream Technology for high-speed data transmission between the two hearing aids in a binaural fitting. The new system even works with Siri and LiveListen. (Phonak’s proprietary Roger 2.4 GHz signal will also have direct streaming capabilities to the hearing aid next fall.)
“This means we now have universalbinaural wireless connectivity,” said Dr Jones. “In order to have the best access to speech on the phone, it’s best to hear well with both ears. And, beyond that, we are the only product that now connects to not just Apple and Android, but any Bluetooth device. This opens up a new world of connectivity for people because of its universal nature…What this means is, that in those cases where something is not accessible through the Apple iPhone or device, it should be accessible through the hearing aid.”
Jones explained that Phonak has also created a sophisticated system called “Environmental Balance” that controls how users hear the streaming in addition to how they hear the surrounding environment, both of which can still be adjusted via the basic volume control. All of this has the potential to open up even more of the popular streaming applications.
Audéo Marvel wearers also benefit from hands-free Smartphone operation. Previously, hearing aid wearers using the MFi (and future ASHA) protocol needed to hold the smartphone up to their mouths and talk into the phone’s microphone to converse. The new hearing aids feature microphone inlets built directly into the housing, allowing wearers to have phone conversations by literally talking through their hearing aids.
Better processing and noise reduction, reducing cognitive load. Additionally, the enhanced SWORD OS incorporates Binaural VoiceStream Technology™ into Marvel hearing aids, a technology most recently employed in Advanced Bionics’ Naida CI sound processor. This four-microphone technology is reportedly capable of improving speech understanding by up to 60% in noisy places like restaurants, while simultaneously reducing the amount of effort by 19% required to listen and understand.1,2
“Audiology is at the heart of everything we do at Phonak,” said Sonova Group VP Martin Grieder in a press statement. “That’s why Marvel is such a game-changer for our industry. Marvel technology empowers people and provides a true ‘love at first sound’ experience. We believe the sound quality is second to none, and it begins the moment the person puts the hearing aids on.”
Phonak Audéo Marvel mini-charger.
Lithium-ion rechargeable technology for “a full day of streaming.” While no reliable statistics exist on the market penetration of rechargeable hearing aids, most experts estimate that about 17-20% of all hearing aids now feature rechargeability. Phonak has been a pioneer in rechargeable hearing aid technology, creating in 2016 the first lithium-ion hearing aids—a technology that appears to be gaining ground with hearing aid manufacturers.
According to Phonak, Marvel hearing aid wearers can enjoy a full day of hearing aid use—including streaming— on a single charge. The Audéo M rechargeable hearing aid also offers new features, automatically turning on or off when taken out or being placed into the charger. The system includes new LED lights and a new mini charger.
Remote fine-tuning and live voice-to-text transcription apps. With Marvel hearing aids comes the introduction of a suite of convenient smart apps. The myPhonak app allows wearers to have their hearing aids adjusted in real-time, in any situation, anywhere via videocall by the hearing care professional. It also gives consumers the ability to rate their hearing aid satisfaction in various environments and directly send this feedback to their hearing care professional.
The myCall-to-Text app reportedly provides live transcription of phone calls from the other party in more than 80 languages. This provides an extremely useful option for hearing aid users in noisy environments, or for people who prefer additional visual captions when using the phone.
New marketing campaign and rollout. A suite of marketing materials has been developed to promote the Marvel launch. Phonak US Vice-president of Marketing Barb Van Someren explained that the marketing surrounding Marvel emphasizes its multifunctionality, providing consumers with access to the world of sound that we all want via enhanced sound quality, a constellation of devices and streaming options, and phone calls. The new marketing assets highlight Phonak technology, audiology leadership, and Marvel’s diverse capabilities, and includes a video series that features two women exploring all the different ways Marvel can be used in a contemporary format (eg, the women’s dialog resembles the TV show Grace and Frankie) .
The rechargeable Audéo M-R will be available in November along with the zinc air Audéo M-312, and Phonak will add the Audéo M-312T and Audéo M-13T in February 2019. A rechargeable version of Marvel with T-Coil (Audéo M-RT) and RogerDirect functionality will be available as a firmware upgrade in Fall 2019.
It’s a card which translates your disability/impairment into symbols which highlights the barriers you face and the reasonable adjustments required. The card can be used to gain access to concessionary ticket prices for example; the theatre or to watch a gig.
I mostly use mine for gigs. As I have a severe to profound hearing loss in both ears, I pay for a ticket for myself and my companion is allowed the ‘free’ ticket. Usually it’s a friend or my partner, who knows / uses BSL (British Sign Language) as I still struggle to understand what is being said in busy environments, even with my implant / hearing aids in. Also, in the event of a fire / emergency, my companion can help communicate this to me so I can get out safely. Even with a mild hearing loss, you may still struggle and need communication help, so you will still be accepted for the Access Card.
You apply for the Access Card online at https://validator.accesscard.org.uk/apply#your-details. You will be asked to provide your medical evidence (mine was a copy of my Audiogram) and answer some questions as to how your disability affects you in your everyday life. It costs £15.00 to buy and expires in 3 years. My card came in 3 working days and I have already used it at lots of music venues, on the train when purchasing tickets as well as when out in restaurants I can show them I need communication help or just for them to be patient with me.
“To pair the headphones is very simple – you hold down the on/off button for 5 seconds and search for the headphones in your phone/Mac, whatever your device is. Usually the pin is 0000 and it will remember this for future and you will be able to connect immediately. The headphones are wireless and are open ear. The sound is sent via vibrations through the cheekbone which is good for your awareness of your surroundings. I think the vibrations certainly add to the experience however you do have to get used to it.
How do they sound?
Unfortunately I am unable to hear the music very well through them. I have a severe to profound bilateral conductive hearing loss and with bone conduction my level off loss is moderate to severe so I was expecting to hear more with these headphones than what I did. I can’t comment on the sound quality and it would be unfair with the level of hearing loss I have. I do like how my ear canals aren’t occluded and when out running the vibrations helped to keep my pace.
What are they like to wear?
I found them very comfortable to wear (I have worn them for up to two hours at a time). When out running however, the placement of the headphones often move so I am constantly having to adjust them to the correct position on my earphones. On the flip side, I have extremely small ears so it’s more difficult to get them to stay put. They are sweat resistant and I found that the connection doesn’t get lost – I haven’t had a problem so far.
When I wore the headphones with my hearing aids, I could hear the music clearly, however I feel this defeats the object of already having my Bluetooth hearing aids, (Oticon Opn). I feel these headphones would be more suited to people with a lower level of hearing loss. I do wish I could use these though!
Mrs. M’s son was kind enough to help with this. I had already provided a pair of PHONAK VIRTO V30 power ITC hearing aids, but advised that the distance from the TV was always going to cause problems, just because of sound decay over distance.
There are other strategies to deal with this problem (such as buying a new TV, re-positioning the TV, using a domestic loop system, utilise a hearing aid accessory / TV device with the hearing aids), but I came up with a far easier, less fussy and cost effective way to deal with this widespread problem.
Do not rush out and buy a sound bar!
Mrs. M can adjust the volume, bass and treble right next to her armchair, through an 80W speaker. She reports that the results are fabulous. She can now hear ‘Strictly’ just how she likes without worrying about the neighbours or visitors.
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We have invested in Opticlar loupes for our home visit staff to further improve your ear wax removal experience and your safety. Alan has been testing out all the equipment on the market, and we’ve opted for this device.
The Nottingham Hearing Practice is Inspired by Ida
FRI SEP 28, 2018 10:36 AMBy Ellen Pucke
The Nottingham Hearing Practice in Nottingham, England is the newest clinic to earn the Inspired by Ida label for person-centered care. Inspired by Ida is a program that guides both hearing care professionals and front desk staff in the fundamentals of person-centered care (PCC) and provides coaching for implementing PCC in their work via tools developed by the Ida Institute. Successful completion of the coursework and pledging a commitment to PCC principles earns clinics the Inspired by Ida label, a benchmark of quality in person-centered care.
We checked in with Jo Herrod, Co-Director and Audiologist to learn more about the Nottingham Hearing Practice’s philosophy and what earning the Inspired by Ida label means to them.
Why was it important to you that your clinic become Inspired?
We are a newly established partnership of two accomplished audiologists bringing more than 50 years of combined experience from the public and private sectors to the clinic. We share with the Ida Institute the same passion for delivering the best possible outcome for clients and we will always take on board any service, training, and new ideas that can help us maintain and improve upon our ethos.
As seasoned professionals, what did you take away from completing the Inspired by Ida program?
We have a significant dedication to our practices and we have both finely honed our patient experience over many years. Having done the Inspired by Ida courses we realize that a lot of what we do naturally echoes much of Ida’s principles. However, one never stops learning and it is easy to become complacent, hence us sharpening our skills through the Inspired by Ida program.
How would you define person-centered care?
Person-centered care means that the client in question is at the heart of whatever we do, to enable us to deliver the best possible outcome now and for their future care.
What does person-centered care mean to your clients?
I think if you asked a client “what is person-centered care?” they would have a good guess, but not recognize its importance in the work we do.
We try to convey with our marketing materials and website that they are the most important thing about what we do, and that we strive for the best possible result for them and their family. If that means putting off going down the hearing aid route for another year or so, then that is the advice we give them. Clients have been surprised when we have not “tried to sell them a hearing aid”, but this only leads to greater trust in us as a private company and sets us apart from other local providers.
The Inspired by Ida label of quality is all a part of how we demonstrate who we are to our community.
Visit our Inspired by Ida page to learn how you can join the program and earn the label as a clinic or visit our Learning Hall to earn Ida badges as an individual practitioner.
I rang on Thursday to enquire about ear wax removal for a completely blocked ear. I needed an urgent appointment, ideally on a Saturday when I wasn't at work. The fantastic receptionist rang me back and got everything sorted. The service I then received in the practice was brilliant - lovely clean clinic, reassuring, quick and easy - ear completely unblocked and I can finally hear properly. I'll be back again when it no doubt reoccurs. Comfortable and professional serviceread more
Once again, I received fantastic service when I visited The Nottingham Hearing Practice for wax removal. Jess the receptionist was great when I rang to book the appointment and Jo the audiologist took her time when we spoke in person about the problem I was having and carefully removed the wax at a steady pace so I wasn't in pain or discomfort. I couldn't recommend this practice more and will always come here for future services! Thank you.read more
I can’t thank Jo at Beeston Hearing Centre enough. I rang for an emergency appointment as I had terrible pain due to a very bad build up of ear wax. Jo was fortunately able to see me straight away. She has a lovely ,understanding,caring manner & even though it wasn’t the easiest wax to remove she persevered & to my relief she was able to clear my ear. I highly recommend this practice & have no reservations of going again.
I was quickly put at ease by this excellent team of Audioligists. The attention to all my requirements was handled in a most professional manner. I would strongly recommend a visit if you have a hearing problem of any kind.read more
My Mum had been needing a hearing aid for years for was quite nervous about going along for a test. Alan put her completely at ease and talked her through each step of the process. With the assistance of a carefully selected hearing aid my Mum now has excellent hearing again (sometimes too good)!
Thanks Alan for making it such an easy and comfortable experience.read more
I went to my GP with a problem of build up of wax in my right ear. Due to being 80% deaf in my left ear this was causing so many difficulties. My GP couldn’t have been more unhelpful, such a shame as I think the NHS are great in so many ways (but not all) After being told to go home and search google for ear wax removal I came across The Nottingham Hearing Practice in Beeston, the lady audiologist was great she explained everything and put me at ease. The relief when the wax was removed from my good ear can not be put into words. I was so impressed with this company’s approach and customer service that under my own volition, I have booked for a hearing aid test for my deaf ear. Would I recommend this practice and the staff that work there? Yes I would. Carl Whiteread more
After suffering a blocked ear overnight I made contact with this practice and Alan was able to see me on the same day and immediately diagnosed impacted ear wax. I decided to have the wax removed by micro suction and Alan put me at ease and removed the wax safely and efficiently. Very professional practice and service thank you!read more
As an audiologist myself I cannot recommend Alan Jackson and Jo Herrod highly enough. Their in-depth knowledge, and attention to detail sets them above the more impersonal service offered by the chain stores. If you are in the Nottingham area, I wouldn't consider going anywhere else!read more
My partner had been struggling with his hearing for the last few years and decided to get his hearing tested.
The team at Nottingham Hearing Practice were very professional throughout the whole process and he now has a set of digital hearing aids fitted.
He is over the moon with his replenished hearing and the TV is now back to an acceptable volume for the rest of the family.
He can't speak highly enough of the service he received from Jo and Alan.read more
I visited the practise after failing a hearing test for a new job. Id heard about a new way of having your ears cleared out through suction instead of water irrigation. I spoke with Jo on the phone and she was extremely friendly and talked to me about the process. They booked me in really quickly and the whole process on the day was slick and Jo and Alan were great. They also conducted a hearing test with me and gave me some really useful insights off the back of the results. I would strongly recommend this clinic and the team here to anyone.read more
I called today after two frustrating GP appointments and no resolution. The staff were wonderful and got me in on the same day and now all of my discomfort and hearing problems are resolved! All of the staff were amazing and very caring. I would definitely recommend and would come back again (although hopefully won’t have to!)read more
Visited the Hearing Centre today with two ears impacted with wax that left me practically deaf. I hadn't had microsuction before but this was performed by Jo and a total success. Jo was great from start to finish in both her manner and skill. Can't recommend her highly enough.read more
I can't recommend this practice highly enough. They made to feel at ease from the moment I walked in the door and explained everything really clearly. Jo resolved my pain in one ear and cleared out both ears quickly and effectively. Really pleased I can hear properly again. Well worth the money to have this done. Thank you Jo.read more
This week I was in a pretty desperate state with severe pain and tinnitus from a blocked ear and having been unable to sleep the night before, I was desperately marching around central avenue in west Bridgford to see if any of the opticians/hearing centres could help me or point me in the direction of someone who could! By some absolute miracle Jo was in the same shop, overheard my pleading with the staff and offered to help me out on a Saturday afternoon as she was going in to the shop anyway....
The process was quick, clearly explained, professional and comfortable and I cannot thank her enough for helping me out at such short notice. Would go back in a heart beat if the same happened again!read more
Excellent service and product knowledge. Nothing to much trouble and assisted in selection of the best equipment or my condition. "New Ears" purchased to replace my tired ones. The Hearing Practice is a much needed addition for those with hearing difficulties.read more
Having had my appointment at their Beeton branch, I’ve just been kindly treated to the absolute height of reassurance and clinical professionalism, and like other reviews I’ve read, I cannot recommend ‘The Nottingham Hearing Practice’ highly enough! Frankly, if I could, I’d give it far more than the five stars allowed!! Thank you TNHP!read more
J0 had been looking after me for three years when I thought that I had lost her. I was so pleased to find her again in Beeston. Not only her, but Alan as well, who had fitted me up with hearing aids in the first place. They are both such caring and helpful people, who work in a very pleasant environment. Since finding them, Jo has removed wax from my ear by suction-- an efficient and painless process -- and given me a full hearing test, both done with care and consideration. I would recommend them to anyone.read more
Posting from my daughters account...I have just had the most amazingly fantastic experience at The Nottingham Hearing Centre. Jo, the audiologist, was superb and explained everything so clearly. I didn’t feel pressured in any way and came away with excellent advice. Can’t recommend this place highly enough.read more
An excellent service from very nice and welcoming people.
I only rang this morning about my blocked ear that I couldn't hear with and by 4.30 this afternoon I had been cured by their expertise in ear wax removal.
I highly recommend this practice.read more
I woke up completely unable to hear out of my right ear and my left ear being mostly blocked as well so enquired online before the practice opened. By 9am I'd been booked in for the same day around my work commitments (even after I had to change the booking once because of a meeting change) and by 2pm I had both ears completely sorted and I could hear more clearly than I have done in years. Can't recommend them enough!read more
Fantastic experience at the Nottingham Hearing Practice. I had suction and irrigation to both ears to clear them of a build up of wax. Jo managed to fit me in on the morning I called and did a brilliant job clearing my ears. She took time to explain the procedure at each stage and was very reassuring. I will definitely use the service again, can't rate them high enough!read more