Sound …. with a bite!

25 03 2011

The SoundBite is a bone conduction hearing aid which was approved by the FDA in January and is now approved in Europe. Each aid is custom made for the patient. It transmits sound to the cochlea through the jawbone and teeth, across a frequency range of 250 to more than 12,000 Hz. The ITM (In-The-Mouth) picks up sound wirelessly from a small BTE part. It runs on rechargeable batteries. So yes, you’ll be wearing something on the ear and in the mouth, but hey, it’s this or surgery for a BAHA.

More information on this from Sonitus Medical.

Product images > after the jump.





100,000 hits!

30 11 2010

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Readers, thank you for visiting and contributing to this blog! We reached 100,000 hits today. In doing so, we are creating a community for others who are following us in their journey to managing a hearing loss.

Coming up, we have *drum roll* …. hearing aid clinic issues, bilateral cochlear implantation, cochlear implants for Ménière’s disease, the art of communication, lip reading.

Are there any issues you would like to see featured?





The world’s first invisible hearing aids

21 11 2010

I spotted this hearing aid, the iSync, which claims it is the world’s first invisible hearing aid, going deeper into the ear canal than a CIC hearing aid (Completely in Canal).  This aid fits a moderately severe hearing loss and it removes background noise so you can hear speech more clearly in noisy places. Sounds great!

Steve tested the iSync out, you can read the detailed account here, and how he feels about the iSync here.  I understand how Steve feels about pushing the iSync deep into his ear canal – I once had an audiologist push the cotton block deep into my ear canal before inserting resin for the  ear mould impression, he went a bit too far and it hurt like billy-o.

It’s great to see someone so happy with their hearing aid. Quality of life is priceless, really.

(So sorry the iSync video is not captioned!)

Phonak also supply the Lyric which stays in your ear canal for up to four months. They market as the contact lens for your ear. It is available on subscription and your hearing care specialist replaces it every 4 months for you. Easy peasy. If you are interested, just fire off a request to Phonak and they’ll tell you where to find your nearest hearing care professional.  If you live in the USA, check out their US website where you can obtain a trial of the Lyric.If you live in the San Francisco Bay area, you can take part in a free clinical study and try out the latest technology.

You can watch a short video of the Lyric here.





Bilateral implants

19 10 2010

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I’m enjoying being able to hear with my implant but as my hearing has improved, my perception of sound has shifted in my unimplanted ear. The hearing aid makes life sound truly awful now – if I can hear anything at all. The difference between my two ears is stark.

Last Thursday I wore my hearing aid all afternoon. [Do I get 5 stars?] The earmould burned my ear for 30 minutes but I kept it in. I wanted to explore the difference between the cochlear implant and hearing aid. Wearing them together in my silent office, nearby sounds suddenly seemed too loud, low and harsher. Putting my mug on my desk sounded like a crash. Ugh.

This is my first ‘hearing’ autumn, and it’s BEAUTIFUL! I took my dog to the park for a walk. With my implant, I was able to hear the autumn leaves crunch crisply and beautifully beneath my feet, the trees rustling in the wind, the traffic driving past the park, people talking and laughing as they walked past me, aeroplanes flying overhead, my footsteps on the path and other footsteps approaching and receding, my dog panting, the clicking of his nails, his ball *thunking* on the ground, the soft swish of grass under my feet, the birds sweetly tweeting.

I flipped the implant off and switched my hearing aid on.

Flashback to seven months ago.

All I could hear was the faint sound of my own footsteps. Around me was silence.

I felt so disconnected. So alone.

On the outside, looking in.

Just like I used to.

I put my implant back on and the rainbow came back. Some days I really do feel as if I have half a head of hearing. I feel as if I have an abyss on my right side. There’s nothing there to hear. Sometimes it feels as if I’m not really present. Disconnected. Unreal. So I’m thinking of getting a second implant. In the UK, this means paying for it myself, either here or abroad. Sooooo …. what’s it gonna be? An implant or a house deposit? An implant or a Porky? I’ve not yet met a bilateral user – I only know of two in the UK. Meeting a unilateral user was my tipping point a few months ago. I’m wondering what’s going to be my tipping point this time. Too much furniture? My crap driving?

The next NICE review will be in February 2011. I’m hoping they will approve bilateral cochlear implants for adults in the UK, but I’m not holding my breath. A second cochlear implant gives the user localisation of sounds, improved listening performance, and improved listening against background noise. Advanced Bionics are offering a webinar on bilateral cochlear implants tonight.

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Advanced Bionics press release –

It’s no surprise that two ears hear better than one. Just as we are born to hear with two ears, using cochlear implants in both ears (bilateral cochlear implants) gives you or your child the best opportunity to hear more naturally. Whether you are considering implants for the first time or have used one implant for years, today’s cochlear implant candidates and recipients experience many benefits of hearing with two ears. Find out if you or your child may be a candidate for bilateral cochlear implants. Hear first hand accounts from those who know best, cochlear implant recipients and their families.

REGISTRATION AFTER THE JUMP

Online. Oct 19, 2010. 6pm Pacific/Los Angeles (9pm EST/New York, 2am GMT/London)

Contact: hear@advancedbionics.com

Captioning will be available.





Why Naida? Win an iPad.

7 10 2010

Phonak are running a competition. All you have to do is to tell them why you like their Naida hearing aids and you could win an iPad.

Competition : 1000 reasons for Naida

Facebook : Phonak Naida

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New website for hard of hearing

20 07 2010

Dear Auntie Tina

I would like some suggestions on what I can design or put on my website that people who are hard of hearing might like to see. This isn’t a business venture more of a personal desire. I’m lifelong hearing aid user and recent cochlear implant in one ear.

Thanks.
Patty

Hi Patty

The best thing is probably your life experiences and observations! Everyone has stories to tell, which often help or inform others.  I’m looking forward to reading about your experiences as I’ve been a lifelong hearing aid wearer myself and my cochlear implant was switched on 4 months ago. I’m considering wearing my hearing aid in my other ear again, but keep putting this off. The cochlear implant and hearing aid are so different, what I hear through them is a world apart, it’s a tough thing to wear both at the same time.

Let us know what your website url is when it’s up and running. Looking forward to a good read!

Tina





Music makes my heart sing

19 06 2010

I’ve just had my 3 month checkup. The first person I saw was my surgeon who is a very happy bunny. All looks good! My internal implant is a little sore along the side of the bump, this turned out to be where it touches the processor. I’ll need to hop along to my opticians and get the arm of my glasses (and sunnies!) adjusted so it doesn’t press against the area behind my ear and weaken the skin.

I then went to see my audiologist. She was also very happy at my progress. I had all my electrodes set again to maximum comfort levels and was given a slight increase in sound. I asked for ClearVoice (high) to be replaced with a normal program with a wider IDR (Input Dynamic Range) of 70 for music. With a wider IDR (explained here), you gain a wider range of sound. For the last two weeks, music has sounded pretty much perfect. When I listen to my iPod with the 70 IDR, it sounds even better, it’s so beautiful that I don’t want to stop listening. If I close my eyes, I can pretend I am hearing in stereo, as I sit enveloped in this wonderful sound that is in-my-face-listen-to-me, full and rich, swirling around my head and making me feeeeel the emotion. Vocals sound normal and some are so beautiful that they make me want to cry. Isn’t this what music’s all about?

I had a hearing test and have improved in the last 2 months so this was great news. The decibel range of zero going down  to -30db is considered to be a normal range of hearing for a hearing person (above the red line).

Red dots : My hearing 3 months after activation
Blue dots : My hearing 2 weeks after activation
Black dots : My hearing before the cochlear implant

My speech and language therapist tested me on my language comprehension, in the left ear with cochlear implant only. Here’s an updated progress chart from pre-implant through 2 weeks post-implant, to my current 3 month status. I’m aiming to get all speech comprehension scores close to 100%.

KEY:
Sentences in quiet = Listening to sentences without lipreading
Words in quiet = Listening to single words without lipreading
Lipreading & sound = Lipreading and listening to a speaker’s sentences
Lipreading in quiet = Lipreading a speaker’s sentences with no sound

The biggest change has been my ability to hear sentences in a soundproof booth, it has jumped from 24% with a hearing aid to 43% with a cochlear implant. If I did not have the cochlear implant, this ability would have continued to decline. I have been able to understand some words when listening to my Harry Potter audio book, it’s so exciting when I am able to pick out a bit here and there. It’s hard work, it’s almost like concentrating but trying not to concentrate too hard – like when you look at those magic eye 3D pictures and try to see what’s hidden there. My ability to hear words in quiet hasn’t changed, as this is very difficult to do without context to help.

My lipreading in quiet scores, at 43%, are very high. I spoke to a professor whose area of interest is forensic lipreading, and she said most people would score 5% in lipreading in quiet. Deaf people get to practise lipreading every day of their lives but as there are so many homophenes and unseen phonemes, it is not possible to score 100%. It’s great that I can still lip read well – and thank goodness I can, or I’d be stuffed trying to get through all of this! I’ve been worried that my ability to lipread would decrease as I learn to hear and try to break the habit, but my audie reassures me and academic studies show this is not usually the case. However, some of my implanted friends say they cannot lipread any more, discovered when they run out of battery power and are forced to rely on lipreading. So I don’t really know if I’ll be able to hang onto my lipreading ability.

I have experienced some new sounds in the last month. The beeping as the green man (walk/don’t walk) sign flashes when I cross the road, and I can hear it All The Way Across The Road. Amazing! I went to see a ballet, Swan Lake, at the Royal Albert Hall.  This was my first visit to a ballet. I was able to hear the orchestra very well and was surprised to see the ballet dancers enter and exit stage very beautifully and gracefully, but with an incongruously ungraceful THD THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD at the same time! I peeled a banana this morning and was surprised by the loud SSSSSSSSSSS sound it made. I then popped out to the shops and another new sound had me jumping in fright so much so that I almost threw myself into the nearest wall. I heard this very loud and deep roar right behind me, I could almost feel it and it jumped out of nowhere, I didn’t know what it was, and it frightened the crap out of me. I used to be scared of dogs that jumped and barked at me so maybe this is where that fright came from, apart from it being so loud and unexpected. I then saw a Harley Davidson go past, obviously it revved just before it reached me. SHEESH!

Although singing voices sound normal, speaking voices don’t sound normal yet (when people talk to me directly) although they are not far off.  I feel as if I am living on Planet Cartoon as people walking past still sound like Minnie Mouse or Donald Duck.

And my shoes squeak all the time! Bah!