Everything you need to know about Invisible Hearing Aids…

Many Hearing aid users are conspicuous about the way their hearing instrument looks; however, this is not something that should be of concern. Looking after your hearing should be a top priority, just how we perceive eye care, dental, etc. When it comes to needing assistance with our hearing, many of us experience some form of self-consciousness about wearing a hearing aid. This is something that should be in the past as with the advancements in technology, the availability of invisible in-the-ear hearing aids are becoming much more common. This is something that can easily solve your hearing problems and you can put your hearing health first.

Invisible hearing aids fit deep into the ear canal and are so discreet that from many angles you cannot visibly see the hearing aid, therefore, making it virtually invisible. The hearing aid is always custom-fitted to the shape and size of the ear canal. This is done by taking a deep ear impression by the audiologist to obtain the correct size and shape of the hearing aid. The Audiologist will also take into consideration your lifestyle and individual hearing requirements to get you hearing to the best of your ability. The size of the hearing aid also makes it very lightweight; this means you can sometimes even forget you are wearing a hearing aid.

For existing hearing aid users an invisible in-the-ear hearing aid seems to be a very attractive option as it can reduce the stigma of wearing a hearing aid as discussed.

Along with being the most discreet solution in the market, invisible hearing aids are also very convenient. Due to the depth of the hearing aid in the ear canal, it means it is much closer to the eardrum providing a better sound quality than the traditional behind-the-ear hearing aid. This also means the hearing aid does not need as much power to reach the same capacity as a behind-the-ear hearing aid. Because the hearing aid is moulded to the shape of the ear canal, this greatly reduces the chances of any feedback or whistling when carrying out activities such as using the telephone. This was a big issue with the traditional style of hearing aid.

The user can also experience a vast improvement in the comfort of the hearing aid. This can be achieved in two ways. Firstly, the hearing aid will create fewer vibrations as it is custom-fitted deep into the ear canal, this means the user will attain a better natural rich sound quality. Secondly, there are no other attachments to the hearing aid such as wires or ear moulds, the sophisticated placement of the invisible hearing aid can allow the user to better understand sound localization, therefore, reducing the amount of guesswork the user may have to do when listening to sounds.

With all the advancements to hearing aids is it easy to see why an invisible in-the-ear hearing aid is always the most popular option.

However, there is some limitation to this style of hearing aid. Clients will need to take into consideration some factors which are beyond the control of the hearing aid dispenser. The level of hearing deterioration is one of the most important factors to consider. The hearing aid would struggle to amplify the sounds for a user who has severe/profound hearing loss. This is due to the limiting space in the actual hearing aid shell itself. The powerful speakers and sound processors would not be able to fit into the shell, therefore, limiting the use for clients with mild/moderate hearing losses.

Dexterity issues can also be a problem. This is because this style of hearing aid uses a very small battery which can be a limiting factor. If this is the case a user may be better suited to a rechargeable hearing aid system.

Another factor to consider would be visual impairment. The hearing aid will need to be placed into the ear canal in a specific direction otherwise the client will not benefit from the sound quality.

If you are not sure which style would suit you best, you can discuss this further with the hearing care professional from Otec Hearing. Discussing your lifestyle, hearing loss, and needs for the system would allow the hearing aid consultant to help you make the best decision for your hearing.

Book your free hearing test and 2-week hearing aid trial with Otec Hearing to see how we can make a difference to your quality of life.

Invisible in the canal (IIC) hearing aids

Invisible in the canal (IIC) hearing aids are designed to be completely unnoticeable. They are made to fit completely in the ear canal, the hearing aid dispenser will require your ear impressions to have them manufactured.

With the advancements in miniature technology, manufacturers such as Starkey have been able to produce IIC instruments with technology to give you the freedom to carry out your daily routine and rediscover the emotions of sound. Using the latest innovations, IIC hearing aids will seamlessly integrate into your lifestyle. The main thing your family and friends will notice is the improvement in your hearing confidence.

This type of solution is completely custom and is made just for you. We offer a variety of invisible hearing aids with Otec Hearing from our clinics in Lincoln and Huddersfield. The hearing aid dispenser can carry out a full hearing consultation to discuss your lifestyle, requirements, and needs. Hearing tests, speech tests and a visual otoscopic examination can help the Audiologist determine whether this type of solution is suitable for you.

As with every hearing aid solution, there are benefits and points to consider.

Benefits include that it is an invisible hearing aid, it is completely discreet and cannot be seen by other people. Other advantages are the ease of use with a telephone, this is because the microphone is positioned on the faceplate therefore increasing the connection between the microphone and telephone receiver.

Points to consider include

  • The ear canal must be large enough to accommodate the device
  • The technology is not the best in background noise situations & is not suitable if you have manual dexterity issues.
  • The battery can only last between 3-5 days.

Otec Hearing can offer hearing aid trials on invisible hearing aids. This allows the consumer to test the product in their daily environments. A hearing aid trial gives you a true representation of what it is like to live with an invisible hearing aid. At Otec Hearing the Hearing aid dispenser will work with you until we find the correct solution for you and your lifestyle. To find out more about our invisible hearing aid solution trials, please feel free to get in touch with us.

Taking the necessary precautions during the Covid-19 Pandemic

On the 5th of May 2020 Audiology professional bodies including AHIPP, BAA, BSA and BSHAA released joint clinical guidance for Audiology practitioners to update all members on how to practice safely during the Covid-19 Pandemic. The guidance has been collated with input from the infection control society and ENT UK. At Otec Hearing we have now put in place a Covid-19 PPE policy to take all the necessary precautions set out by our professional bodies. These include…

·      Fluid-resistant facemasks for the Audiologist

·      Surgical facemasks for patients

·      Disinfecting clinics between appointments

·      Handwashing between appointments

·      Single-use gloves

·      Sterile single-use testing equipment

·      70% alcohol hand sanitiser

We are committed to setting our high standards even higher to ensure our clients’ needs are met and are treated in the safest way/environment possible. To find out more information or to read the joint clinical guidance please visit BSHAA

What does Ear Wax Do?

It’s no secret, we all have ear wax. It’s a perfectly normal substance that’s created by our body and it’s always going to be around. What many don’t understand, however, is the purpose of ear wax, and how important its role actually is.

Ear wax assists in the removal of unwanted debris from the ear. Naturally, throughout our lives, the ear canal will fill with unwanted dirt and hair and the ear wax’s job is to dispose of this. Generally speaking, wax does a great job at this, and you’ll never really notice it whilst it’s at work. Unwanted debris in the ear canal will be taken care of automatically and can be encouraged by little things such as movement from the bottom jaw.

Ear wax also makes for a fantastic protective barrier for the eardrum, which is an extremely important and sensitive part of the human body. Damaging the eardrum can lead to sensorineural hearing loss, which is often not surgically treatable. In short, it’s important to keep our eardrums safe, and ear wax helps us to do this.

On top of all of this, ear wax contains antibacterial properties, which help keep the ear clean and protect it from infection.

We wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s a man’s best friend though. Ear wax is amazing in moderation, but sometimes it can build up excessively – to a point where it’s causing what’s known as an ‘impaction’.

When an impaction happens, you may find that the ear becomes irritated and uncomfortable. It may also be harder to hear and understand people in social situations. When this happens, excess ear wax needs to be removed. A method recommended by professionals is ‘Microsuction’; the removal of excess wax from the ear canal.

Otec Hearing offer Microsuction ear wax removal in the Lincoln & Huddersfield areas. For more information, head over to our Microsuction page, or give us a call on 01522 305400.

Ear Wax Removal at Home

Whether we like it or not, ear wax is part of our body, and it’s something that we all have to deal with. Having wax inside the ear is completely normal, and usually, you’ll never even notice that it’s there. However, occasionally you may find that the wax in your ear may be built up to a point where it’s uncomfortable and sometimes even painful. This can easily end up disrupting your daily life, distracting you, and making simple tasks much harder.

There are several treatments for ear wax removal, which can be done by a professional, either at a clinic or in the comfort of your own home. Whilst this is fantastic, there are some home remedies that you can try, that may help to deal with the discomfort of excess ear wax.

Before we go on to some of the solutions, we have to make it clear that it is not recommended to put objects into your ear in an attempt to remove excess wax. A common misconception is using cotton swabs to clean your ears. This can lead to harming the ear, with the potential to cause irreversible damage. Although it can be tempting, we highly recommend avoiding this.

One of the recommended methods would be to pour a couple of drops of olive oil periodically throughout the day over a few days to see if it makes a positive difference. Olive oil can soften ear wax built up in the ear canal, encouraging it to fall out. It’s a relatively cheap method of removing wax from the ears, and it is a reliable solution for many.

Some with built-up ear wax may also benefit from using water within a syringe to soften and remove wax. Warm water is known to have a similar effect to olive oil, which may soften the wax in the ear canal which helps it to be removed. Irrigation sets can be bought for your own home which includes all the necessary tools to try this. Whilst it is a cheaper alternative to other methods of wax removal, it’s not our top recommendation.

Whilst irrigation has been a relatively popular choice in the past, there are now concerns with the pressure from the water of a syringe when fired into the ear canal, which may damage the ear. There are now other methods of ear wax removal that have been introduced, which are comfortable, quick, and successful.

One method recommended is Microsuction, which is the removal of wax from the ear canal using a suction probe. Microsuction ear wax removal is often described as comfortable and painless and is the recommended method of clearing excess wax by many professionals.

To find out more about Microsuction Ear Wax Removal, visit our Ear Wax Removal page, or give us a call on 01522 305400.

What is Microsuction, and what are the benefits?

When left untreated, excess wax building up in the ear canal can leave an individual to suffer from conductive hearing loss. Microsuction is a popular method of ear wax removal carried out by hearing care professionals. It involves the practitioner using a microscope to view the ear wax within the ear canal, then using a suction probe to vacuum excess wax out of the canal.

Microsuction ear wax removal is often the preferred method for ear wax removal, in comparison to other more traditional treatments, such as syringing (or irrigation) due to be being easier and quicker. Microsuction treatment is often described as comfortable, painless, and extremely efficient.

If left untreated, excess earwax may result in some of the following symptoms:

• Loss of hearing
• Earache
• Tinnitus (noises in the ear)
• Hearing aids become less efficient
• Your own voice may sound different
• Irritation around the ear

There are some clear benefits to microsuction treatment. Following the procedure, patients will often feel as though their hearing has improved, due to their canal being cleared. This can result in an extremely positive lifestyle change, as they’ll be able to understand speech clarity much better in social situations. Patients should also find themselves no longer suffering from earaches, pains, or ringing in the ears as a result of excess wax in the ear canal.

Otec Hearing provides microsuction ear wax removal which is carried out by our highly qualified hearing care professionals. Please visit either our Lincoln or Huddersfield page for more information, or get in touch by contacting us on 01522 305400.

Hearing Aid Maintenance

Looking after your Hearing Aids after having them fitted is extremely important, as keeping your hearing aid in good working order will minimize the potential problems you may have in the future. There are some simple things you can implement into your life to minimise the potential for any cropping up at some point.

Although it sounds pretty straight-forward, it needs to be mentioned. Hearing aids are not waterproof so make sure you do not shower or carry out any water sports with any hearing aids in. This tip is fairly obvious but understand that a hearing aid can very quickly become something you forget about when you’re using it throughout the day. We recommend you be cautious when just starting with a hearing aid and remember to take them out when necessary. It’s also advisable not to leave your aids in the bathroom, as any condensation can damage the electricals in the aids.

Using a drying kit for your hearing aids is a good way to keep them free from moisture. Custom-made aids usually cause the most condensation as they are fitted to the contour of your ear. Using a special drying kit will keep the aids in good working order.

It’s not just water that can harm a hearing aid, however. Body care products such as hairspray can block the microphone ports, so it’s advisable to remove your hearing aids before using any products such as this. When not in use, it’s also recommended that hearing aids are put in a carrying case to prevent any potential damage from happening to them.

At Otec Hearing as part of your lifetime aftercare, we offer a routine 6 monthly service call appointment. This is to protect your hearing aids from dirt or greasy hands, which is important, as the small microphone ports can become blocked through them being mishandled.

Private Hearing Aids vs NHS Hearing Aids

When it comes to hearing care and choosing a hearing aid, an individual usually has a choice between going through the NHS or a private practitioner. There are some benefits and drawbacks to both options, which could be useful to know when deciding on going with one or another.

With an NHS aid, you are very limited in choice as to the style of the aid that you will be provided. Typically, you’ll be fitted with a ‘Behind the Ear’ with an ear mould or a thin plastic tube. Whilst this type of aid will do the job, they do tend to be lower-priced, with quite a basic technology level. This can result in a user having difficulty understanding speech clarity. There are clear benefits to this, however, as hearing care with the NHS is a more affordable option than going private in many instances.

In contrast, privately supplied aids often offer a much wider range of advanced technology and include the most invisible, discreet models to suit the individual wearer. A person has much more variety and choice when choosing a private hearing aid, and with so many options in 2020, there is no denying how beneficial it is for an individual to fully explore the different types of aids available. They can then take the recommendation from a professional on which model is best suited for their budget and lifestyle.

So, at the end of the day, there isn’t one choice right for everyone. The decision does come down to the individual and their needs and requirements. At Otec Hearing, we offer free lifetime aftercare as part of your solution. Our lifetime aftercare programme enables us to ensure you’re getting the optimum benefit from your hearing solution. As your hearing changes, we have the scientific knowledge and experience to fine-tune your hearing aid to give you the best possible listening experience. The technology levels we have available also means we have hearing aids to suit any type of hearing loss with a budget to suit everybody’s needs and lifestyle.

With a free hearing test where we come to you, it’s always worth seeking what a professional has to say and weighing up both options before committing to one or the other.

Top 5 UK Industries Developing Hearing Problems

Many of the working class don’t think about their health, especially their hearing when thinking about their job. There are, however, some clear links to certain health problems and job occupations, some of which may surprise you.

According to the Office of National Statistics, it was estimated that 260,472 people in the UK suffered from some type of Hearing Problem in 2017. It’s very alarming how little people know about the risks associated with their job, and the complications it can have on their health later down the line.

5.) Someone working within skilled trades may be at higher risk of having troubles with their hearing, some studies suggest. Taking all main occupations into account, it is estimated that Skilled Trades make up for 10.28% of the total number of workers within the UK suffering from hearing difficulties. Those working in construction, including bricklayers, joiners, and welders, are prone to persistent and loud noises from machines and equipment within the workplace. This can result in sensorineural hearing loss, having the potential to cause hearing problems later in life.

4.) The next occupation most likely to develop a hearing problem is those within the Educational industry. According to a recent NEU survey, 74% of school support staff in the UK confirmed that they work additional uncontracted hours. These added pressures are known to lead to stress and anxiety, which both are known to have a profound impact on one’s hearing. For this reason, added pressures within this field are bound to correlate with why it is fourth on this list.

3.) Managers and Senior officials are job occupations that are linked with hearing problems. Similarly, to those working in the educational industry, the added stress in the workplace can take its toll on one’s hearing over a prolonged period. Although this may not be due to working extra hours, a reason for this may be the added responsibilities that are intrinsic to their job role. It is estimated that 14.23% of UK workers with hearing difficulties link back to this industry.

2.) From our findings, those within the Associate, Professional and Technical industry are estimated to make up for 15.42% of all UK workers suffering from some type of hearing problem. Engineers and technicians are known to work within a loud environment with loud machinery consistently in use throughout the working day. Although ear protection is recommended when working on machines, prolonged exposure to loud noises throughout the day is bound to have consequences for those working within this field.

1.) The industry affected the most is one that many would not initially suspect. Those within professional occupations are estimated to make up for 16.62% of all workers in the UK suffering from hearing issues. Although this is surprising, there is a valid explanation as to why this is so high. Job roles in this category include doctors and lawyers. Working within this type of environment is often intense and puts high amounts of pressure on those workers, due to the high stakes involved within their day-to-day roles. With stress and anxiety corresponding with hearing problems, especially long-term, it makes a lot of sense as to why this was the industry ranking at number one in terms of workers with hearing issues.

Hearing loss is one of the world’s most common health problems and unfortunately it is also one of the most ignored problems too. This is very unfortunate as hearing loss and its psychological effects are highly treatable. Hearing tests are often free and come with worthwhile advice on looking after your ears. It’s highly recommended to book in for a consultation with an Audiologist such as Otec Hearing if you have any concerns on your hearing.

Receiver in the Canal Hearing Aids

This blog continues our series on us covering the different types of hearing aids. We’ve covered many of the popular options, including some such as ‘Invisible in the Ear Canal’ (IIC), ‘Completely in the Canal’ (CIC), and ‘In the Canal’ (ITC) hearing aids. Within this article, we reference these hearing aids and compare them against one another. If you haven’t already, we recommend you read through our blogs on these before continuing this one.

We will be covering ‘Receiver in the Canal’ (RIC) hearing aids in this article and will be putting it up against some other popular choices.

RIC hearing aids sit behind the ear, with the receiver being located inside the ear canal. This is ideal positioning as sounds can travel directly into the ear via an invisible electrical receiver wire.

What’s great about RIC hearing aids is that they can house two different types of batteries. These are available in a size 10 (4-7 day) battery life, size 312 (7-10 day) battery life, with some RIC hearing aids available in a rechargeable option. They are also available at any technology level.

There are some clear advantages to choosing a RIC aid, one of these being that different power receivers can be fitted depending on the severity of hearing loss. This can make the hearing aid future-proof, as the power levels can be changed if the user’s hearing deteriorates. A more natural rich sound quality is also made available from these aids, as they do not completely occlude the ear canal. The different domes available can make the hearing aid fit severe or profound losses and any size ear canal.

These hearing aids can be connected to your smartphone, so you can have full control over them in any environment. Furthermore, the aids are very light in weight making the user feel very comfortable. And to top it all off, the increased microphones make listening to speech in the background is easier, which is fantastic for when the user is in public places.

RIC hearing aids may sound like a fantastic choice, although there is a catch to them. Poor dexterity or visual problems can make the insertion and removal of the aid difficult. The aid will also require regular cleaning, as any blockage in the microphone port or receiver could potentially block sounds coming out of the aid. On top of this, when using a landline phone with this aid, the telephone receiver has to be held in an unnatural position. This is not ideal for those who use telephones frequently within their daily lives of jobs.

Does a Receiver in the Canal hearing aid sound like a practical option for you? At Otec Hearing, we select and recommend hearing aids based on your requirements. Give us a call to book your free hearing test on 01522 305400.