In the Ear Hearing Aids

In this blog, we are resuming our series on 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 ‘In the Ear’ (ITE) hearing aids in this instalment and highlighting the pros and cons of this particular type of aid.

ITE hearing aids are the largest type of custom-made aid and cover the full external ear. Much like IIC, CIC, and ITC hearing aids, ear impressions are required for this type to fit the ear of the user. ITE aids use a size 13 battery, typically the lifespan of this battery can last up to 14 days.

What’s great about an ITE aid is that it can cover profound hearing losses, making these the most powerful custom-made aid available. They are also best suited for someone who has dexterity issues as the insertion and removal is extremely easy. The dual microphones of the In the Ear hearing aid can make an understanding of speech in a noisy environment easier for someone suffering from hearing loss. Much like the ITC aids, ITE’s are completely wireless and can be connected with smartphones and wireless accessories, which is very beneficial to some.

Like any hearing aid, there are some disadvantages. The ITE shares similar drawbacks to the ITC. One example of this is that this hearing aid is larger and more exposed. The bigger size can put off those who are wanting their hearing aid to be hidden. On top of this, if the canal of the user changes shape, the aid may have to be re-shelled to fit your ear once again.

Does an In the Ear hearing aid sound like a good option for you? At Otec Hearing, we provide you with a free hearing test and give you sound advice about what hearing aid would be best for you, should you need one. Why not give us a call to arrange your consultation on 01522 305400.

In the Canal Hearing Aids

In this blog, we are continuing our series on different types of hearing aids. So far, we’ve covered ‘Invisible in the Ear Canal’ (IIC) and ‘Completely in the Canal’ (CIC) 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 this one.

We will be covering ‘In the Canal’ (ITC) hearing aids today, and highlighting both their pros and cons.

In the Canal, aids are larger than CIC hearing aids and are designed to fit the lower half of the external ear. They also require ear impressions to fit your ear, much like CIC and IIC hearing aids. What sets this aid apart from the other aids mentioned, however, is that the ITC aids use a size 312 battery which can last between 7 and 10 days, compared to the 3-5 days that the other two provide. What is also important to note though, is that the faceplate and battery draw of this hearing aid is fully exposed, making it much more visible in comparison to the IIC and CIC options.

Because it is larger, the ITC hearing aids are a handy alternative to the IIC and CIC options for people who may have manual dexterity issues. Its bigger size also means that can house a more powerful receiver, making it an option for those who have severe hearing losses. Also, due to its size, its bigger faceplate and microphones make understanding speech much easier. In the Canal Hearing Aids are completely wireless, and can be connected with smartphones and wireless accessories, which is very beneficial to some.

It does have some drawbacks, however. Its bigger size can put off those who are wanting their hearing aid to be hidden, and if the ear canal of the user changes shape, the aid may have to be re-shelled to fit your ear once again.

Do you think an ITC hearing aid could be suitable for you? At Otec Hearing, we ensure that you are provided with a hearing aid that meets your specific needs. Feel free to get in touch with us for more information.

Completely in the Canal Hearing Aids

With so many types of hearing aids out there, it can be difficult to make a choice on one that will suit your requirements and lifestyle, should you need one. In this blog, we are going to be covering the ‘Completely in the Canal Hearing Aid’ (CIC) hearing aid and go through both its positives and negatives.

In our last blog, we wrote about the ‘Invisible in the canal’ (IIC) hearing aid. We do reference this type of hearing aid in this blog, so we recommend giving that one a read for more information on that type of aid.

CIC hearing aids are the next size up from the IIC aids, although like the IIC hearing aids, CIC aids still require the Hearing Aid Dispenser to take ear impressions, so they fit into your ear canal. The main difference between the two styles is that the faceplate and battery draw is more exposed to the CIC which makes them almost invisible, in comparison to the IIC, which is completely hidden.

The major advantages to using this particular hearing aid are that it’s available in several power options unlike the IIC, which is only available in one, this means that the CIC is suitable for those who may have severe hearing losses. Also, despite it not being as hidden as the IIC, the CIC is almost completely invisible, which is extremely good for those who don’t want their hearing aids to be seen by others. Like the IIC, the CIC’s microphone position makes it an extremely practical option for tasks like answering the telephone.

However, there are also some disadvantages to this particular type of hearing aid, and a number of its faults are similar to the IIC aid. To start, CIC aids are also not the greatest in situations with lots of background noise, which isn’t ideal when in public places. They also share the issue of being more susceptible to failure due to moisture and wax in the ear canal, which can block the microphones within the aid. The hearing aid may also need to be re-shelled in the future if the size of the ear canal changes. The CIC also shares a similar battery life to the IIC, which is around 3-5 days as a result of their size. The size also means that a CIC may not be suitable for those with manual dexterity issues.

At Otec Hearing, we will recommend to you the hearing aid that suits your requirements best. If you have any questions about Completely in the Canal hearing aids, or any other form of aids, feel free to contact us! You can do so by emailing us or giving us a call on 01522 305400.

Invisible in the Ear Canal Hearing Aids

There are many hearing aids to choose from, but you must select one to suit your individual needs, should you ever need one. Today, we are going to be covering the ‘Invisible in the canal’ (IIC) hearing aid and go through both its positives and negatives.

IIC hearing aids are the smallest and most discreet hearing aid on the market. They are manufactured by taking ear impressions so that they fit entirely into your ear canal. This is what gives them the name ‘invisible’, as they are completely hidden. Because of their size, IIC hearing aids power with a size 10 battery – the smallest hearing aid battery.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to this type of aid. One of the first main advantages of this hearing aid is the fact that it is virtually invisible, this is important to people who may not want people to see that they use a hearing aid. IIC hearing aids are also known for their ease of use when using a telephone, which makes them very practical. On top of this, the position of the microphone within the hearing aid is very good.

However, there are some downsides to using this particular type of hearing aid. One of the main disadvantages is the battery size. As it is so small, an IIC can only last around 3-5 days, which is not a long time in comparison to other hearing aids. Another downside to their size is that they are not suitable for those who suffer from manual dexterity issues. IIC aids are also not the greatest in situations with lots of background noise, which is not ideal when in public places. In addition, IIC hearing aids have been known to be more susceptible to failure as a result of moisture and wax in the ear canal, which can block the microphones.

At Otec Hearing, we ensure that if you need a hearing aid, you are given one that suits your individual needs and requirements.

Get in contact with us for more information on hearing aids by calling us on 01522 305400.

What Happens During a Hearing Test?

Hearing tests are something that many people will have at some point during their lives. If you’re someone who has never had a hearing test, we hope this article can be useful in telling you what to expect if you do need to attend one later down the line.

A hearing test is carried out by a qualified Audiologist. The purpose of a hearing test is to gain a clear concise picture of your hearing health. The results can indicate what type of hearing loss you may have, it can show us the severity of the loss across a range of frequencies and what type of hearing aid may be suitable for your hearing loss. At Otec Hearing, our expert hearing aid dispensers will take their time in understanding your lifestyle, needs for a hearing aid and any personal challenges you may have.

A thorough medical history is also discussed to determine any health effects on your hearing. Once this has been completed a medical device called an Audiometer will be used to carry out the hearing test. The test is carried out by the Audiologist who will ask you to wear some calibrated headphones. This is known as air conduction – the sounds you can hear via headphones. Once you have the headphones on you will hear a range of different beeps and buzzes at different frequencies. The Audiologist will ask you to respond to the quietest sounds you can hear by pressing a response button.

Testing is also carried out with a headband called a bone conductor; the bone conductor is placed on the back bony area of the ear. The patient again responds to the quietest sounds with the response button.
Air conduction and bone conduction results and plotted on a graph called an Audiogram. The Audiologist will discuss the hearing test results with you and inform you of the severity of your hearing loss. If you have a free hearing test at Otec Hearing, our experts will then offer you certain hearing aid solutions and discuss which one may be the best to suit your lifestyle and needs. If there is a hearing loss present the Audiologist will offer a demonstration to show you the difference in rediscovering your hearing. At this point, you also have the option to start your free hearing aid trial on the day so you can experience your hearing ability with the equipment in various environments.

Preventing Hearing Loss

Hearing loss affects 1 in 6 people, this is almost over 10 million people in the UK who suffer. Hearing loss cannot always be avoidable as it is part of the gradual ageing process. There are some steps you can take to avoid damage to your hearing system no matter how old you are.

Firstly, it is best to avoid situations where there are excessive background noises, you can make a judgement on how loud peripheral noises are if you are having to raise your voice in order to be heard. Other red flags are if you struggle to hear the person next to you or if you experience pain in your ears. Prolonged noise exposure in these environments can cause permanent damage to your hearing. To keep your ears healthy, it is recommended you minimise your time in areas with high noise pollution.

It is quite common for an individual to have their headphone or earphone volume higher than it is recommended. But what effect does this have? Using headphones or earphones excessively at high volumes can cause hearing impairment. It is advisable to have the volume level at no more than 65% of the maximum volume. Headphones with noise-cancelling technology are the better choice to use as this will prevent you from having to turn up your overall volume in order to block out surrounding sounds.

If you work in a particularly noisy environment it is the duty of your employer to make changes to your working conditions to reduce as much noise pollution as possible. This can be done by changing the job/machinery you work on. Make sure you are not exposed to loud noises for prolonged periods. Your employer must provide you with hearing protection if it’s required.

We hope this article has been helpful, if you still have any questions regarding preventing hearing loss, feel free to get in touch with us by emailing us or giving us a call on 01522 305400.

Signs and Diagnosis of Hearing Loss

Signs and Diagnosis of Hearing Loss:
For many people, hearing loss is a natural and gradual part of the aging process. Hearing loss can also be caused by genetic medical conditions, ear infections, illness, traumatic injury, or prolonged exposure to noise. It is reported that there are more than 10 million people in the UK with hearing loss. Hearing loss is one of the world’s most common health problems. It is also one of the most ignored problems, this is unfortunate because hearing loss and its psychological side effects are highly treatable.

How do I know if I’m suffering from Hearing Loss?
There are many signs of hearing loss, these can include:

  • asking people to repeat themselves
  • difficulty understanding speech clarity in a noisy social situation such as bars & restaurants
  • having the volume of the TV louder than others
  • difficulty in locating the direction of sounds and poor understanding when following group conversations.

Who diagnoses me with Hearing Loss, if it’s something I’m suffering from?
A hearing test is carried out by a qualified health care professional or an Audiologist. The test can last up to 20 minutes and gives a diagnosis as to whether you may or may not have a hearing loss, if a hearing loss is detected the severity and type of hearing loss can be determined. At Otec Hearing, we provide a free hearing test, and we come to you. Visit our hearing test page for more information.

How can hearing loss be treated?
Hearing loss is treated depending on the type of hearing loss present. Medications such as steroids or a small surgical procedure to remove a blockage can be used as a treatment. Alternative treatments such as hearing aids which are assistive medical devices can help provide rich sound quality in many environments. If you have any questions or queries around hearing loss, feel free to get in touch with us by either emailing us or calling us on 01522 305400.

Learn more about the Invisible in the canal (IIC) Hearing Aid

There are many hearing aids to choose from, but it’s important you select one to suit your individual needs, should you ever need one. Today, we are going to be covering the ‘Invisible in the canal’ (IIC) hearing aid and go through both its positives and negatives.

IIC hearing aids are the smallest and most discreet hearing aid on the market. They are manufactured by taking ear impressions so that they fit entirely into your ear canal. This is what gives them the name ‘invisible’, as they are completely hidden. Because of their size, IIC hearing aids power with a size 10 battery – the smallest hearing aid battery.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to this type of aid. One of the first main advantages of this hearing aid is the fact that it is virtually invisible, this is important to people who may not want people to see that they use a hearing aid. IIC hearing aids are also known for their ease of use when using a telephone, which makes them very practical. On top of this, the position of the microphone within the hearing aid is very good.

Phonak Virto B-Titanium Invisible Hearing Aids

Featured IIC Hearing Aid:

The Phonak Virto B-Titanium is a prime example of an Invisible in the canal hearing aid. The size and shape of the aid mean that the device will rest inside of the ear, earning it the phrase of ‘invisible’. The B-Titanium has two different models, get in touch with us for more information on this particular hearing aid.

However, there are some downsides to using this particular type of hearing aid. One of its main disadvantages is its battery size. As IICs are so small, they can only last around 3-5 days, which is not a long time in comparison to other hearing aids that we at Otec offer. Another downside to their size is that they are not suitable for those who suffer from manual dexterity issues. IIC aids are also not the greatest in situations with lots of background noise, which is not ideal for a user when they’re in public places. On top of this, IIC hearing aids have been known to be more susceptible to failure as a result of moisture and wax in the ear canal, which blocks the microphones.

Despite some of its problems, an IIC hearing aid can still be a strong choice depending on the users preferences and lifestyle. Are you unsure if this particular hearing aid could be the right choice for you? At Otec Hearing, we ensure that if you require a hearing aid, you are given one that suits your individual needs. Get in contact with us for more information on hearing aids by calling us on 01522 305400.

Types & Causes of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a common problem and affects the ability partially or totally for an individual to hear. It can affect any age group from children to adults.

There are two types of hearing loss, these can be identified as conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss. A conductive hearing loss usually occurs when there is a blockage or a defect in the middle ear, this can be caused by excessive ear wax build-up, damaged eardrums, middle ear infections, fluid behind the eardrum, and the rigidity of the 3 ossicular bones in the middle ear. Conductive hearing losses are usually treated by a physician or ENT consultant and often have a high success rate. Hearing aids can be very successful if the hearing loss is unable to be treated medically.

A sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner hair cells in the Cochlea, this causes impairment to the transmission of sound to the brain resulting in hearing loss. The main cause of this hearing loss is the natural aging process. Noise exposure can also damage the inner hair cells, genetic factors can also affect sensorineural loss. There is no medication or surgery available to regenerate the inner hair cells and the only treatment for this type of hearing loss is a hearing instrument. At Otec Hearing, we provide hearing tests and can recommend the correct hearing aid to suit your needs should you need one.

Hearing loss can be caused by many different factors, some of which we have no control over, this includes ear infections, excessive ear wax build-up or head injuries. However, factors such as excessive noise exposure may cause hearing loss, which is something that we can control.

So, in conclusion, hearing loss is something that happens to us all, and in some instances, we can’t do a whole lot about it. However, where we can, we should ensure that we protect and take care of our ears as they are extremely precious. For more information on hearing loss, feel free to get in contact with us by dropping an email, or giving us a call on 01522 305400.

Tinnitus Awareness Week

This week is Tinnitus Awareness Week (TAW). It is an annual event which is taking place from 6-12 February supported by the British Tinnitus Association.

Activity will be based around the campaign ‘Together for Tinnitus’ which is intended to generate discussion about tinnitus and raise awareness of the work being carried out and support provided by the British Tinnitus Association and other services across the UK.

The association will be working hard to raise awareness amongst GPs about the condition and the treatment options available, so they feel confident to support patients who are experiencing this often distressing and debilitating condition.

During the week, they will be launching their official ‘Tinnitus Guidance for GPs’ document which will provide the most up-to-date information on how people suffering from tinnitus can best be helped from diagnosis through to self-help management of the condition. In addition, they are promoting a new online resource for people newly diagnosed with tinnitus www.takeontinnitus.co.uk.

‘Take on Tinnitus’ is designed to give facts and ideas for things you can do to manage tinnitus and is an ideal resource for GPs to suggest to new tinnitus patients.

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus (ringing in your ears) refers to the perception of sound in the ear when no external sound is present.

There are two broad types of tinnitus:

– Middle-ear tinnitus is produced in the middle ear behind your eardrum.

– Sensorineural tinnitus is produced in the inner ear and possibly in your nervous system.

Tinnitus is often accompanied by hearing loss. Middle-ear tinnitus is rare and results from hearing your muscles twitch or hearing the sound of blood vessels. Middle-ear tinnitus may be medically or surgically treated. Sensorineural tinnitus has no proven medical or surgical therapy.

Tinnitus has many possible sources including noise exposure, the natural aging process, medications, head injury, ear diseases (such as Meniere’s disease), allergies, and certain autoimmune, neurologic and psychiatric disorders.

Audiologist’s help patients select the appropriate hearing protection for their personal needs. Noise-induced tinnitus can be prevented with hearing protection. For many, the underlying cause of tinnitus is unknown.

There is no known cure for tinnitus. However, research studies are being conducted to find a cure for tinnitus. Based on controlled research studies, there are no medications or dietary supplements that have been shown to effectively or consistently treat tinnitus. Hearing aids may help tinnitus three ways:

– By improving your hearing and reducing stress from having to listen very carefully.

– By amplifying background sound (which can help partially mask the tinnitus).

– By stimulating hearing nerves.

Tinnitus and the role of an audiologist

For sufferers of tinnitus, help is offered by the audiology profession. An audiologist can adjust hearing aids to maximize benefits for hearing loss and/or tinnitus.

An audiologist may offer patients several devices specifically designed for tinnitus relief or management. For example, wearable noise generators that produce a low-level “sssshhhhhhhhh” sound, wearable music-generating devices that provide specially processed music adjusted for your hearing loss, and non-wearable sound-producing devices that produce a variety of sounds (e.g., ocean waves) whose level and quality can be adjusted. Patients are encouraged to consult an audiologist to determine which devices are the most helpful with their tinnitus.

There are also several different counseling approaches to help people with their reactions to tinnitus. For example, Tinnitus Activities Treatment (TAT) provides individualized counseling in four areas: overall emotional well-being, hearing, sleep, and concentration. Additionally, self-help books are available and are very useful.