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Better Living Through Science: the Amazing Technology Behind the Latest Oticon Opn Hearing Aids

Posted on February 24, 2017. Filed under: health, hearing education, hearing loss, hearing products, news |

New Generation Hearing Centers is excited to announce that we now carry Oticon Opn™ hearing aids.

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These incredible devices have recently received prestigious awards in two different categories – Tech for a Better World and Wearable Technologies – at the 2017 CES Innovation Awards in Las Vegas. That’s because Oticon Opn hearing aids contain groundbreaking features that are truly changing the landscape of hearing aid technology. Read on to get a taste of what these small, but powerful devices can really do.

 

Connectivity

Perhaps the coolest feature of the Oticon Opn line of hearing aids is their connectivity. They are the world’s first hearing aids that are WiFi-enabled and Bluetooth capable, allowing them to connect directly to the internet. Using the Oticon ON app – which can be downloaded to your smartphone – you can connect your hearing aid to any smart device, including laptops, TVs, phones, and even smoke detectors, doorbells or alarm clocks.
This means that you can stream sound directly from your devices into your ears. Want to watch a movie or listen to an album? No problem. Want to make sure you don’t miss your alarm in the morning, forget a calendar appointment, or fail to notice that your phone battery is low? The Oticon ON app capatible with the Oticon Opn allows you to set audio notifications for all of those things, which can be sent directly to your in-ear device, ensuring that you’ll always hear them.

 

Next Level Performance

Hey, connectivity isn’t everything. Maybe you’re a not a very tech-savvy person, and you just want a great hearing aid. The Oticon Opn is still a fantastic choice. It delivers several performance features you can’t find anywhere else.
For instance, traditional hearing aids pick up on only one sound – like someone talking – and suppress other sounds, in order to help you focus on what you want to hear. This has the disadvantage of canceling out environmental sounds you might actually want to hear, like background music or traffic noise. Oticon’s groundbreaking Multiple Speaker Access Technology (MSAT) uses multiple speakers to deliver access to a complete, 360-degree range of hearing.

However that doesn’t mean you’ll be drowned in noise. The technology is sufficiently advanced to automatically detect and analyze different sounds, even in noisy environments, to help figure out what you might like to hear. It can reduce noise even between words when you’re having a conversation, and provide you with a balanced hearing experience.

The Opn line also has the fastest processing speed of any hearing aid available. That means it picks up and cancels noise faster than other hearing aids in the market.

 

Expanded Hearing Support

 What if you have more serious hearing loss than the average person? The Oticon Opn family of hearing aids actually comes in three different models: Opn 1, Opn 2, and Opn 3. These three models represent different performance levels, suitable for different levels of hearing loss, for a personalized experience. They can be fitted up to 105 dB of hearing loss, meaning that even people with severe or profound hearing loss can experience the benefits from these forward-thinking devices.

The Oticon Opn hearing aids are now available at New Generation Hearing Centers. To find out more information about the Oticon Opn line, visit us at miamihearingaids.com or give us a call today at 305-551-7222.

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How Alzheimer’s and Depression are Linked to Hearing Loss

Posted on February 16, 2017. Filed under: health, Hear the World, hearing education, hearing health, hearing loss, news | Tags: , , , , , |

Senior Woman Comforting Depressed Husband Sitting On Bench

There are at least 38 million people who suffer from hearing loss throughout America. Many senior citizens expect to lose their hearing over time but few know that it could increase the chances for depression and even increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, hearing loss can influence every aspect of an individual’s life ranging from decreased social interaction to the unwanted symptoms of depression over a period of time.

However, dedicated scientists at Johns Hopkins University noticed patterns and similar traits from these conditions and wanted to take a closer look to examine how Alzheimer’s, depression and hearing loss are associated.

These scientists have determined that symptoms of these three conditions overlap and negatively influence one another. Essentially, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia very closely mimic the symptoms of hearing loss, which can further the symptoms of depression felt by sufferers. When an individual suffers from hearing loss, they are more susceptible to social isolation, a decline in thinking skills and even cognitive impairment.

The Link Between Hearing Loss and Dementia

It has been proven that processing auditory information, like speech, uses a large portion of the brain as sound sends signals to the primary auditory cortex of the brain. When an individual suffers from hearing loss, the brain activity gradually lessens, which causes a reduction of gray matter over time. As such, the brain begins to shrink when certain parts are not used much like how muscles react if they are not used on a regular basis.

The researchers at Johns Hopkins University discovered that the more severe the hearing loss is in an individual, the more likely they were to develop dementia. The amount of hearing loss an individual suffers from can actually cause an increase in dementia because the brain is not stimulated enough. When you combine the amount of time an individual suffers from each of these symptoms, this can cause a real change in an individual’s life.

How Hearing Loss and Dementia Influence Depression

Hearing loss can cause depression due to isolation, withdrawal from social activities and negatively impact the way individuals process auditory information. The combination of hearing loss and dementia increases the amount of mental confusion experienced from day to day. In fact, the symptoms of hearing loss and dementia are often overlooked, which leads to deeper episodes of stress and depression.

Researchers were also able to observe and identify how closely hearing loss is related to depression. As time goes on, individuals may suffer from longer periods of depression and loss of communication, which negatively effects normal brain stimulation. What is most disturbing about how these conditions are associated is that mild cognitive problems and hearing loss is becoming increasingly accepted over time.

Without further observation, symptoms of all conditions may grow worse over time. The studies on these three conditions shows that without adequate brain stimulation, an individual is more prone to feel hopeless and isolated. Not only is hearing one of our most valued senses but without being able to hear and communicate effectively, the brain becomes weaker and unable to function optimally.

If you seem to be losing your hearing or have a loved one suffering from hearing loss, don’t hesitate to contact New Generation Hearing. Dr. Joseph K. Durán and Yvette Durán Someillán empathize with their patients and understand how hearing loss, when untreated, can lead to other health related problems. Give them a call today at (305) 551-7222.

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How to clean your ears

Posted on January 17, 2017. Filed under: health, news |

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Image: National Institutes of Health

Have you ever paid attention to the fine print on a box of cotton swabs? If so, you may have rolled your eyes at the part that cautions you not to insert cotton swabs into your ear canal.

But according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology (AAO), you should heed that warning. Here’s what the group of ear, nose, and throat doctors had to say about cleaning your ears:

“Good intentions to keep ears clean may weaken the ability to hear. The ear is a delicate and intricate body part, including the skin of the ear canal and the eardrum. Therefore, special care should be given to this part of the body. Start by discontinuing the habit of inserting cotton-tipped applicators or other objects into the ear canals.”

Having said that, it’s important to note that earwax does serve a vital purpose. It helps keep your ear canals clean and has lubricating and antibacterial properties, according to the AAO. The group said putting cotton swabs into the ear canal could actually harm your ability to hear because it can result in earwax becoming impacted in the ear canal near the eardrum, or it could even result in perforation of the eardrum if you insert the cotton swab too deep into the ear canal.

So how can you keep your ears clean without risking these negative outcomes of using cotton swabs? Here are three easy methods.

  1. The oil method: This method of cleaning your ears involves putting an almost minuscule amount of baby oil or mineral oil into your ear canal — just a drop or two. The oil will soften any earwax buildup and allow it to more easily exit the ear, making it easy to remove when you bathe or wash your face by using a warm wash rag on the exterior of the ear. Hydrogen peroxide, glycerin, or carbamide peroxide may also prove effective at helping soften earwax.
  2. The warm-water irrigation method: In this method, you warm some water or saline (salt water) to body temperature — 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or at least pretty close. You then use a syringe to get the warm water into the ear canal, flushing it repeatedly. The reason you should use body-temperature water is to prevent possible dizziness that can result when too-cold water is injected into the ear. Use caution not to place the syringe too deep into the ear canal when irrigating.
  3. The vacuum method: This method can be performed safely at home using a number of consumer-grade devices such as this one, or you can visit your otologist — fancy-speak for ear doctor — periodically to have your ears checked for any buildup of wax.

A further note about earwax: In most individuals, ear wax will work its way out of the ear canal thanks largely to movement of the jaw. Chewing is particularly effective at causing the ear canals to move, encouraging wax to move out. But there are exceptions to every rule, and this is no different. Some people may have particularly narrow ear canals or other physical characteristics that make it more difficult for earwax to come out naturally. Using the above methods after seeking the advice of your ear doctor can certainly help, however.

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Sound is beauty: Check out some soundwave-inspired art

Posted on January 4, 2017. Filed under: news | Tags: |

Sound has the ability to add beauty to our lives. In fact, a number of visual artists have realized this and have made visual art inspired by soundwaves.

First, a primer on soundwaves. Sound is created by something vibrating — be it your voice or a speaker on a stereo or a car’s engine. That vibration travels through the air, creating vibrations in the air itself. Those vibrations are soundwaves. They move at the speed of sound, 768 miles per hour. When soundwaves are digitized, they tend to look something like this screenshot from the freeware audio-editing computer program called Audacity:

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Source: Audacity

With that in mind, here are a few cool soundwave-inspired pieces of visual art you might enjoy:

  1. Anna Marinenko creates prints that incorporate soundwaves as well as reflective nature scenes. Her Etsy page shows a range of prints that usually include a water-reflective scene on one side and a digitized soundwave on the other. What is remarkable is how similar the soundwave’s silhouette is to that of the photo. The two elements come together to form one cohesive and thought-provoking piece.
  2. Soundwave Art is a company that specializes in canvases, prints and jewelry pieces whose primary subject is a soundwave. The cool thing about these pieces: The sound is supplied by the customer, so the wave printed or engraved on the product can be anything from a baby’s first recorded heartbeat to wedding vows to a song. More information is available at Soundwave Art’s official website.
  3. Soundwaves Art Foundation, while similar in name to the entry above, has a totally different mission: to raise money for charities by collaborating with famous musicians to create one-of-a-kind, signed prints of the soundwaves from their songs. Visual artist Tim Wakefield partners with musicians such as Muse, Sir Paul McCartney, The Killers, Duran Duran, Bon Jovi and Queen to extract digital waveforms from the musicians’ popular songs. He then manipulates, shapes and colors the soundwaves and creates eye-catching limited-edition prints. Sales of the prints benefit a number of charities chosen by the musicians. More information is available at this link.
  4. Solid Vibrations takes sound waves and combines them with one of the hottest experimental art fields today, 3D printing. As outlined here, the effort created by a Dutch artistic duo takes sound waves from a speaker underneath the 3D printer device and transfers them onto clay, making temporary sound permanent. The results vary from patterns that may evoke thoughts of wicker baskets to those that recall the scales of fish. See a short video of the process here.
  5. Beth Galston produced a special, functional art installation for the new Music City Center convention hall in Nashville, TN that was meant to play on the city’s status as “Music City, USA” by symbolizing waves of sound flowing along the ceiling. Her official website says the installation was inspired by a musical staff, which features five lines, as well as the undulating shapes of soundwaves. Musical “notes” were positioned along the waves in the form of LED lights.

Do you have trouble hearing the beauty of sound as clearly as you once did? We can help. Call us today at (305) 551-7222 to learn more.

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Study Suggests Hearing Loss Could Be Reversible

Posted on September 9, 2016. Filed under: hearing loss, news |

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Is hearing loss reversible?

Although it may be treatable with hearing aids and other devices, the answer to the much-asked question of whether hearing loss can be cured has always been a definitive “no”.

Why is that? Well, much hearing loss is caused by damaged hair cells in the ear. Our hearing works, in part, by having lots of tiny hair cells detect and conduct sound to the auditory nerve, which carries sound signals to the brain. When exposed to loud noises, however, these cells become damaged or die, leading to hearing loss. The more hair cells that are damaged, the less hearing you have. So far, no one has discovered any way to repair or replace these cells.

But a new study undertaken by Dutch company, Audion Therapeutics is muddying the waters in the best possible way. This study has found that it may be possible, in the future, to regrow new hair cells.  The doctors who oversaw the study got the idea from reading a report about a trial run of a new dementia drug. The drug, which involved a molecule called a “notch inhibitor”, had side effects that the researchers thought might be perfect for treating hearing loss. Now the company has shown that this molecule can grow new hair cells in laboratory settings. They hope to use the findings to develop a foam that could be applied to the ear and then grow back lost hair cells, restoring hearing naturally and permanently.

This study is not the first recent study to suggest that hearing damage might be treated more successfully in the future. Two years ago, a study completed at Stanford by the Stanford Initiative to Cure Hearing Loss (SICHL) found that a certain medication might be effective in limiting the damage to the inner ear caused by exposure to noise. However, the researchers then said that they needed to find a way to regrow hair cells in order to make their medication effective. The new study by Audion may be exactly what the Stanford researchers need.

All this is exciting news, but don’t throw away your hearing aids just yet – the treatment may take many years to develop. It is still in the planning phase, and will take a long time and many clinical trials before they are sure that it is both safe and effective in humans.

In the meantime, people looking for help with hearing loss can still contact New Generation Hearing Centers for quick and compassionate treatment with the most cutting-edge technology available in hearing aids.

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