If tests show that you would benefit from using hearing aids, there are a number of factors that should be taken into account when choosing the right device for you:
Technology: The right manufacturer and level of technology for your needs.
Style: Maximum discretion with maximum benefit to your hearing.
Comfort: The most appropriate fitting for your ear canal shape.
Value for money: There are a range of products to suit every budget.
Thanks to ever-evolving technology, there are a wide range of highly advanced mechanisms available, including those that have apps compatible with iPhone and Android devices, and those which are invisible - examples of which are below.
Widex Beyond (below left)
The Widex Beyond hearing aid uses the latest technology to automatically adapt to any listening situation – no matter how complex. It is able to identify and reduce unwanted noise such as wind, and increase wanted sounds around you. It also has the longest battery life on the market, and is operated via a simple push button on the front (meaning no remote control or accessories are needed). It has an iPhone and Android app that allows streaming of phone calls direct to your hearing aid, volume control and storage of settings according to your location.
lyric invisible hearing aid (below right)
Lyric is the first and only extended wear hearing device that is 100% invisible. It is comfortably placed in the ear canal and can be worn 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for up to 3 months at a time – with no surgery or anaesthesia required. It can be used during daily activities, such as exercising, showering, talking on the phone, and sleeping, and there are no batteries to change meaning no maintenance is needed. Its deep placement in the ear canal allows the outer ear to direct sound into the ear canal naturally, resulting in improved directionality and localisation, reduced feedback, and improved high frequency gain. You are still able to turn Lyric on and off when needed, and adjust settings and volume accordingly.
Rony Ganguly is the Director of Pindrop Hearing and a highly respected Consultant Audiologist. He is a council member for the Association of Independent Hearing Healthcare Professionals (AIHHP) and is often consulted by hearing aid manufacturers as part of focus groups and advisory panels to drive quality and standards within the industry. He is regarded as one of London’s leading independent Audiologists and is on the board of examiners for the Master’s degree program in Audiological Science at University College London Ear Institute.
Mr Ganguly is the lead hearing aid dispenser for Pindrop Hearing at their Harley Street Clinic. and other locations across London.
Mr Rony Ganguly
Consultant Audiologist and
Director of Pindrop Hearing
BALANCE AND VESTIBULAR DIAGNOSTICS
Your balance is controlled by three things: What you see, sensory input from your muscles and joints, and the vestibular system of the inner ear. The brain processes information from these three inputs and co-ordinates your balance.
If you are experiencing dizziness or imbalance, vestibular function tests can be performed which will determine whether or not they are being caused by a problem in your inner ear. There are a range of methods available to determine the cause of your problems, some of which include:
Video Nystagmography (VNG): This is a method of recording reflex eye movements (nystagmus) that naturally occur when your vestibular system is stimulated and involves wearing a pair of lightweight goggles with infrared cameras, which will record the movement.
Positional tests including Dix-Hallpike: This involves lying in different positions, as well as sitting up and lying down to see if nystagmus (when the eyes look involuntarily from side to side in a rapid, swinging motion) is contributing to your dizziness.
Video Head Impulse test (VHIT): This also involves wearing a pair of lightweight goggles and being asked to focus on a target while your eye movements are measured.
Bi-thermal Caloric tests: This involves putting cool and warm water in the ear canal for one minute to stimulate the inner ear and measure the response.
Vestibular evoked Myogenic Potentials (VEMP): During this test small surface electrodes are placed on muscles on your neck, sternum and forehead and a loud clicking noise is played into headphones while you look over your shoulder.
Having undergone testing, if your results indicate a problem you will begin balance rehabilitation treatment.
Miss Isobel McGown
Senior Clinical Audiologist and Specialist in Vestibular Diagnostics
Isobel is a highly skilled Senior Clinical Audiologist with extensive experience in the NHS and private sector. She obtained an Honors BSc degree in Audiology from University College London in 2009 and then went on to work at the Queens Hospital where she obtained experience in a variety of audiological remits with exposure to vestibular testing. Isobel has always had a passion for diagnostic work as well as deeply enjoying the rehabilitative aspect of her profession and led the vestibular diagnostic team at the Wellington hospital for 4 years before joining Pindrop Hearing.
Miss McGown leads the vestibular (balance) services at Pindrop Hearing providing the ability to supply a wider and more thorough variety of vestibular diagnostic testing to patients.
TINNITUS AND HYPERACUSIS
Many people experience an occasional ringing in the ears or may hear a sound such as roaring, buzzing, hissing, or whizzing noise in their head. This constant internal sound that does not improve is referred to as ‘tinnitus’. An estimated seven million people in the UK have experienced tinnitus at one time or another. Unfortunately, a significant number of people who experience tinnitus symptoms do become severely distressed by the sounds.
Tinnitus is generally divided into two types: ‘Subjective tinnitus’ (noises that can only be heard by the patient), and ‘objective tinnitus’ (noises that can be heard by somebody examining the patient). It can generally be caused by the following:
Exposure to loud noise.
A side effect of medication.
Ear or head injuries.
Diseases of the ear.
Tinnitus can also often occur in conjunction with an auditory impairment, for instance after an acute loss of hearing.
Treatments for tinnitus include amplification (hearing aids), cognitive therapy, sound therapy, biofeedback, cochlear implants/electrical stimulation.
The term hyperacusis is generally applied to people who experience the sounds of everyday life as intrusively loud, uncomfortable, and sometimes painful. Some people notice an increase in sensitivity after they have had a difficult life event, for example, bereavement. In many people though, there is no clear reason why hyperacusis started.
Hyperacusis affects people in different ways. For some people, it is a minor annoyance but other people find it really difficult to live with. Some people with hyperacusis withdraw from social and professional activities and become isolated; this can make the problem worse as they become fearful and anxious. Therapy often involves addressing these fears and anxieties.
Hypercausis is generally caused by the following:
Exposure to sudden loud noise
A negative life event
An underlying medical condition.
However, for many no clear reason can be identified.
It is often the case that people who have tinnitus also have hyperacusis and vice versa, however it is possible to have each condition in isolation of each other. Having one of these conditions does also not signify that the other will be developed.
The management of hyperacusis usually involves the treatment of any medical conditions associated with the condition, counselling, and often the use of sound therapy.
Mr Rekesh Patel
Senior Clinical Audiologist-Specialist in Tinnitus and Hyperacusis
Rekesh is a highly skilled Senior Clinical Audiologist with several year’s experience in a variety of clinical areas within both the NHS and the private audiology sector. He trained at various NHS specialist hospitals whilst also working in the audiology department at the Barnet and Chase Farm NHS Trust. Through this he was exposed to several areas of audiology such as vestibular, paediatrics and adult rehabilitation. He took a special interest to Adult rehabilitation specialising in the rehabilitation and management of individuals suffering with tinnitus and hyperacusis. This lead him to work for The Tinnitus Clinic for 5 years where he expanded his knowledge whilst also helped train audiologists.
Mr Patel is the lead for Tinnitus services at Pindrop Hearing.
Paediatric audiology services provide assessment and management of hearing in babies, children and adolescents. This involves conducting a full evaluation of hearing ability and listening skills in order to find the best means to support their communication needs and optimise hearing skills for nursery, school and life ahead. There are a number of tests that can be conducted depending on age:
Newborn babies: In the past decade hearing screening for newborns have become established across the UK. Babies who do not get a clear response in the screen are referred for Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) testing, which records the brain’s neural responses to sounds. Whilst these tests can provide information about hearing levels, further assessment of the baby’s hearing skills provide important additional insight to parents and professionals when investigating and interpreting babies’ earliest responses to everyday sounds.
Older babies: After six months babies begin to develop control of their vocal patterns and have more head and body control. Therefore the type of test used to measure their hearing changes. In Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA), the baby turns towards a toy that lights up when he or she hears a sound which provides exact information on what
pitches and types of sound the baby hears in each ear. This tells us if there is a hearing
impairment and, if so, how severe it is together with whether or not the hearing
difficulties are temporary or permanent.
The tests are conducted with and without hearing aids, using speech sounds and
environmental noises as well as pure tones which in turn equip families with the knowledge they need to make the best choices for their child.
Infants already fitted with hearing aids: For infants who have already been fitted with hearing aids we can do the following:
Measure whether the output of the hearing aid is appropriate.
Review the technology available to improve the child’s access to sound.
Check whether the ear moulds fit properly to prevent whistling and ensure speech is as clear as possible.
In some instances a cochlear implant will improve a child’s access to sound. This is an electronic device that can restore hearing by directly stimulating the nerve endings of the cochlear nerve. Those who get no benefit from the most powerful hearing aids can have their hearing ‘restored’ with a cochlear implant.
Ms Julitta O-Mensah
Senior Clinical Audiologist-Specialist in Paediatric Audiology
Julitta is a highly skilled clinical audiologist with several year’s experience in various settings including the NHS and private healthcare sector and non profit health organisations. She obtained her Audiology degree form University College London, where she was also awarded prize for best contribution to Audiology Advocacy.
Julitta has worked as a paediatric audiologist at Croydon University NHS trust where she further developed her specialist interest in paediatrics. She is experienced conducting age appropriate audiological assessments in children including those referred from the new born hearing screen program and those with complex needs.
Ms O-Mensah currently leads Paediatric Audiology services at Pindrop.
107 Harley Street, W1G 6AL
Winchmore Hill, N21 3RE
Chelsea Outpatient’s Centre, SW3 5Aw
Spire Bushey Hospital, WD23 1RD