Hearing & Christmas

Silent Night: Don’t let hearing loss spoil your Christmas.

  

Christmas is a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness, marked by the sounds of laughter, carols, and the clinking of glasses. However, for individuals experiencing hearing loss, the holiday season can present unique challenges, as the familiar sounds that define the festive atmosphere may be diminished or altogether absent.

Communication Barriers: Communication is at the heart of holiday festivities, whether it’s sharing stories, exchanging well-wishes, or participating in festive conversations. Individuals with hearing loss often face communication barriers that can lead to feelings of isolation and frustration. The subtle nuances of spoken words and the melodic tones of carols may be lost, making it challenging to fully engage in conversations and experience the warmth of shared moments.

Family Gatherings and Social Isolation: Christmas is synonymous with family gatherings, where relatives come together to celebrate and reconnect. However, for those with hearing loss, the cacophony of a bustling holiday gathering can become a source of stress. Background noise, such as clattering dishes and lively chatter, can make it difficult for individuals with hearing loss to discern and participate in conversations. This may lead to a sense of social isolation as they struggle to fully engage in the festivities.

Impact on Traditions and Customs: Many Christmas traditions are rooted in auditory experiences, from singing carols to the sound of Christmas paper as presents are unwrapped.  Hearing loss can disrupt these cherished customs, altering the way individuals perceive and participate in holiday traditions. The joy of listening to a child’s excitement on Christmas morning or the collective singing of carols around the tree may be muted for those with hearing impairment.

The Gift of Understanding: During the season of giving, understanding and empathy become invaluable gifts for those with hearing loss. Loved ones can make a significant difference by being mindful of communication needs, using clear speech, facing the individual directly, and creating quieter spaces for conversations.  Additionally, embracing inclusive practices, such as providing subtitles for holiday movies or using visual cues during festive games, can enhance the overall experience for everyone.

While hearing loss can present unique challenges during the Christmas season, it is essential to recognise the resilience and adaptability of individuals facing this condition. By fostering an environment of understanding and inclusivity, we can ensure that the holiday spirit reaches everyone, regardless of their hearing abilities.  The true magic of Christmas lies in the connections we share, and through awareness and consideration, we can make the season brighter for those with hearing loss, allowing them to fully participate in the joyous moments that define this special time of year.

If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:

    Your Name (required)

    Your Phone Number (required)

    Your Message

    About Sounds of Life

    Sounds of Life Audiology is a leading, independent hearing aid specialist.  We offer transparent and affordable hearing aid pricing on quality hearing aids (including virtually invisible hearing aid technology) from the world’s leading brands.

    Signia Pure Charge&Go IX Hearing Aid Review

    Signia Pure Charge&Go IX Review – Addressing the Group Conversation Challenge

    In October 2023, Signia launched in Australia the Pure Charge&Go IX hearing aid range on Signia’s latest sound processing engine; Integrated Xperience platform (IX for short).  The Pure Charge&Go IX hearing aids are available in three performance levels: Premium – 7IX, High-end – 5IX and Mid-range – 3IX. 

    Before we talk about the hearing aids, lets have a look at Signia’s new sound processing engine Integrated Xperience. This new technology has been designed to address the number one complaint of individuals wearing hearing aids – being able to hear clearly in challenging group conversation situations.

    The Group Conversation Challenge.

    Hearing is a fundamental sense that allows individuals to connect with the world and engage in meaningful communication. However, for those with hearing loss, participating in group conversations presents unique challenges that can significantly impact their social interactions.   

    One of the primary challenges faced by individuals with hearing loss in group conversations is the limited auditory access to spoken information. In a group setting, multiple voices, background noise, and overlapping conversations can make it difficult for those with hearing impairments to discern and understand spoken words. This challenge can lead to frustration and a sense of isolation as individuals may miss crucial parts of the conversation.

    Traditionally, hearing aids have used directional microphones to help individuals hear better in group conversations.  Directional microphones create a front focus beam aimed towards one specific direction or individual speaker, reducing background noise and improving the clarity of the targeted speaker.  Directional microphones assist individuals in group conversations, but they have one significant limitation related to their design – individuals must be always facing the speaker.  However, due to the dynamic nature of group conversations, this is not always possible.  During group conversation, it can be difficult to keep up with the conversation and always face the speaker, as conversations can flow rapidly between different speakers.  In addition, speakers often talk over each other!

    Signia Integrated Xperience with Real-Time Conversation Enhancement

    Signia has addressed the group conversation challenge with a new ground-breaking technology called Real-Time Conversation Enhancement, available in Signia’s recently released Integrated Xperience (“IX” for short) range.   

    During group conversations with multiple speakers, Real-Time Conversation Enhancement pinpoints the locations of each individual speaker and generates multiple directional microphone beams focussed on each of the speakers, enhancing all conversation partners in real-time.   This is done via a three-step process:

    1. Analyse – Processes 192,000 data points every second to detect speakers and analyse conversation dynamics.
    2. Augment – Uses the data that’s analysed to control multiple directional focus beams that lock onto and dynamically highlight each speaker’s voice amidst the noise.
    3. Adapt – The focus beams update 1,000 times per second to adapt to evolving conversations. This allows the real-time tracking and enhancement of multiple moving speakers, ensuring wearers can fully engage in group conversations.

    During dynamic group conversations, Signia Integrated Xperience’s RealTime Conversation Enhancement technology, ensures individuals can hear clearly, even if they are not directly facing the person speaking or turning their head to engage with others. The below video shows the technology in action.

    Models

    Pure Charge&Go IX

    The new Signia Pure Charge&Go IX hearing aids are available in two receiver-in-canal (RIC) models:

     (1) Pure Charge&Go IX and

     (2) Pure Charge&Go T IX

    Each model is available in 10 different colours, across three performance levels; 3IX (Standard), 5IX (Advanced) and 7IX (Premium). 

    In addition to a longer battery life, the slightly larger Pure Charge&Go T IX model has a built in telecoil for hearing in places with loop systems.  Using a telecoil with a loop system can improve the sound quality in situations with a lot of background noise or when the individual is sitting far away from the sound you want to hear e.g. at church or a lecture.

    Rechargeability

    With every generation, Signia improves the rechargeable performance of their hearing aids.  The Li-ion power cell of Pure Charge&Go IX delivers up to 24 hours of use on a single charge including 5 hours of streaming.  The larger Pure Charge&Go T IX delivers an impressive 36 hours of use on a single charge including 5 hours of streaming.

    In terms of charging options, there are three different models available: (1) Standard (2) Portable and (3) Dry&Clean

    Standard
    Portable
    Dry&Clean

    The Portable charger is small and designed to fit in the pocket or handbag.  Inside the Portable charger is a powerbank with the capacity to provide full three chargers of the hearing aids, before the charger itself needs to be recharged.  This can be done via connection to USB-C or via Qi wireless charging. 

    The Dry&Clean charger features a dehumidifying and UV sanitising functionality.  Very useful if the hearing aids are being used in challenging humid environments.

    Connectivity

    The Pure Charge&Go IX hearing aids offer improved connectivity options, increasingly more important in today’s connected world.  They support direct audio streaming from both Apple (Made for iPhone) devices, and Android (ASHA) devices. In addition, the new IX range will be able to support the new LE Audio streaming protocol with a firmware update available early next year. LE Audio promises to eventually offer more universal low energy audiostreaming, meaning it should become the standard in consumer electronics.

    https://www.bluetooth.com/learn-about-bluetooth/feature-enhancements/le-audio/

    Of course, wearers can still purchase the popular StreamLine TV and Streamline Mic solutions to further enhance the functionality of the hearing aids.  In addition, the hearing aids are compatible with the free Signia app. The app offers not just remote control but a Signia Assistant which uses its AI deep neural network to offer immediate support whenever users need to adjust their settings.

    Our Conclusion

    Over the last three months, Sounds of Life has fitted a number of Pure Charge&Go IX hearing aids.  We have fitted many experienced clients with IX who have compared their performance with other competitor premium devices. Based on their experiences they have reported that overall Integrated Xperience hearing aids have delivered an improved listening experience in group conversation – improved speech clarity combined with a more natural surround. 

    If you would like to trial Pure Charge&Go IX , Sounds of Life would be happy to arrange a free demo for you. The Pure Charge&Go IX range is currently priced as follows:

    Premium – Pure C&G BT RIC 7AX – $3990

    High-End – Pure C&G BT RIC 5AX – $3490

    Mid-Range – Pure C&G BT RIC 3AX – $2890

    About Sounds of Life

    Sounds of Life audiology is a member of Audiology Australia and Independent Audiologist Australia. We adhere strictly to Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics.   We pride ourselves on:

    • Being fully independent – We are not owned or operated by a hearing aid manufacturer or large chain.
    • Ethical Practices – We are focused on providing the highest level of care and do not pay commissions.

    We also follow the Australian Government Hearing Services’ protocol for hearing services.

    If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

    Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:

      Your Name (required)

      Your Phone Number (required)

      Your Message

      Earwax Removal

      Art and Science of Earwax Removal

       

      Earwax, scientifically known as cerumen, is a natural substance produced by the glands in the ear canal.  It serves a protective role in preventing dust, debris, and bacteria from entering the ear.  In normal circumstances, the ear’s natural mechanisms, such as jaw movement and the migration of skin cells, facilitate the self-cleaning of earwax from the ear canal.  However, occasionally there can be excessive earwax build-up that can lead to discomfort, temporary hearing impairment, and for hearing aid wearers, diminished hearing aid performance.

      There are various methods employed by audiologists and medical professionals for wax removal. These methods include:

      1. Ear Irrigation: A syringe to introduce a gentle flow of warm water into the ear canal, flushing out the wax.
      2. Manual Removal: Specialised tools, such as curettes or forceps, are used to manually extract the wax. This method requires skill and precision to avoid injury to the delicate structures of the ear.
      3. Ear Drops: Over-the-counter ear drops or drops prescribed by a healthcare provider can soften the wax, making it easier to naturally exit the ear canal.
      4. Microsuction: This technique involves using a suction device (or vacuum) to remove the wax without direct contact, providing a safe and efficient option.

      At Sounds of Life our preferred earwax removal procedure is MicrosuctionSounds of Life offers Microsuction Earwax removal appointments for $70.

      Microsuction is considered one of the safest methods for removing even stubborn earwax.  Unlike other methods that involve inserting objects deep into the ear canal, Microsuction uses a gentle suction process that minimises the risk of injury to the delicate ear structures.  Compared to other methods like ear irrigation, it is a minimally invasive procedure. It does not involve the use of water or heat, making it suitable for individuals with ear infections, perforated eardrums, or those who have undergone recent ear surgeries.

      If you feel Earwax is impacting your hearing, contact Sounds of Life.

      Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:

        Your Name (required)

        Your Phone Number (required)

        Your Message

        About Sounds of Life

        Sounds of Life Audiology is a leading, independent hearing aid specialist.  We offer transparent and affordable hearing aid pricing on quality hearing aids (including virtually invisible hearing aid technology) from the world’s leading brands.

        Cost of Hearing aids

        prices of new hearing aids

        The Cost of Hearing Aids in Australia: Exploring the factors behind their expense.

          

        Hearing aids have proven to be life-changing devices for millions of Australians with hearing loss, helping them regain their ability to communicate and participate in daily activities. However, one significant barrier to accessing this technology is their cost. Hearing aids are often considered expensive, and this article aims to delve into the reasons behind their high price tags.

        I. Technological Advancements

        One of the primary factors contributing to the high cost of hearing aids is the continuous advancement in technology. Modern hearing aids are equipped with sophisticated features such as digital signal processing, adaptive noise reduction, and Bluetooth connectivity. These innovations improve sound quality and the user experience but also require extensive research and development, driving up manufacturing costs.

        II. Customisation and Precision

        Hearing aids are not one-size-fits-all devices. Each individual’s hearing loss is unique, necessitating customisation. Audiologists perform detailed assessments and measurements to tailor the hearing aids to the wearer’s specific needs. This level of precision in design and programming adds to the overall cost.

        III. Quality of Components

        To provide the best possible sound quality and durability, hearing aids are constructed using high-quality components. This includes advanced microphones, speakers, and processors. These components must meet strict quality standards, ensuring the hearing aid’s reliability and longevity.

        IV. Regulatory Compliance

        Hearing aids are medical devices regulated by government agencies like the Australian TGA. As a class IIa medical device, hearing aids are required to comply with rigorous regulatory requirements adding to the cost of development, testing, and certification, all of which are essential to guarantee safety and effectiveness.

        V. Research and Development

        The hearing aid industry invests heavily in research and development to improve device performance and user satisfaction. Developing new features, algorithms, and materials requires substantial financial resources, which are eventually reflected in the cost of the final product.

        VI. Limited Market Competition

        The Australian hearing aid market is dominated by a few major manufacturers. In fact it is estimated that over 98% of hearing aids supplied in Australia are manufactured by five companies (Demand, Sonova, GN, WS Audiology and Starkey). Limited competition can lead to higher prices, as there are fewer incentives to reduce costs to remain competitive.

        VII. Professional Services

        The cost of hearing aids often includes professional services such as hearing assessments, fittings, and ongoing follow-up appointments with audiologists. These services are crucial for ensuring the hearing aids work optimally for the wearer but add to the overall expense.

        VIII. Lack of Insurance Coverage

        Many health insurance plans do not cover hearing aids, leaving individuals to bear the full cost. This lack of coverage can further amplify the perception of hearing aids as expensive.

        IX. Limited Economies of Scale

        Compared to other consumer electronics, hearing aids are produced in relatively small quantities, limiting the economies of scale that could potentially reduce costs.

        At Sounds of Life Audiology we are a leading, independent hearing aid specialist.  We aim to offer transparent and affordable hearing aid pricing across all brands of hearing aids.  While hearing aids are indeed expensive, it is essential to recognise the invaluable impact hearing aids have on the lives of those with hearing loss.  We work with our clients to find the most appropriate technology for their needs within their budget.

        If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

        Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:

          Your Name (required)

          Your Phone Number (required)

          Your Message

          About Sounds of Life

          Sounds of Life Audiology is a leading, independent hearing aid specialist.  We offer transparent and affordable hearing aid pricing on quality hearing aids (including virtually invisible hearing aid technology) from the world’s leading brands.

          Hearing aids and Music

          Rediscovering the Melodies: How Hearing Aids Benefit Music Appreciation

          Music has the power to uplift our spirits, evoke emotions, and create cherished memories. For individuals with hearing loss, however, experiencing the full richness and intricacy of music can be a challenge. Fortunately, with advancements in hearing aid technology, the barriers to enjoying music are gradually being overcome. In this article, we explore how modern hearing aids are transforming the way individuals with hearing loss engage with music, enhancing their listening experiences and allowing them to rediscover the beauty of melodies.

          Improved Sound Quality: One of the primary benefits of hearing aids for music enthusiasts is the significant improvement in sound quality. Modern hearing aids are designed to amplify and clarify sounds across a wide range of frequencies, ensuring that music is reproduced more accurately. This means that the nuances and subtleties of different instruments, vocals, and melodies can be heard with greater clarity, enabling a more immersive and enjoyable musical experience.

          Enhanced Dynamic Range: Hearing aids equipped with advanced compression technology offer an expanded dynamic range, allowing individuals to perceive both soft and loud sounds more effectively. This is particularly beneficial for music, as it preserves the delicate balance between quiet and intense passages, capturing the full spectrum of musical expression. With a wider dynamic range, listeners can appreciate the gentle whispers and the soaring crescendos that make music so captivating.

          Customisable Listening Programs: Many modern hearing aids offer customisable listening programs specifically designed for music. These programs optimise the hearing aid settings to enhance music perception. They can emphasise specific frequency ranges, reduce background noise, and adjust the volume levels to suit individual preferences. This level of customisation ensures that listeners can tailor their hearing aids to meet their unique musical needs, enabling a more personalised and immersive musical experience.

          Speech-Music Separation: Hearing aids equipped with advanced signal processing algorithms can distinguish between speech and music, providing improved clarity when listening to music in noisy environments. These algorithms enhance the listener’s ability to separate musical sounds from competing background noises, allowing for a more focused and enjoyable music listening experience, whether it’s at a live concert or in a crowded setting.

          Connectivity and Accessibility: Modern hearing aids often come with wireless connectivity options, allowing users to connect to smartphones, music players, and other audio devices. This feature enables individuals to stream music directly to their hearing aids, eliminating the need for additional headphones or earphones. With direct streaming capabilities, users can enjoy their favorite songs, playlists, and music apps with ease, immersing themselves in the world of music anytime and anywhere.

          Emotional Well-being and Social Connection: Music holds a special place in our lives, evoking emotions and fostering social connections. For individuals with hearing loss, being able to fully engage with music can significantly enhance their emotional well-being and social interactions. Hearing aids not only restore the ability to appreciate music but also facilitate participation in musical activities, such as playing an instrument, singing in a choir, or attending concerts, fostering a sense of belonging and connection within the musical community.

          Hearing aids have become transformative devices for individuals with hearing loss, enabling them to rediscover the joy and beauty of music. With improved sound quality, enhanced dynamic range, customisable listening programs, speech-music separation, and wireless connectivity options, modern hearing aids offer unprecedented opportunities to experience music with greater clarity, immersion, and personalisation. By harnessing the power of technology, individuals with hearing loss can embrace music as a vibrant and integral part of their lives, enriching their well-being and fostering a deep appreciation for the melodies that touch their hearts.  Contact Sounds of Life today to see how  modern hearing aid technology can help you enhance your music enjoyment and appreciation.

          If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

          Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:

            Your Name (required)

            Your Phone Number (required)

            Your Message

            About Sounds of Life

            Sounds of Life Audiology is a leading, independent hearing aid specialist.  We offer transparent and affordable hearing aid pricing on quality hearing aids (including virtually invisible hearing aid technology) from the world’s leading brands.

            Hearing in Noise

            hearing clinic in brisbane

            Hearing in Noise: The Challenges and Strategies for Better Communication

            In our daily lives, we often find ourselves in environments filled with noise and competing sounds. Whether it’s a bustling coffee shop, a crowded restaurant, or a busy office, background noise can significantly impact our ability to hear and communicate effectively. For individuals with hearing loss, this challenge is amplified, making it even more crucial to understand the complexities of hearing in noise and explore strategies for better communication. In this article, we will delve into the science behind hearing in noise and provide practical tips to enhance communication in challenging auditory environments.

            The Science behind Hearing in Noise:

            Our ability to hear and understand speech in noisy environments is a remarkable feat of our auditory system. However, it can become more challenging for people with hearing loss due to the diminished sensitivity to certain frequencies. Understanding the underlying mechanisms involved can shed light on why it’s difficult to hear in noise:

            The Cocktail Party Effect: The cocktail party effect refers to our brain’s ability to focus on a specific sound source while filtering out irrelevant background noise. This cognitive process relies on selective attention and auditory processing, which can be impaired in individuals with hearing loss.

            Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR): SNR is a critical factor in hearing in noise. It represents the ratio of the desired speech signal to the background noise. As the SNR decreases, it becomes increasingly challenging to distinguish speech from noise, leading to reduced speech intelligibility.

            Auditory Masking: Auditory masking occurs when background noise obscures or “masks” the perception of specific sounds or frequencies. Masking can affect both consonants and vowels, making it difficult to differentiate speech sounds.

            Strategies for Better Communication in Noise:

            While hearing in noise can be challenging, several strategies can significantly improve communication for individuals with hearing loss. Here are some practical tips:

            Optimise the Environment: Whenever possible, choose quieter environments for conversations. Reduce background noise by closing doors, turning off TVs or radios, and minimising distractions. Consider using assistive listening devices, such as personal FM systems, which can enhance speech clarity.

            Positioning Matters: Position yourself facing the person you’re conversing with to maximise visual cues, such as lip movements and facial expressions. This visual information can complement auditory cues and improve comprehension.

            Request Communication Support: Inform friends, family, and colleagues about your hearing difficulties and request their assistance. Encourage them to speak clearly, face you directly, and avoid covering their mouths. Additionally, consider using captioning services or speech-to-text apps for important meetings or events.

            Use Hearing Aids or Assistive Listening Devices: If you have hearing loss, consult an audiologist to explore the most suitable hearing aid options. Modern hearing aids offer features specifically designed to improve speech intelligibility in noise, such as directional microphones and noise reduction algorithms. Assistive listening devices, such as remote microphones or smartphone apps, can further enhance speech clarity by wirelessly transmitting sound directly to your hearing aids.

            Improve Communication Strategies: Practice active listening techniques, such as focusing on the speaker, asking for repetition or clarification when necessary, and summarizing the conversation to ensure understanding. Visual cues, such as gestures and facial expressions, can provide valuable context and aid comprehension.

            Hearing in noise can present significant challenges for individuals, especially those with hearing loss. At Sounds of Life we can work with you to provide personalised hearing solutions tailored to your needs and lifestyle.  By understanding the science behind hearing in noise and implementing effective communication strategies, we can help you improve your ability to understand speech and engage fully in challenging auditory environments. Whether it’s optimising the environment, utilising assistive devices, or adopting active listening techniques, taking proactive steps towards better communication can enhance overall quality of life and foster stronger connections with others.

            If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

            Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:

              Your Name (required)

              Your Phone Number (required)

              Your Message

              About Sounds of Life

              Sounds of Life Audiology is a leading, independent hearing aid specialist.  We offer transparent and affordable hearing aid pricing on quality hearing aids (including virtually invisible hearing aid technology) from the world’s leading brands.

              Tinnitus

              Tinnitus: Understanding the Ringing in Your Ears

              Have you ever experienced a persistent ringing, buzzing, or hissing sound in your ears? If so, you might be familiar with a condition called tinnitus. Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the absence of any external noise and affects millions of people worldwide. It can be a distressing and frustrating condition, but understanding its causes, symptoms, and available treatments can help individuals cope and manage their symptoms more effectively. In this article, we delve into the world of tinnitus and explore ways to address this common auditory issue.

              Understanding Tinnitus:

              Tinnitus is often described as a ringing in the ears, but the perception of sound can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience buzzing, whistling, humming, clicking, or hissing sounds. It can be constant or intermittent, and the volume can range from a faint background noise to a loud, intrusive sensation.

              Causes of Tinnitus:

              Tinnitus can have various underlying causes, and it can occur in individuals of all ages. Here are some common factors associated with tinnitus:

              • Exposure to loud noise: Prolonged exposure to loud noises, such as concerts, construction sites, or even listening to music at high volumes through headphones, can damage the delicate hair cells in the inner ear, leading to tinnitus.
              • Age-related hearing loss: As we age, our hearing abilities naturally decline. This age-related hearing loss, known as presbycusis, can contribute to the development of tinnitus.
              • Earwax blockage: A build-up of earwax can cause hearing problems and lead to tinnitus symptoms.
              • Medical conditions: Tinnitus can be associated with certain medical conditions, including Ménière’s disease, otosclerosis, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, and acoustic neuroma.
              • Medications: Some medications, such as certain antibiotics, cancer drugs, diuretics, and high doses of aspirin, have been linked to tinnitus as a potential side effect.

              Coping with Tinnitus:

              Living with tinnitus can be challenging, but there are several strategies that can help individuals cope with the condition:

              • Protect your ears: Minimise exposure to loud noises by using earplugs or earmuffs when attending concerts, sporting events, or working in noisy environments.
              • Manage stress: Stress can exacerbate tinnitus symptoms. Engage in stress-reducing activities such as exercise, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in hobbies you enjoy.
              • Sound therapy: Background noise or soothing sounds, like nature sounds or white noise machines, can help mask the ringing and provide some relief.
              • Avoid silence: Silence tends to make tinnitus more noticeable. Background noise from a fan, soft music, or a television can help distract your brain from focusing on the tinnitus sounds.
              • Healthy lifestyle choices: Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep, can contribute to overall well-being and potentially alleviate tinnitus symptoms.

              Treatment Options:

              While there is currently no known cure for tinnitus, there are treatments available that can help manage and reduce the impact of symptoms:

              • Hearing aids: If hearing loss is a factor, hearing aids can amplify external sounds and help mask tinnitus.
              • Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT): TRT combines sound therapy and counseling to help individuals habituate to the tinnitus sounds and reduce their perception of them.
              • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT aims to change negative thought patterns and emotional reactions associated with tinnitus, providing coping mechanisms and improving quality of life.
              • Medications: In some cases, medications such as antidepressants, antianxiety drugs, or even anticonvulsants may be prescribed to manage tinnitus symptoms.

              Tinnitus can be a persistent and frustrating condition, but with the right knowledge and strategies, it is possible to manage its impact on daily life.  If you’re experiencing bothersome tinnitus, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional, preferably an audiologist or an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist.

              At Sounds of Life we can help work we you in developing an effective tinnitus management plan.  By understanding the causes, implementing coping techniques, and exploring available treatments, individuals can find relief and improve their overall well-being.

              .

              If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

              Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:

                Your Name (required)

                Your Phone Number (required)

                Your Message

                About Sounds of Life

                Sounds of Life Audiology is a leading, independent hearing aid specialist.  We offer transparent and affordable hearing aid pricing on quality hearing aids (including virtually invisible hearing aid technology) from the world’s leading brands.

                Oticon Real Hearing Aid Review

                 

                Oticon Real Hearing Aid Review – Addressing Real World Hearing Challenges

                 

                In March 2023, Oticon launched in Australia its new premium hearing aid range called Oticon Real.  Oticon Real supersedes Oticon’s current premium hearing aid range; Oticon More.   Oticon’s focus with Oticon Real appears to be in addressing the common, ”Real” everyday issues hearing aid wearers experience.  

                Oticon Real shares the same platform foundation as its predecessor: Oticon More.  Rather than using a completely new sound processing chip, Oticon Real uses Oticon’s existing Polaris chip released with Oticon More.  When released, the Polaris chip supported the world’s first deep neural network (a type of artificial intelligence) to be used in a hearing aid.  This technology was aimed at delivering a more personalised and natural experience for wearers.  For more information on the benefits of this technology see our Oticon More review: https://www.soundsoflife.com.au/oticon-more-hearing-aid-review/

                Using an existing chip platform limits the scope of development for new features.  As expected, this is exactly the case with Oticon Real.  Oticon Real seems to be only a modest upgrade over the Oticon More.  The main improvements relate to some of the features in Oticon’s automatic adaption system called MoreSound Intelligence 2.0.

                All modern hearing aids are designed to be automatic.  Just like an automatic car, which automatically changes gears, hearing aids analyse the environment and automatically turn different features on and off depending on the requirements of the situation (e.g. if the situation is noisy a directional microphone may be turned on).  The goal of such a system is to always optimise speech intelligibility, sound quality and comfort, no matter the listening environment.  Oticon Real features an upgraded automatic system called More Sound Intelligence 2.0 featuring some minor improvements.  

                Improved Wind and Handling Noise

                The first new feature released with Oticon Real is an upgraded wind and handling stabiliser feature which detects and cleans up wind and handling noise.  Wind noise can be a real challenge for hearing aid wearers, particularly when outdoors (e.g. playing golf, walking the dog).  People who have used any form of microphones outdoors would have an appreciation of the challenges of managing the audible interference and disruption caused by wind.  Oticon claims that testing in a wind tunnel showed that compared to leading competitors, Oticon Real was able to both reduce wind noise and provide better speech clarity.  On top of that, they claim they have also reduced the impact of handling noise, which is the sound that your hearing aid makes when it’s touched.  This is unavoidable when wearers take their hearing aids on and off.

                Improved Sudden Sound Stabiliser

                The second new feature, available in Oticon Real is the Sudden Sound Stabiliser.  Integrated into More Sound Intelligence 2.0, the new stabilisation system detects soft, loud, and sudden sounds to ensure they are not uncomfortably loud or intrusive ensuring a more natural listening experience.

                Oticon Real Range

                The Oticon Real range consists of two rechargeable and two non-rechargeable models.  In terms of their design, these models are almost identical to what is offered with Oticon More.  In our opinion the styling offers a good balance between discreet design and manageability with easy-to-use controls. 

                Non-Rechargeable

                The miniRITE T is a receiver-in-the-ear (RIC/RITE) model with a disposable size 312 battery

                The miniBTE T is a behind-the-ear (BTE) model with a size 312 battery.

                Rechargeable

                The miniRITE R is a receiver-in-the-ear (RIC/RITE) model with a lithium-ion rechargeable battery

                The miniBTE R is a behind-the-ear (BTE) model with a lithium-ion rechargeable battery

                In terms of sales volumes, rechargeability is by far the most popular option for clients due to improved ease of use and convenience.  Oticon provides two charging options: (1) Desk Charger and (2) Smart Charger. 

                The Smart Charger is the best option featuring an in-built powerbank.  This means wearers can take the charger when travelling, without the need to access main power for 4 to 5 days.  The Smart Charger also features a drying function that removes moisture.

                Technology Levels

                Oticon Real is available in three technology levels: Real 3, Real 2 and Real 1 being the top-of-the-range model.  The feature-sets of each model is shown in table 1.

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                Our Conclusion

                At Sounds of Life we have always been impressed by how well Oticon hearing aids are accepted by wearers, particularly first-time wearers.  Oticon goes to a lot of effort to optimise sound quality and provide wearers with as natural sound as possible.  Although Oticon Real appears to be only a small upgrade over Oticon More, we believe its still one of the best hearing aids on the market, further enhancing Oticon’s reputation of producing high quality hearing aids.  Are you looking at getting new hearing aids?  Sounds of Life is currently looking for volunteers to trial the new Oticon Real. 

                 

                About Sounds of Life

                Sounds of Life audiology is a member of Audiology Australia and Independent Audiologist Australia. We adhere strictly to Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics.   We pride ourselves on:

                • Being fully independent – We are not owned or operated by a hearing aid manufacturer or large chain.
                • Ethical Practices – We are focused on providing the highest level of care and do not pay commissions.

                We also follow the Australian Government Hearing Services’ protocol for hearing services.

                 

                If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

                Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:

                  Your Name (required)

                  Your Phone Number (required)

                  Your Message

                  Hearing loss and dementia

                  The Intriguing Connection: Exploring the Link Between Hearing Loss and Dementia

                  In recent years, a growing body of research has shed light on a fascinating association between hearing loss and dementia. While the exact nature of this connection is still being explored, numerous studies have demonstrated a compelling relationship between these two conditions. Understanding this link is crucial, as it opens avenues for early intervention and potential preventive measures. In this article, we delve into the latest findings and theories that elucidate the intricate relationship between hearing loss and dementia.

                  The Cognitive Load Theory: One theory proposes that the cognitive load theory plays a significant role in the association between hearing loss and dementia. When individuals experience hearing loss, the brain exerts additional effort to process auditory information, leading to cognitive overload. This increased cognitive load may compromise other essential cognitive functions such as memory and thinking, thereby heightening the risk of developing dementia.

                  Social Isolation and Cognitive Stimulation: Untreated hearing loss can lead to social isolation and communication difficulties. Individuals with hearing loss may withdraw from social activities due to difficulties in understanding conversations, which can result in decreased social engagement and intellectual stimulation. Studies have consistently shown that maintaining an active social life and engaging in intellectually stimulating activities can help preserve cognitive function. The absence of such stimulation due to hearing loss may contribute to an increased risk of dementia.

                  Brain Structure and Function: Emerging research suggests that hearing loss is associated with changes in brain structure and function. Auditory deprivation resulting from hearing loss may impact the brain regions responsible for sound and language processing, causing broader changes in neural networks and cognitive function. Such structural and functional alterations may increase the vulnerability to dementia and cognitive decline.

                  Shared Underlying Pathologies: Several underlying health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cerebrovascular issues, have been linked to both hearing loss and dementia. It is postulated that these shared pathologies contribute to the development of both conditions. Factors like reduced blood flow, inflammation, and metabolic dysfunction may affect the health of the auditory system and the brain, leading to an increased risk of hearing loss and dementia.

                  Sensory Deprivation Hypothesis: The sensory deprivation hypothesis proposes that reduced sensory input due to hearing loss could contribute to brain changes that increase the risk of dementia. The brain relies on sensory stimulation to maintain plasticity and optimal function. When the auditory system is compromised, it may trigger a cascade of neural changes that negatively impact cognitive abilities, potentially leading to the onset of dementia.

                  While more research is needed to fully comprehend the intricate relationship between hearing loss and dementia, the existing evidence suggests a strong association.   As scientific research continues to unravel the link between these two conditions, the current findings emphasise the importance of proactive measures to preserve both hearing and cognitive health throughout life.  Promoting social engagement, cognitive stimulation, and maintaining overall health can play a crucial role in reducing the likelihood of developing dementia in individuals with hearing loss.  In addition by addressing hearing loss through early detection and intervention, such as using hearing aids or other assistive devices, may potentially mitigate the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.   At Sounds of Life we can work provide with you to comprehensively assess your hearing and provide personalised hearing solutions tailored to your needs and lifestyle when required.

                  If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

                  Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:

                    Your Name (required)

                    Your Phone Number (required)

                    Your Message

                    About Sounds of Life

                    Sounds of Life Audiology is a leading, independent hearing aid specialist.  We offer transparent and affordable hearing aid pricing on quality hearing aids (including virtually invisible hearing aid technology) from the world’s leading brands.

                    Artificial Intelligence

                    Revolutionising Sound: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Hearing Aids

                    In recent years, the field of artificial intelligence (AI) has made remarkable strides, transforming various industries and enhancing numerous aspects of our lives. One area where AI is making a significant impact is in the development of hearing aids. With sophisticated algorithms and advanced processing capabilities, AI-powered hearing aids are revolutionising the way individuals with hearing loss experience sound. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the incredible advancements in AI technology and explore how it is transforming the landscape of hearing aids.

                    Enhanced Sound Processing:

                    Traditional hearing aids amplify sounds to compensate for hearing loss, but AI-driven hearing aids take it a step further. By leveraging AI algorithms, these devices can adaptively process and amplify specific frequencies based on the wearer’s unique hearing profile. This personalised approach ensures that users can hear speech, music, and other sounds with exceptional clarity, improving their overall listening experience.

                    Noise Reduction and Speech Enhancement:

                    Background noise can often be a significant challenge for individuals with hearing loss, making it difficult to distinguish speech from a cluttered auditory environment. AI-powered hearing aids employ intelligent noise reduction techniques to filter out unwanted background noise, isolating and enhancing speech signals. These advanced algorithms can differentiate between speech and noise, allowing wearers to focus on conversations and effectively participate in social interactions.

                    Automatic Environmental Adaptation:

                    One of the remarkable features of AI-enabled hearing aids is their ability to automatically adapt to changing acoustic environments. These devices can detect different sound scenarios, such as a quiet room, a noisy restaurant, or a bustling street, and adjust their settings accordingly. With AI’s capacity to learn and recognise patterns, hearing aids can provide optimal sound processing for each specific situation, providing wearers with a seamless listening experience in diverse environments.

                    Machine Learning and Personalisation:

                    AI-driven hearing aids leverage machine learning techniques to continuously improve their performance and adapt to the wearer’s preferences. Through interaction with the user, these devices learn from their experiences and adjust the sound parameters accordingly. This personalisation ensures that the hearing aid adapts to the wearer’s individual hearing needs, ultimately leading to enhanced sound quality and overall satisfaction.

                    Connectivity and Smart Features:

                    With AI integration, hearing aids have become more than just amplification devices. They now offer connectivity options and smart features that can greatly enhance the user experience. AI-powered hearing aids can connect seamlessly with smartphones, allowing wearers to control settings, adjust volume, and even stream audio directly to their hearing aids. Additionally, some models can provide real-time translations, alerts, and notifications, making them versatile tools for communication and accessibility.

                    Data-Driven Insights and Remote Support:

                    AI-enabled hearing aids generate a wealth of data about the wearer’s listening experiences, preferences, and usage patterns. This valuable information can be harnessed to provide data-driven insights to hearing care professionals, enabling them to fine-tune the device settings and optimise the user’s hearing experience. Moreover, remote support and adjustments can be facilitated through AI-powered applications, reducing the need for frequent in-person appointments.

                    Artificial intelligence has brought transformative advancements to the field of hearing aids. By harnessing the power of AI algorithms, these devices offer personalised sound processing, noise reduction, and automatic environmental adaptation, significantly improving the listening experience for individuals with hearing loss. The integration of machine learning and smart features further enhances their functionality, while data-driven insights enable personalised adjustments and remote support. As AI continues to evolve, we can anticipate even more groundbreaking innovations in the realm of hearing aids, empowering individuals with hearing loss and transforming the way we perceive sound.

                    As an independent audiology provider, Sounds of Life fits all brands of hearing aids and are experts in all current AI technology available in hearing aids.  To see how AI can benefit your hearing, reach out to Sounds of Life today.

                    If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

                    Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:

                      Your Name (required)

                      Your Phone Number (required)

                      Your Message

                      About Sounds of Life

                      Sounds of Life Audiology is a leading, independent hearing aid specialist.  We offer transparent and affordable hearing aid pricing on quality hearing aids (including virtually invisible hearing aid technology) from the world’s leading brands.