Friday, 16 May 2014

Speech Audiometry Now Available

In normal audiometric testing, the individual’s recognition of pure tones (single frequency) is tested. Speech recognition is of greater interest because that is what is needed in day-to-day life.                                                                                   
Measurement of speech thresholds are useful as a means to cross-check the validity of the pure-tone thresholds, especially where the subject has been difficult to test or has given erroneous or unusual responses to pure tones.The accepted measures for measurement of speech thresholds are the Speech Recognition Threshold (SRT) and the Speech Detection Threshold (SDT). The SRT is commonly used for adult testing.

The materials that are used in speech threshold testing are spondees, which are familiar two-syllable words that have a fairly steep psychometric function. We usethe Frye Electronics US / NAL Labs. Australia ~ FONIX Audiometric Speech CD and the EWING FOUNDATION, London ~ UNFILTERED SPEECH. In the UK, speech audiometry is not commonly available and is rarely offered to adult clients. We conduct this on approximately 12% of subjects (where it is judged to be appropriate). 

Tympanometry now available in our branches

Tympanometry is a method for doctors and audiologists to diagnose and monitor problems with the middle ear. It can help with identifying disorders that can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss, especially in children. The test itself involves a brief puff of air in the ear canal. It is painless and measures the ear’s response to both sound and pressure. The results are recorded on a graph called a “tympanogram”. It is not that common for a UK audiologist to have access to this equipment as it is very expensive, but we are so equipped. This can be useful in identifying certain middle ear problems. Tympanometry can help reveal or assist in monitoring the following:
  • Perforated ear drum
  • Scarring of the ear drum
  • Fluid in the middle ear
  • Impacted ear wax
  • Eustachian tube function
  • Failure of the conduction bones of the middle ear
  • A tumour in the middle ear

A tympanogram measures middle ear function that can add to information already gathered via the visual otoscopic examination. The impedance measurement is a method by which to diagnose and monitor disorders that could lead to permanent hearing loss. This test will produce a “curve” generally falling into 1 of 3 categories:
In a "Type A" curve, the peak compliance occurs at or near the atmospheric pressure, indicating normal condition within the middle ear.Type A curve has three subcategories:
A: A normal shape reflects a normal middle ear mechanism.
AD: A deep curve with a tall peak indicates an abnormally compliant middle ear, as seen with ossicular chain dislocation or loss of elastic fibres in the ear drum. 
AS: A shallow curve indicative of a stiffened system, as seen in otosclerosis or a thickened tympanic membrane.

A "Type B" curve has no sharp peak and little or no variation in impedance over a wide sweep range. This is indicative of non­compressible fluid within the middle ear space (otitis media), tympanic membrane perforation, or debris within the external ear canal (cerumen).

A “Type C” curve peak compliance is significantly below zero (usually less than -200), indicating negative pressure (sub-atmospheric) within the middle ear space. This finding is suggestive of Eustachian tube dysfunction or middle ear fluid.  

Acoustic reflex measurements
An acoustic reflex, or contraction of the Stapedial muscle, occurs under normal conditions when a sufficiently intense sound is presented to the auditory pathway. This contraction of the muscle causes a stiffening of the ossicular chain which changes the compliance of the middle ear system. As in Tympanometry, a probe tone is used to measure this change incompliance. When the stimulus presentation and measurement are made in the same ear by means of the probe, this acoustical reflex is referred to as an ipsilateral acoustic reflex. When the stimulus presentation and measurement are made in opposite ears, the reflex is referred to as a contralateral acoustic reflex. An acoustic reflex measurement is taken after the tympanogram is performed. For best results, this reflex measurement is automatically conducted at the air pressure value where the compliance peak occurred during the tympanometric test. Stimulus tones of varying intensities at 500, 1000, 2000 or 4000 Hz are presented as short bursts.If a change in compliance greater than 0.05 ml is detected, a reflex is considered present. Because this is an extremely small compliance change, any movement of the probe during the test may produce an artefact (false response). The test result is recorded as Pass / No Response and in graphical form.

Call us now for a free consultation.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Rehabilitating to new sounds

It takes 3-9 months to adapt to hearing aids:
Many new hearing aid wearers will not appreciate this and will quickly become detached from their hearing aids, choosing to wear them less frequently or not at all. Hearing aids are far more challenging to get used to than, say, contact lenses. A good provider will have anticipated this mid-term problem. Long term wearers will often adopt negative views about their hearing aids. A good provider will be at hand to counter these thoughts!
Quite unlike any other item you will ever purchase, the switched-on consumer will buy a long-term service contract within the price of hearing aids. A good provider will be of sound enough character and / or sufficiently well-managed to see the business advantages of keeping in touch with you in the long term. You need to assess your chosen provider and trust him/her to look after you for years to come.

Current brands of hearing aid

There are only a handful of manufacturers of hearing aids operating in Europe. Most of them have offices in the UK. True ‘Hearing aids’ are devices where a suitably qualified person fits them. It is possible to buy hearing amplifiers on-line, but this is risky, often fraught with problems and seldom leads to success. The reason for this is that, for most of us, hearing aids take a while to get used to. So it helps if someone is at hand to make fine tuning adjustments, especially in the first three months. Phonak, Siemens, Oticon, Unitron, Widex, GN Resound and Starkey are the manufacturers that you will tend to hear about the most. They have almost the entire market share.
So to choose a manufacturer: – well, there are historical and market performance indications one can consider and gather information about on the internet that may influence you. For example, one manufacturer does have an outstanding reputation for producing hearing aids for hearing impaired children, etc. However, in reality, most consumers will be ‘recommended’ a make by a retailer for less-than-scientific, often commercial reasons. It’s fair to say that most hearing aid retailers are heavily biased towards one or two manufacturers. Even the smaller independents will usually have a current preference. So it is likely, if you go to one provider only, you may receive a biased recommendation. Does it matter? Probably not. In all fairness, the manufacturers mentioned already are all at least ‘good’ at what they do. And most modern hearing aids are of high quality. In the same way, most mobile phones are pretty good these days. At this time, we can say that:

PHONAK have a dominant market share (and Unitron is part of the same group). They have an impressive range of FM add-on listening devices (1), they are innovative in terms of Bluetooth connectivity (to mobiles, iPads, etc) and their CROS devices are quite superb (for users with one dead ear (2).

SIEMENS have always been prominent in the UK, winning a larger part of the NHS contracts in previous years. Of note is their revived recent interest in the private UK sector, which may mean better deals and you being offered Siemens more often. Siemens hearing aids are certainly of excellent build quality. The MiniTek remote control and streaming device is arguably the best add-on in the market.

OTICON, like Widex and Phonak, have long benefited from a high-end reputation. At its start, Oticon dominated the important receiver-in the-ear market. There is no question that their in-the-ear aids are very well made. Their Bluetooth accessories ConnectLine are probably the most complete range – this includes the Connectline MIC, a Bluetooth tie clip that can be worn on the lapel of say, the spouse, who can then speak directly into the wearer’s hearing aids, even in another room.

UNITRON is generally speaking, a safe choice, as it shares many of the qualities of Phonak, but with a lower price tag.

WIDEX has probably the most enviable historical reputation. Their hearing aids tend to have a somewhat mellower sound quality than most others, and the Clear Passion model is probably the most attractive in terms of aesthetic appearance.

GN RESOUND has a great history of innovations. The first open-ear aid (the type preceding receiver in the ear) was launched by Resound, and their receiver-in-the-ear aids continue to be of superior design.

STARKEY had a strong presence in the UK when analogue technology was the main form of hearing aid amplification. Their more recent digital hearing aids are of great quality. Of note, are the touch-sensitive controls and the TV streamer accessory SurfLink that needs no additional boosting device.

In Summary, each professional will have their own reasons for recommending a particular manufacturer. In the main, it doesn't really matter that much, so long as you are comfortable with your choice of provider, and are given ample time to test and evaluate your new hearing device.
It is fair to point out, that each manufacturer’s product has its own distinct ‘character’ (their particular method of amplifying and compressing background noises) and because we each respond differently to new (or different) amplification, it is quite impossible for any hearing professional to select an ‘ideal’ manufacturer for you.
We appreciate that each make has its own qualities, but it’s pretty much impossible to say which is best in any situation. Once you have tried one, and given some feedback, it may be possible to select the perfect manufacturer / or it may be easier to draw conclusions about which is suitable and which is not.
Also, to make an informed decision about the long term cost of owning a certain brand, please refer to our ONGOING COSTS section, and, if you wish to be a very well-informed consumer, then get at least 3 quotes before you decide anyway.

Friday, 9 July 2010

hearing direct

A company offering hearing aids from £99 to £399 through the post sounds tempting.
I think this may suit some people, but in most cases, personal service DOES matter. Hearing aids are difficult to get used to, and often need many adjustments.
It's a choice one has to make, but I would point out that our mini hearing aids with aftercare start at £295. Our high quality CUSTOM IMPRESSION hearing aids also cost from £295 AND OUR RETURNS rate for 2009-12 was under 0.25%. We can also offer a 1 week free trial at home, with no catch.

Please see your GP first and FULLY INVESTIGATE YOUR NHS OPTION FIRST before you buy any hearing aids through the post.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

What every hearing impaired person wants?

The market is so competitive now, and that's a situation that can benefit you SO MUCH

Here's my analysis:
  2. You can EASILY secure an agreement to offer you a FREE TRIAL
  3. You can easily SECURE A CONTINUOUS AFTERCARE COMMITMENT from a pleasant local business
FORGET ALL YOU HAVE HEARD ABOUT HEARING AIDS - If you have already tried NHS hearing aids and not got on well, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF A FREE TRIAL and find out for yourself.


Please be aware that a large retailer MAY be falsely describing certain hearing aids - please do not misunderstand me - they are simply re-labeling so as to give themselves a unique product.

This would be for the purpose of increasing the perceived value of that product in your mind. PLEASE PLEASE take some time out to become an EXPERT HEARING AID CONSUMER by exploring fully the NHS option AND demanding a FREE TRIAL only. And ALWAYS get another LIKE FOR LIKE QUOTE...

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Posh hearing aids

If you don't mind paying a bit more, then visit This is an organisation supporting the long established family-run hearing aid practices in the UK, with the resources, client base and equipment to give you, the client an arguably superior visit experience...

I am sure you will receive a better than average service here, but please be aware that in today's volatile and highly competitive market - there are lots of new enterprising small businesses desperate to secure your business out there and, FOR EXACTLY THE SAME PRODUCT YOU CAN SAVE A SMALL FORTUNE and receive a far more attentive aftercare service. The market is now one much better serving the needs of you, the client.  Some smaller, less established businesses may not have all the diagnostic equipment offered by AIHPP members, but they do follow up their responsibilities to clients to the same high level. Importantly, these newer businesses mostly support the display of prices up-front before you enquire.
Please note AIHPP members do not generally display prices on their websites.

We also offer completely free trials and amazingly low prices on batteries and consumable items. see us at

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

WARNING: Bogus Spectacle-worn hearing aid adverts

On a regular basis I'm asked "what about these wonderful spectacle aids?"....
Unfortunately, a few hearing aid companies have placed mass advertising on this subject. Please be aware that spectacle aids are VERY RARELY prescribed, are complicated to fit, and for 99% of users will involve fitting the glasses THEN inserting two little tubes in the ear canals.
HEARING AID ENQUIRER's NAMES AND ADDRESSES have an approximate value of £300 each, thus these ads are highly effective in capturing your information.

Monday, 7 June 2010


..are great, but you do need to 'phone them and have a chat about WHO will actually deal with you and what their aftercare philosophy is.


These are still being offered for sale in the UK, even though they are hardly ever appropriate - and I'm asked to quote for these items.
I've got to say they are at least ugly if not downright old fashioned. The most popular generic types of hearing aid are
1. receiver in ear aids, with a small unit on TOP OF THE EAR and a very thin wire in the ear
2. Completely in the canal hearing aids; tiny custom built aids hidden in the ear canal
3. Micro behind the ear aids with very thin tubes in the ear canal (available through some NHS Trusts.

These are the types you should be offered in 90% of cases

HOT BUYING TIPS for Summer 2010

Phonak / Unitron group are way out in front, and that's not surprising - the processor chip they use is creating very high levels of client satisfaction. And their mini receiver in ear product is TINY and very well built. I have noted that the nanotech cover on the microphones is a little thin, thus leading to audible hair rustle for some wearers, but for most, PHONAK UNITRON is outstanding right now. OF COURSE, THAT ASSUMES YOU PAY THE RIGHT PRICE!

Widex has always been a favourite of hearingaidsecrets - even though it is a little pricey. HOWEVER, as from JULY 10, Widex are opening their own plant in the UK. This is great news, but as with any new manufacturing site, be wary on price and build quality issues of in-the-ear aids for the next few months. Call us for up to the minute prices you should pay on WIDEX.

GN Resound are suffering from dropping sales at the moment. Probably a fair enough value-brand.

Siemens hearing aids are well built and the software is great. Prices are too high but they will soon start to take the UK private market more seriously.

Oticon / Bernafon are losing out right now. They are being forced into the high end market only by perhaps being less competitive, This is a mistake, but there is no doubting that their connectline compatible products are amazing.

Starkey receiver in ear aids are a little on the large side. The OTO LENS is a very interesting new tiny hearing aid launching in July 2010 and the touch controls on their BTEs is clever if you don't fancy a remote control.

Thursday, 3 December 2009


Sonova Holding AG is a Switzerland-based company operating in the healthcare sector. The Company offers hearing healthcare solutions, wireless communication systems for audiology applications and solutions for hearing protection. The brand portfolio of Sonova Holding AG includes Phonak, Unitron Hearing, Argosy and Acoustic Implants. The Company is active in over 90 countries through a combination of 54 subsidiaries in 30 countries and a network of independent distributors. It operates worldwide through its numerous subsidiaries, which include Phonak AG, Phonak (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., Phonak Iberica SAU, Indomed AG and Phonak AB, among others. In 2008, the Company acquired TRE SA for purpose of selling of hearing instruments.

SALES 2008/9 +3.69%

William Demant Holding A/S is a Denmark-based company engaged in the development, manufacture and sale of products and equipment, designed to aid people's hearing and communication. The Company is operational through three business divisions. Hearing Aids comprises Oticon and Bernafon, which produce hearing aids and fitting systems, marketed through subsidiaries and distributors worldwide. Diagnostic Instruments encompasses Maico Diagnostics and Interacoustics, which manufacture and distribute audiometers and tympanometers for hearing measurement. Personal Communication includes Phonic Ear, which provides wireless communication systems and hearing aids for the hearing impaired, and the joint venture Sennheiser Communications, which develops and markets wireless learning systems and assisting listening devices.

SALES 2008/9 -2.09%

GN Store Nord A/S (GN) is a Denmark-based company active within the telecommunications industry. The Company is engaged in the provision of personal communication solutions, including headsets for hands-free communication, hearing instruments and audiologic diagnostics equipment. The Company operates through two business areas: GN Netcom and GN ReSound. GN markets its headsets under the Jabra brand and the Company’s hearing aids are sold under the ReSound, Beltone and Interton brands. The Company’s products are mainly manufactured in the production facility located in Xiamen, China.

SALES 2008/9 -5.9%

Siemens AG (Siemens) is engaged in electronics and electrical engineering. During the fiscal year ended September 30, 2008 (fiscal 2008), the Company reorganized its operations. It operates in six segments: Industry, Energy, Healthcare, Siemens IT Solutions, Services and Siemens Financial Services (SFS), and Equity Investments. Industry, Energy and Healthcare segments are reported along with 14 divisions, which comprise the Divisions Industry Automation, Drive Technologies, Building Technologies, Osram, Industry Solutions and Mobility belonging to the Industry Sector, the divisions Fossil Power Generation, Renewable Energy, Oil & Gas, Power Transmission and Power Distribution belonging to the Energy Sector, and the Divisions Imaging & Information Technology (IT), Workflow & Solutions and Diagnostics belonging to the Healthcare Sector. As a globally operating organization, the Company also conducts business with customers in Iran, Sudan, Syria and Cuba.

SALES 2008/9 +6.73%

Source: Reuters

Privately owned: Starkey and Widex

Widex A/S (Widex) is a global company within the digital hearing aid technology market and offers audiological solutions. It is principally engaged in the development, manufacture and marketing of the hearing aid devices for the ENT markets and also conducts audiological research. Widex develops products such as inteo series, flash series, bravissimo series, ear bearing aids and assistive listening devices. Its devices offer people with hearing loss the same opportunity as those with normal hearing. Its broad range of products are sold through a network of distributors as well as its wholly-owned subsidiaries in more than 90 markets around the world. The company is headquartered in Vaerlose, Denmark. The company's research, development and administration as well as its production is based in Vaerlose, Denmark. Also, it has large assembly departments in Helsinge, North Sealand and in Verviers, Belgium. Source:

Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Starkey) is engaged in the manufacturing, designing and distribution of hearing aids and hands-free communications devices. It provides top quality diagnostic equipment, hearing protection products, wireless technology and various unique hearing solutions. The company was incorporated in 1967. In 2006, its integrated circuit design centre was acquired by AMI Semiconductor, Inc, a subsidiary of AMIS Holdings, Inc. The Starkey Hearing Alliance (SHA) is a select national network of hearing care professionals who partner with Starkey in providing the most comprehensive levels of hearing care. It has 35 facilities and operates in more than 24 countries.


Monday, 23 November 2009

"NATIONAL Companies????"

Quite often you will come across companies claiming NATIONAL coverage, or that they have a representative in the area, or that they offer NATIONAL advice --- etc etc.
TOP SECRET for 2009: There will be a mass of hearing aid sites springing up, offering NATIONAL coverage. HOW TO DEAL WITH THIS TYPE OF COMPANY:

1, check the website for an exact head office and name of hearing aid dispenser. AVOID COMPLETELY ANY SITES THAT HIDE THEIR IDENTITY.

2, Mostly, NATIONAL stands for nothing at all. hearingaidsecrets' view is that in the main, it is better to deal with an independent that is local to you, who is recommended and - of at least 3 years' standing.

3, In today's volatile and changing market, the only national I could possibly recommend is BOOTS, ALTHOUGH, YOU MUST STILL GET AT LEAST 2 OPINIONS/PRICES - we can save you around £1500 right now.

Bogus "Research" and "test" adverts

Please do not participate in such offers. The idea is that the likes of 'speech mapping' (real response measurement) or trials and tests of new hearing aids for 'research' is offered... this is a despicable marketing idea being used at the moment - both to encourage direct responses and also to encourage visits to so-called exhibitions or open days. PLEASE DO NOT ENQUIRE ABOUT PRIVATE HEARING AIDS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, unless you realise the following:
1. Anything to do with private hearing aids ALMOST ALWAYS involves a private profit-seeking company
2. Any such approach, where hearing aid prices are not stated up front is bogus and to be avoided.