• Articles

    Testing hearing on the International Space Station

    KUDUwave audiometer.  Hearing tests take off in space A new, South African made, portable audiometer, will soon be testing the hearing of crew members onboard the International Space Station.  The International Space Station, or ISS, is a noisy place, and even the experience of getting to and from it can be a risk to hearing. In fact, NASA’s audiology studies detect that astronauts’ hearing is at risk due to the challenges of their job. Some time ago NASA started exploring ways to better monitor astronaut health in long space missions, but existing audiometry machines were simply too elaborate and heavy to get into, and operate in, space. Cue the KUDUwave,…

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    Shunts and visiting an audiology clinic.

    Do you have a PVP shunt?   If you have no idea what we’re talking about, then, chances are, you don’t. However, if you have hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid in the brain caused by excess cerebrospinal fluid, and you have had a PVP fitted, you must tell us before you have a hearing assessment. The pressure caused by the excess fluid is usually resolved with a surgically implanted device that drains the fluid away. These devices are known as shunts, and some are programmable – known as PVP shunts. PVP shunts have a magnetically adjustable valve placed under the skin, often on or near the mastoid bone, so that…

  • Articles

    Making the link – stress and hearing loss

    April has been Stress Awareness Month since 1992. However, stress, and mental health, have been much in the news over the past year, as the restrictions, fears and job losses generated by the Covid-19 pandemic have taken their toll. While reducing stress is vital for your emotional and mental wellbeing, did you know that reducing its physical impact on you could help to prevent hearing damage? How does stress impact your hearing? Many people understand that long-term stress can lead to problems like high blood pressure and heart disease, but fewer people appreciate that it can also impact our hearing in the form of tinnitus or hearing loss. But how…

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    The first sound recordings from Mars.

    Hearing sounds that are out-of-this-world? Perhaps a few times in a lifetime our ears enable us to have unique and unforgettable individual experiences. It may be hearing the cry of your first child as he or she enters the world, or being asked ‘will you marry me?’. Thanks to today’s incredible developments in technology we can also now have unforgettable hearing experiences as a global society. The first alien recording If you’ve been following the adventures of Perseverance, the latest NASA rover to land on Mars, you may know that, as well as being equipped with state of the art cameras, an X-ray spectrometer, radar and weather station, Perseverance has…

  • Articles

    Can new earbud tech treat disease?

    A new start-up is using special earbuds to channel electrical pulses into the outer ear to ‘hack’ into the brain’s neural circuits with the aim of treating disease. The company, Nēsos, is targeting the vagus nerve, which connects the brain to key organs, with the aim of regulating inflammation and treating rheumatoid arthritis. It’s producing some interesting results. In a study, 30 people with rheumatoid arthritis used the earbuds for a few minutes a day, for three months. By the end of the study, half of them had improved in a clinically meaningful way. More than half of those who had benefited showed a 20% improvement, a third improved by…

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    Seeing noise differently in lockdown

    At The Hearing Clinic we’re very focused on noise. After all, very loud noise experienced at work or during leisure pursuits can cause irreversible hearing damage – something we often see in our clients. Few people probably realise that noise is considered pollution but the World Health Organisation has stated that noise pollution is the second most dangerous environmental risk factor for humans after air pollution. The world goes quiet We’ve been watching with interest the noise-related side effects of the last year’s lockdowns across the world. Like many people, we were amazed at the photos of usually-bustling city centres reduced to silence – particularly when wild animals began to…

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    One step closer to a cure for hearing loss?

    If you have a hearing loss, you’ll probably know that this can be as a result of damage to the specialist hair cells that are found in the inner ear. These cells are crucial for hearing, because they either amplify sounds that come into the ear, or change sound waves into electrical signals for the brain to interpret. New research Now, a study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) in the US has determined the role that a critical protein plays in the development of these special inner ear hair cells. The researchers, keen to understand how these cells develop, have found that the protein,…

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    Hearing aids stimulate the brain

    Hearing loss is one of the leading chronic health conditions among adults, and the most common type of hearing loss is age-related hearing loss (ARHL) – a slow but steady loss of hearing. As ARHL is a slow process, many people who experience it find ways to adapt to the loss. But a recent study by scientists at the University of Colorado in the US, and highlighted in the Hearing Review, may make you think again about leaving it too long to seek help. How does the brain respond to hearing loss? The Colorado study shows that untreated hearing loss, even a mild case, may lead to an impairment, or…

  • The Hearing Clinic

    Feel the BUZZ

    A new wearable device, now available worldwide, is enabling people with hearing impairment to feel sounds on their skin. The Neosensory Buzz looks like an Apple Watch or Fitbit and enables the wearer to feel water running, an alarm ringing, or someone calling their name. Developed by neuroscientists, Buzz turns sound into vibration that you can feel on your wrist and gives you another channel to experience sound by sending it directly to your brain via the sense of touch. You can programme Buzz to suit your unique needs and it will adjust to your surroundings, cancelling out any noise you don’t want to hear. You can feel the beat…

  • Articles

    Keep your hearing aids happy in the cold

    There’s nothing better than a walk on a crisp winter day before warming up by a fire, but spare a thought for your hearing aids which need to tackle some huge temperature extremes at this time of year. Going from, potentially, minus temperatures outside to plus-twenty inside can create condensation inside your hearing aids. This can risk damage to your devices’ complex internal workings, such as the microphone and receiver. Troubleshooting problems with your devices You may find the sound cuts out, fades or comes and goes, or you experience sound distortion. Do a battery check to ensure you’re not just needing new batteries. Clean away moisture inside the device…

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