• Rechargeable battery technologies

    The cost and inconvenience of replacing and disposing of hearing aid batteries has long been a significant concern for hearing aid users. Though rechargeable hearing aids have been available for a long time, battery charge life has often been an issue, and people would often find their devices going dead at inconvenient times.

    Consequently, most hearing-aid users continued to choose conventional non-rechargeable hearing aids with disposable batteries even though the batteries needed to be replaced frequently, are expensive, and dangerous if not disposed of correctly (corrosive and poisonous).

    Recent innovations in rechargeable technologies have however improved battery charge life and made rechargeable options more viable and attractive. Now users can expect a full day of operation from a single charge.

    Currently there are 3 main options when choosing what sort of hearing aid battery to get.

    1 : Conventional disposable batteries. This option remains popular with pensioners who have their battery supply strongly subsidized through the Office of Hearing Services.

    2 : Built in Lithium Ion batteries. (similar to phone batteries)

    3 : Hybrid Z-Power systems which can accommodate both disposable and rechargeable Silver-Zinc batteries.

    Hybrid Silver-Zinc Technology

    In collaboration with Z-Power, many hearing aid manufactures like Oticon, Starkey, Widex, and GN resound have implemented a hybrid battery system option with their range of hearing aids. New hearing aids can be ordered with a special battery door that accommodates both disposable and rechargeable batteries that work with the Z-Power charger.

    Many of the older models can also often be retrofitted with the rechargeable battery door. Removable rechargeable batteries can be easily replaced by standard disposable hearing aid batteries in the event of an emergency. The hearing aids can run on the disposable batteries until it is convenient to switch back to the rechargeable batteries.

    The Silver-zinc rechargeable battery is non-flammable, non-toxic and 100% recyclable. Also the higher energy density means a silver zinc battery can come in a smaller package compared to equivalent lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. The initial cost outlay is a little higher with the rechargeable system but the ongoing cost of replacing disposable batteries is greatly reduced.

    Lithium-ion Technology

    The Phonak and Signia (Siemens) hearing aids are based on built in lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries provide more power than earlier rechargeable solutions for hearing aids that were based on Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) technology. NiMH solutions suffered from shorter battery life and less stable power output.

    Unlike the hybrid option, the Lithium-Ion batteries are sealed into the hearing aids and cannot be replaced or changed by the user. Also the cost and inconvenience of replacing a built in lithium-Ion battery (life expectancy of around 3 to 4 years) has been a discouragement to people taking this option.

    Phonak Audéo B-R

    Phonak claims the new Audéo B-R will last 24 hours on full charge, including up to 80 minutes of wireless streaming. The new product is built on the “Belong,” processor, the newest platform from Phonak. It offers two charger options: charger case and mini-charger (a great travel option). There is also an optional Phonak power packs that can be purchased.

    Signia Cellion Primax

    The Cellion Primax also uses a built in lithium ion battery. It uses an Inductive charger which means it is contact free.

    So which device is best for me?

    Disposable, built-in rechargeable or hybrid? There are pro’s and con’s to all of these options and we recommend that you consult with your hearing care professional to discuss which option suits you best.

  • Why Make Invisible Hearing Aids with Titanium? – The Benefits are Numerous

    World leading hearing aid manufacturer Phonak has released the first custom invisible hearing aid made with a titanium shell. Titanium is a strong, corrosion resistant metal often used in medical implants and aero-space technologies. The use of titanium to build the shell of custom in the ear canal fitting hearing aids offers numerous benefits over traditional acrylic materials.

    Increased Strength This stronger material has enabled the shell to be up to 50% thinner. Enhanced strength means a reduction in shell breakages and downtime for re-shelling.

    Size reduction: The thinner shell of about 0.2mm coupled with 60% smaller electronic components as enabled an approximate 26% reduction in size. This results in an improved fitting rate of about 64% for people who want an invisible in the canal hearing aid (IIC). This is especially relevant for female hearing aid wearers who typically have smaller ear canals.

    Reduced Blocked Feeling (Known as the Occlusion Effect). Due to the reduced size and thinner shell a deeper canal fitting can be attained as well as increased vent size. This reduces the blocked up feeling and booming sound of one’s own voice. A larger vent enables better air flow and reduces humidity in the ear. This reduces the likelihood of ear infections or fungal growth.

    Increased Battery Life has been increased by about 20% due to the reduction in size of the electronics and improved efficiency of components.

    More Secure Fitting Enhanced 3D modelling and the titanium laser printing process allow for a more accurate and deep custom fitting to your unique ear canal shapes. This reduces unwanted slippage or movement of the hearing aid.

    Increased Power & Fitting Range There is now more space in the shell for more powerful amplifiers & receivers (Speakers). We are how able to fit from mild up to severe hearing loss with an invisible hearing aid solution.

    Non- Allergenic Material Titanium is an inert metal that is not known to cause any allergic reactions. Whereas some people are allergic to acrylic.

    Improved Speech Understanding and comfort in Background Noise Phonak Virto B Titanium comes in either Advanced or Premium models on the latest Belong chip platform. This incorporates the patented Phonak Autosense OS modes to optimise performance in different listening environments both automatically and seamlessly .

    Highest Moisture & Dust Resistance of Any In the Canal Aid – Now IP 68 Rated Due to the improved modular micro-phone and battery housing and new materials the ingress protection rating has been increased to IP68 which is a world first for an in the canal aid to have this level of resistant to moisture, sweat and dust. This is especially important to deeper canal fitting hearing aids which sit in a humid, waxy and moist environment. This significantly reduces the chance of device failure, previously a major problem for this style of hearing aid.

    These new generation hearing aids can be trialled for at least a month to experience the benefits they can provide in every day life. Please don’t hesitate to contact your nearest Harmony Hearing Centre.

  • How Do We Hear?

    The major task of the ear is to detect, transmit and transduce sound (such as changing it from a mechanical vibration to a neural impulse.) The inner ear also assists in maintaining our sense of balance and motion.

    The best way to describe the functioning of the ear is to describe the path which the sound waves take on their way through the ear. In the video you can see the journey of the sound waves through the ear.

    Sound travels to the outer ear and in through the auditory canal, causing the eardrum, or tympanic membrane, to vibrate. This causes the three small bones known as the malleous, incus and the stapes in the middle ear to move. These middle ear bones together are referred to as the ossicular chain. The vibrations move via the oval window through the fluid in the cochlea in the inner ear, stimulating thousands of tiny hair cells also called stereocilia . This results in the transformation of the vibrations into electrical impulses finally perceived by the brain as sound.

    The ear consists of many small parts, but can be divided into three major parts:

    The Outer Ear

    The Middle Ear

    The Inner Ear

  • Nedlands Hearing Centre on Broadway – Communicating in Harmony

    It’s been at least a two year dream of opening up another hearing clinic….
    We’ve found a gem of a spot on Broadway Nedlands.
    I’m so proud of Andrew Mackendrick for being so ambitious. It has been hard work for a family practice to expand, but we couldn’t of done it without an enormous help and support from our staff, family and friends.
    We have amazing work colleagues that assist in making Harmony Hearing all that it has become.
    Your Trusted Hearing Clinic.
    We have been impressed by all your efforts and can’t thank you enough.
    To our clients new and existing
    we thank you for blessing us with your presence and for trusting Harmony for your hearing care needs.
    Harmony Hearing Nedlands is now open and our signs are officially up today.
    You can now see us in Fremantle, Nedlands, Osborne Park and Mundaring.
    Call us on 93867816 for an appointment for you or a loved one.

  • Tips For Coping With Hearing Loss At Work

    It’s a problem that is only going to get worse: aging workers with hearing loss.
    The Pew Research Center found that as of early 2015 the labor force was made up of about 45 million boomers between the ages of 51 and 70.
    And the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2022 about one third of those aged between 65 and 74 will still be part of the workforce.
    Since 1 out of every 6 boomers have some level of hearing loss, that translates to about 7 million people in the work force who have some hearing loss!
    Unfortunately, most work places seem to want to ignore the problem altogether.
    Simple accommodations for those with hearing loss such as hearing loops or real time captioning are rarely used by most businesses.
    If you have a hearing loss, here are some things you can do proactively to make sure you can do your job fully:
    1. Get hearing aids. This is the easiest thing you can do to not only improve your work performance but to improve all aspects of your daily life.
    2. Discuss your hearing loss with your immediate co-workers and supervisor. And, if they don’t seem to remember, remind them. Since hearing loss is invisible some people may need to be told multiple times. Most people will be happy to work with you and make sure they can communicate with you effectively, if you ask them.
    3. Ask your boss for some accommodations such as a captioned phone or a hearing loop. Many businesses will offer these accommodations for customers but totally forget to offer them for their employees!
    The specific types of accommodations you need will depend on the type of work you do but there are things that can be done for most industries to make it easier for you to do your job well.