Hearing Loss And Children. Effects And What To Do.

We all have that natural instinct to protect our children. When we talk about hearing loss and children we, as parents, need to understand that it goes much, much deeper than simply the loss of sound.Hearing help

 

Hearing loss is a disability. People have a tendency to believe that the effects of the disability will be determined by the severity of the hearing loss. That is not strictly true. Some profoundly hard of hearing children will cope better with the level of loss than others that suffer only mild or moderate loss.

 

Each individual child will be different. No two will be effected in exactly the same way. Even if the hearing loss is identical the reaction and how they cope with a variety of other related issues will not be the same.

 

Hearing loss can never be treated in isolation. It affects every part of a childs life. From school, to friends, to family. Parents need to know how hearing loss is affecting their child. Only by knowing can we really protect and help our children through the trauma of this disability.

 

10 other ways hearing loss can affect children.

I have selected 10 other ways that hearing loss can affect children. I don’t make a difference between mild, moderate, severe or profound hearing loss. As I have said children will react differently to each of these 10 situations. Some are more obvious than others and many will overlap but hearing loss can have a negative effect on how children react to all of them.

 

Hearing loss and school.

If not diagnosed early, hearing loss can have a devastating effect on a child at school. Even with only a mild loss vital lessons can be missed. If a teacher is speaking in class and the child is missing parts of what they are saying then how can they be expected to perform to their maximum ability..

 

Few children (particularly young children) would be confident enough to say that they can’t hear what is being said. They may just think that everything is normal. As a result, their performance will suffer and with that their confidence in their own ability will take a nosedive.

 

Once a child loses interest in something they will turn to something else to fill the void. This can lead a child to being classed as disruptive, the class jester or just down right stupid. You may think that is a bit harsh but it happened to myself at the grand old age of 7. No one at the time thought of hearing loss and by the time I was diagnosed at 8 my opinion of school was set in stone.Children at school

 

The early years in school are so vitally important to how a child will perform throughout their school life. I firmly believe that all children should be given a hearing test before they begin their schooling. This simple audiology test would ensure that no child starts such an important phase of their lives at a disadvantage.

 

Hearing loss and home.

It is so easy to miss the early signs of hearing loss in children at home. If the child has no siblings then it should be easier as home life should be more intimate between the parents and child. If a child is struggling to hear television or conversation in this environment then it should be fairly easy to identify that something is wrong.

 

However if there are a bunch of kids running round, it can be much more difficult. There were 5 of us at a young age and when kids are playing they tend to be loud. With everyone shouting it was easy for me to hear. When we all sat down to watch television I would struggle to hear but didn’t ask for the volume to be turned up. I didn’t want to be seen as different.

 

My escape was to read when the rest were watching television. My parents actually admired me for this and didn’t recognise that there was an underlying problem. Why would they, I was completely normal in every other way. Parents need to know what signs to look out for in order to spot the first signs of hearing loss in their kids. The top10 signs of hearing loss in children.

 

Hearing loss and concentration.

People tend to think that this should be a dead giveaway in terms of spotting hearing loss. Actually it isn’t. Hearing loss will be well down the list of things people blame, especially in a children.Concentration and hearing loss

 

If a child lacks the ability to concentrate on oral stimulation for any length of time, it is generally blamed on things such as, just not interested, got a bee up their backside, wants to play with their friends, wants to play video games etc…

 

These can all be genuine reasons of course. If this lack of concentration continues over a period of time then perhaps you need to look a bit deeper. It might just be that the child can’t concentrate because they simply can’t hear what is being said.

 

Hearing loss and behaviour.

This one can be tricky. A child with hearing loss can be very meek and quiet or very noisy and disruptive. The meek child will simply nod at everything you are saying and then carry out the bits of instruction they have heard. They will very rarely ask questions and tend to have that “day dreaming look” on a regular basis.

 

The noisy and disruptive child will be the exact opposite. Whilst you and others may think a child is just being abnormally loud and disruptive. They may simply be reacting to a hearing loss that they don’t recognise nor understand. This is their way to attract attention.

 

Hearing loss and isolation.

There can be a terrible feeling of isolation for a child with hearing loss. They may know something isn’t right but can’t understand or express it to others. I know that, even living with 2 brothers, 2 sisters, my parents and my uncle that there were times when I felt an overwhelming sense of being alone. Man sitting all alone on a bench

 

No child will be able to understand hearing loss in a rational sense. They will be practical about it. This is where a parent can spot that something isn’t right. Simple signs such as the child being withdrawn, playing by themselves rather than a group. Even noticing if a child constantly leans forward towards a tv could indicate that there is something wrong with their hearing.

 

Hearing loss and bullying.

Thankfully something I have never experienced but I have spoke to others who have. Bullying is a constant source of discussion regarding schools and social media today. Children can be cruel. If a child can’t hear properly and gives the wrong reply in a conversation, this can lead to them being mocked by their peers as stupid.

 

That child can then decide to withdraw from future conversations to prevent being made fun of again. People can now see the child as being a loner which can lead to further verbal or even physical bullying.

 

If a child is being bullied, the parents/teachers etc… need to really drill down to try and find the root cause. It may not be superficial but something no one has thought of.

 

Hearing loss and language development.

Undiagnosed hearing loss in a child can lead to difficulties and delays in their language development. If a child is missing parts of a conversation or even just a couple of words here and there then the whole construction of sentences can be obscured.

 

People with hearing loss also tend to hear certain words differently from others. As an adult we can learn to adapt to this and adjust to make sentences make sense. A child will not have the skills to do this and can end up with a distorted view of language.

 

Hearing loss and music.

This is probably the most common missed opportunity of all to notice something is wrong. Every child listens to their music with the volume turned to full. This alone has the potential to cause damage to their hearing in time. You can check out my post on “Can loud music cause hearing loss” here.

 

A simple test can help here. Every now and then turn the music down to a normal level. If the child consistently says that they can’t hear the sound at that level then it could indicate hearing loss. If a child already has hearing loss then playing loud music (particularly through headphones) can lead to very severe damage in the future.

 

Hearing loss and relationships.

This is partly covered in the section regarding isolation. If a child is isolated and withdrawn at an early age then it can have a very negative impact on their ability to form relationships later in life.Relationships and hearing loss

 

This lack of bonding with others can impact on everything from finding a partner in life to not being able to hold down regular employment. All employers will tell you that they want team players. If someone hasn’t learned these skills at an early age then they can be very difficult to acquire later in life.

 

Hearing loss and balance disorders.

Most young children love to play sports. We all know the benefits in terms of a healthy lifestyle etc… Someone suffering from hearing loss can also often experience balance disorders.

 

If your child tells you that they are experiencing this or if they say they don’t want to take part in sports because it makes them dizzy, don’t just dismiss it. It could signal that hearing loss is a factor.

 

Even in everyday life, if your child is prone to falling over (I don’t mean the normal rough and tumble of childhood). If you notice that their balance doesn’t appear to be just right. Get them checked out.

 

How can we protect our children from the effects of hearing loss?

Prevention is always better than a cure. The earlier that hearing loss is detected in a child then the less impact it will have on their lives. I believe that free hearing tests should be carried out on every child prior to starting school for the first time.

 

I believe that free hearing tests should also form part of a child’s development at least up to the age of 16 or 18. If tests were to be carried out every two years then most, if not all of the above issues, could be prevented.Free hearing test

 

If a child is found to have hearing loss then the use of hearing aids for most would allow them to lead a pretty much normal life and avoid most of the issues that myself and many others have had to endure.

 

Some will shout and scream about the cost of such a programme. At the end of the day our children are the future. You can’t put a price on health.

 

Thanks for reading. As always, I welcome all comments and feedback and will reply to them all. Please leave yours below. You can always contact me at eddie@helpwithhearingloss.com

Call Blockers For Home Phones.

Product – CPR Call Blocker V5000.

Price – £69.99

Guarantee – 45 Day Money Back.

Where To Buy – HEARING DIRECT.COM

Overall Rating – 4.8 out of 5.CPR Call Blocker V5000

 

You might be wondering why I am doing a review on call blockers for home phones? The reason is very simple, I have received a load of requests from visitors to the website here asking if I can recommend one that is effective and doesn’t break the bank.

 

Why do people with hearing loss need the CPR Call Blocker V5000?

Lots of people with hearing loss, particularly those elderly folk are classed as “vulnerable” people in society in general. It is a simple fact of life that vulnerable people are much more susceptible to phone scams and nuisance calls.

 

These sort of calls are on the rise and despite repeated warnings people continue to get caught out by scammers. People with hearing loss can be particularly susceptible to these telephone scams. Not being able to hear the conversation properly can lead to people giving out information that can result in them being taken to the cleaners.

 

It isn’t just the scams people have to be protected against. The persistent nuisance callers are becoming a major source of irritation and can cause a lot of stress and anxiety to vulnerable people who may be home alone all day and have to deal with up to a dozen of these calls daily.

 

In fact, I think everyone could do with one of these little devices. These seemingly never ending calls regarding PPI or bank repayments have become the bane of most people’s lives and anything that can lessen them is welcome in my opinion.Call centre

 

What exactly is the CPR Call Blocker V5000?

The CPR call blocker does exactly what it says on the tin. It blocks unwanted calls. Even though this is a top of the range model it is extremely simple to use. I have seen other models that look like you would need a degree in electronics to operate. This device is operated using 4 straight forward buttons.

 

When your phone rings, the number will show up on the CPR Call blocker. All you need to do is hit the “Block Now” button. Thats it, pure and simple. It really couldn’t be easier. Once you have blocked the number then you can forget about that nuisance call forever.

 

The Pros and Cons of the CPR Call Blocker. 

The Pros.

Simplicity of use. As stated above, it really couldn’t be simpler to operate.

 

A capacity for you to block up to 1500 numbers.

 

Pre programmed with over 5000 known nuisance numbers. This will give instant peace of mind. All the well known overseas call centres numbers are pre blocked as well as the better known automated sales numbers.

 

Calls can be blocked from private and even withheld numbers.

 

Programmable functions: Add or Remove Number Function, Area Code Blocker, Private Blocking Function, Unknown Blocking Function, International Blocking Function, “0” Type Calls Blocking Function, VOIP Blocking Function, Last Calling Number Blocker.

 

The Cons.

I have had one of these devices for over a month now and I can’t find any problems with it. It works exactly as described and every call I have blocked has stayed blocked.

 

You may be wondering why I haven’t given it a 5 out of 5 if I can’t find anything wrong with it. The reason is simple. I know how persistent these scammers and nuisance callers can be and I expect at some stage in the future they will find a way past these devices. However, until then I can fully recommend the CPR Call Blocker.Call centre worker

 

The Price – £69.99

I think this price represents real value for such piece of mind. As I mentioned above, I have had this device for over a month now. The amount of unwanted calls has decreased to almost none in recent days. In the last 4 weeks I have blocked 167 numbers and once I have blocked them they stay blocked.

 

I have severe hearing loss and answering the telephone can be a real struggle for me. I used to get approximately a dozen of these nuisance calls a day and at times I was left very anxious and confused as I wasn’t sure what the person was saying to me and really didn’t want to take any calls at all. Now I can screen the caller and if I think it is a sales call or just a number I don’t recognise I just hit the “Block Now” button.

 

My overall verdict of the CPR Call Blocker V5000.

I don’t hesitate to recommend this to anyone who hates the constant bombardment of these sales and PPI reclaim calls. With the over 5000 numbers already blocked when the device arrives you will notice an immediate drop in these type of calls.CPR Call Blocker V5000

 

I think the device is particularly good for elderly and more vulnerable people. The modern day scammer and unethical sales people will stop at nothing to try and get financial details form these people. The only way to prevent this from happening is to stop the calls from coming in altogether.

 

Finally, the device comes with a 45 day no quibble money back guarantee. This allows you to have the device for a really good length of time to make sure that it is working and doing the job for you.

 

For more details or to purchase the CPR Call Blocker V5000 click here.

 

As always, I welcome any and all comments and questions. Please leave a comment below. I will answer asap. You can also contact me at eddie@helpwithhearingloss.com

 

 

What Is The Best Hearing Aids? Who Decides?

Time and time again I get asked “What is the best hearing aid?” My answer is usually “How long is a piece of string?”  How can you begin to decide on the best hearing aid? My guide will help you to make that decision.

hearing aids linked to apple
The ReSound LiNX 7

 

First things first. Purchasing a hearing aid is a major decision. It will literally have a massive effect on your quality of life. It is a decision that needs careful consideration, a bit of research and an ability to see through a lot of sales BULL S**T.

 

There are companies out there that will try and sell you the most expensive hearing aid that they stock. Some will try and convince you that you absolutely need this one or that one. The ONLY one you need is THE RIGHT ONE FOR YOU.

 

You have just been told you require a hearing aid?

Hearing this news can be a pretty big shock to the system. Understandably you will be concerned, anxious, annoyed and even a little bit overwhelmed. These are all perfectly understandable reactions.

 

You should also think about being relieved. Yes, seriously!! Having to get a hearing aid is going to open a whole new world of sound to you. Even if your hearing loss is only mild, you will have missed out on so much.

 

Now you have to begin the journey of picking a hearing aid. There are a number of guidelines that will steer you in the right direction and make sure that you get the maximum potential from your new device.

 

Type of hearing loss and lifestyle.

This is the first and most critical step you will take. I recently asked 10 people in a hearing loss focus group if they knew what their level of hearing loss was. Only two (Thats right ONLY TWO) knew what it was. When I asked how they chose their hearing aids, they told me that they were chosen for them. Crazy, Crazy, Crazy.Hearing help

 

There are 4 main levels of hearing loss. Mild – moderate – severe – profound. Ask your doctor, health professional or audiologist so that you know and have the information when you go to buy your device.

 

Different types of hearing aids are suitable for different levels of hearing loss. ITE (In the ear) models are generally for mild to moderate loss and BTE (Behind the ear) models for moderate and above. Profound loss of hearing may require specialist treatment so if you have this then only consult a hearing specialist.

 

Your lifestyle is also very important when making this decision. If you are a sports person then you will want a device that can stand the rigors of lots of exercise. If you listen to lots of music then you will be looking for something that allows you to stream the sound into your device wirelessly or if you go to lots of meetings in work then a model with the telecoil or “T” function will be best if your employer has a loop system in place.

 

Different types of hearing aids.

As mentioned above there are different types of hearing aid available. These are broken down into categories. I am going to keep them to the two broadest groups here but there are variations within both groups.

 

ITE (In the ear) Hearing Aids.discreet hearing aid

These are generally very small types of hearing aids that fit snuggly into the ear. There is very little and in some cases nothing showing outside the ear at all. Because they are so small the electronics inside them are tiny and not so powerful. Therefore, they are generally used for people with a mild to moderate level of hearing loss.

 

BTE (Behind the ear) Hearing Aids.digital hearing aids

With this group, the bulk of the hearing aid sits behind the ear, with the receiver ( a small bud or mould) sitting in the ear. The part (casing) behind the ear has more room for the electronics and they tend to be more powerful than the ITE models. These are generally more suitable for people with moderate hearing loss and above.

 

 

Now you are ready to research.

Once you know your level of hearing loss and know the type of hearing aid you want then you can begin to look at specific models that will suit your individual needs. I currently have 4 pairs of hearing aids. Here are the steps that I follow to do my research.

 

Google search.

This step simply involves typing in a few words into google or any of the search engines. For example I have typed “BTE HEARING AIDS FOR SEVERE HEARING LOSS” into google. Here are just some of the results,

 

Screenshot of google search for hearing aids

 

There will literally be thousands of results. Just take a bit of time and click into a few pages to get an idea of the type of device you want. Try and pick about 5 models that you like and would be suitable for you. Write them down in a list.

 

Review the models you have chosen.

Once again the internet will be your friend in this. Simply type the model of your hearing aid into google and put the word “review” after it. Check out my example. I have typed “Oticon Dynamo SP10 hearing aid review” into google.

 

Screenshot Oticon aids review

Once again, you will find hundreds if not thousands of reviews for whatever product you enter. When doing your reviews at this stage try and steer away from sales companies and look for independent reviews as these will give you a better understanding of the product.

 

Essentially what you are after at this stage is personal reviews from people who have actually used the device themselves or from someone who is experienced in hearing aids and has a reputation for being impartial. (Someone like myself).

 

You really cannot do enough research into the type of device you want. The more reviews you read the better you will understand the device that you are going to purchase. RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH.

 

Now you need to look for a reputable company.

You now have a very solid idea of the device you want. You have done all the above and are ready to buy. Not all hearing aid sellers are the same. You want to find the best one with the best reputation.

 

All good professional hearing aid suppliers will have the following 4 key elements. If they don’t then move on to someone else. There are plenty of very good suppliers and they all want your business. REMEMBER THE BUYER IS KING.The buyer is king

 

Good customer service.

Simply send them an email enquiry or lift the phone and talk to them about your needs. A good company will talk about you first and what you want before they even mention any devices.

 

A manufacturer’s warranty.

Any hearing aid supplier should be able to tell you off hand, if the device comes with a warranty. It should be a minimum of 12 months.

 

Money back.

A good supplier will offer a money back guarantee. This will give you the peace of mind that you can get the device and try it out for a period of time to make sure it suits you.

 

After service.

All good hearing aid suppliers will have an after sales service that will include repairs and maintenance. Some excellent suppliers will provide this service for the whole life of the hearing aid.

 

Check out my number #1 hearing aid supplier review. Click here.

 

Switch on your Bull S**t filter.

Congratulations, you are almost there.  If you have followed the steps I have outlined then you are ready to buy your hearing aid. By this stage you will,

Know your level of hearing loss.

The type of hearing aid you want/need (ITE or BTE).

You will have researched the model you think is best suited.

You will have researched the best company to buy it from.

 

Finally just make sure your bull s**t filter is on.  If, at any stage of this whole process, someone begins to act like a salesperson then RUN. Warning signSupplying a hearing aid is not simply about selling someone a product. It is a medical device aimed at improving someones quality of life. If the person shows more interest in the sale of the device than they do in you then move on to another supplier.

 

This is a very important decision for you. The right hearing aid will be your friend for a long time. Only you know what you want and need. Don’t be influenced by anyones sales patter. At the end of the day you are the one who has to live with it.

 

As always, thanks for dropping by. I am here to help with all hearing issues, big or small. Drop me a comment below and I will reply asap. You can also contact me at eddie@helpwithhearingloss.com

 

 

 

 

Doro Mobile Phones For The Elderly. A Review.

PRODUCT – DORO LIBERTO 820 MINI EXTRA LOUD SMARTPHONE.Doro 820 docking station.

PRICE – £139.99

GUARANTEE – 30 DAY NO QUIBBLE MONEY BACK.

WHERE TO BUY – HEARING DIRECT.COM

OVERALL RATING – 9 OUT OF 10.

 

Elderly people should have access to the latest technology. Elderly people with hearing loss should be no different. With Doro mobile phones for the elderly, everyone can be a winner.

 

Doro as a company have a long history of manufacturing mobile phones specifically designed for those with hearing loss. People over the age of 65 form the largest group in society with hearing loss.

 

Until fairly recently mobile phones aimed for the elderly tended to be larger, bulkier and as basic in technology as you could possible get. I think this is a bit of an insult to our senior population.

 

Thankfully the Doro Liberto Mini 820 Extra Loud Smartphone goes a long way towards rectifying this problem. It has all the features you would expect to see in a modern smartphone and a few extras that may just surprise you.

 

A general overview of the Doro 820.

This phone operates on the Android platform, meaning that you will have full access to things like the internet, emails and apps that you would expect from any smartphone. The Doro touch screen allows for very simple navigation around the menu.

 

One thing different from most smartphones is the addition of two physical buttons for the “back” and the “home” keys. This helps prevent people from accidently knocking themselves out of the menu screen.

 

The phone comes unlocked so you can use it on any network on either a contract or pay as you go. Just a note here, the phone operates using a MicroSIM rather that the standard sim so you may have to contact your network provider to arrange a sim swap.

 

The phone is fully compatible with the telecoil or “T” setting on your hearing aids. This will allow you to hear any calls sent or received directly through your hearing aids rather than the phone itself. For example, after you have paired the phone with you hearing aids, once the phone rings then just tap your hearing aid on to the “T” setting and you will hear the phone directly in your ear. I love that bit!!

 

What do we mean by an extra loud smartphone?

By this Doro mean that there are a few special features on this phone that you will not find on a standard smartphone. These features relate to the acoustics of the phone which are,Doro 820 Ruby

 

The voice volume operates at a maximum of 35dB (decibels). This is about 10 times louder than a standard phone.

 

The ringer volume operates at a maximum of 91dB. This approximately 5 times louder than a standard smartphone.

 

It has 7 volume settings.

 

It has tone control for better sound clarity.

 

It comes with high definition voice technology.

 

It also has a volume mute option.

 

The Pros and Cons of the 820 Mini Extra Loud Smartphone.

The Pros.

The key features of this phone are very impressive, particularly for a smartphone in this price range. Doro have certainly packed a lot into it to ensure the user has the very best experience possible.

 

Some of the key features include,

 

Speakerphone/5 Megapixel Camera and Video Camera with magnifier function/Email/SMS with predictive text and MMS/500 number photo phonebook/3 one touch speed dials/GPRS/Big display text and adjustable font/Screen contrast and brightness adjustment/20 Polyphonic ringtones/Vibrating ringer/Backlit keypad/Key tone/Step by Step Tutorial pre-loaded/Startup wizard – great feature which guides you through phone menu and functions/Remote management – ideal for friends and relatives to help with set-up from distance/FM-radio/Assistance button/Calculator/Games/Calendar with reminder/Wake up alarm/ICE (In Case of Emergency).

 

I could go on but I think you get the gist. The phone is packed with great features. I want to bring your attention to one special feature that I think will be very appealing to people.

 

The remote management system. This allows someone else ( a family member) to remotely access the phone with the owners permission and make changes or add updates to the phone. They simply sign into a website with a password that they have preset and they have access to the phone.

 

This is a particularly good feature if you have an elderly relative who lives away from you. It means you can keep their phone updated from wherever you are.

 

The Cons.

Admittedly there aren’t many that I can find but I do have to mark it down slightly due to the 5 megapixel camera. The pictures it takes are of a decent quality but I would just like to have seen a little bit more added here.Doro 820 White

 

My conclusion and overall rating.

It is a real pity about the camera for me. I am pretty sure that it won’t annoy most people but I am big on my photos and I would have of thought that Doro could have squeezed in at least 8 megapixels.

 

That said, this is a fantastic smartphone. The acoustics alone will make it ideal for elderly people and also for those with hearing loss. The menu is simple to navigate and the in built tutorial set up feature will have you up and running in no time.

 

The phone is jam packed with the sort of things we take for granted in our smartphones today and it is great to see that manufacturers like Doro are making sure that everyone has access to the very latest technology.

 

Conclusion – Great Phone.

Overall rating – 9 out of 10.

 

P.S. Did I mention that it comes in a choice of three colours. Check them out here.

 

As always, thank you for dropping by. I am always here to help. Any comments or opinions, please leave below and I will respond asap. You can also reach me at eddie@helpwithhearingloss.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hearing Loss And. Links To Other Medical Conditions.

Whilst hearing loss is a stand alone medical condition, various studies over a protracted number of years have shown a link to various other serious medical conditions. Here I take a look at hearing loss and links to other conditions and try and determine what is real and what is the basis for the link.First aid medical care

 

Some of these linked conditions will be very well known such as tinnitus or mental health, but what about a link to cancer or strokes or even dementia. Can hearing loss really be somehow linked to a variety of other medical conditions.

 

Hearing loss and Tinnitus.

This is probably the number one condition that people will link to hearing loss. Tinnitus is generally described as a ringing, buzzing or whistling/rushing sound internally within either one or both ears. (How to stop Tinnitus)

 

Tinnitus is caused by damage to the hair cells in the ear. This causes a break in the flow of the electrical signals that are sent to the brain. Because tinnitus originates within the ear then the link to hearing loss is pretty obvious and accepted by practically everyone.

 

Like hearing loss, tinnitus can be caused by exposure to loud noises over an extended period of time. There is no known cure but the condition can be managed by a variety of techniques and devices.

 

Hearing loss and Mental health/Depression.

This is another fairly straight forward one for me. Mental health issues can come to the fore with any other medical condition and hearing loss is no different.

 

When you first find out that your hearing is going it can have a major impact on your life. Studies have shown that people with hearing loss have a tendency to be more withdrawn.Mental health

 

From personal experience, I suffered depression for a number of years after getting my first pair of hearing aids. I thought people were staring at me, I didn’t want to see friends or even family as I felt less than a whole person.

 

Hearing loss affects every aspect of a person’s life. From your family to your social life to your employment, things can and will change. These changes can lead to a person becoming anxious, confused, withdrawn and overwhelmed by everything that is happening. This is particularly acute if the changes happen in a short space of time.

 

Mental health issues have really come to the fore over the last 10 years or so and much more attention is now given to this very real condition. The link to hearing loss is also very real. My personal story through depression can be viewed here.

 

Hearing loss and Vertigo (balance issues).

There is also a very strongly recognised link to hearing loss and the effects on a persons balance. It is not the actual loss of hearing but rather the causes of the hearing loss that can similarly affect the body’s natural balance rhythm.

 

The body’s balance is regulated by a three tiered system, The inner ear works in conjunction with the body’s visual and musculoskeletal systems to send the necessary signals to the brain which processes the information and keeps the overall balance in check.Mental health

 

If one of these systems isn’t working as it should then the body’s natural balance will be thrown off kilter. In the case of our ears, apart from receiving external sounds and turning them into electrical signals to send to the brain, the inner ear also sends signals to the brain regarding the direction and speed that the head is moving.

 

This is done through sensors in what is called the semi-circular canals. The inner ear also detects when you move in a straight line through the utricle and saccule, also known as the otolithic organs.

 

Any interruption in this process will disrupt the signals being received by the brain, leaving it to rely only on the other two functions and the effects on the body’s balance can be quite severe.

 

Hearing loss and Cancer.

The relationship between hearing loss and cancer is the reverse from the conditions mentioned above. Cancer itself has no direct link to hearing loss unless it is a tumor within the hearing system. The relationship is between some of the drugs used in cancer treatments that can have an adverse effect on our hearing system.

 

A study published in July 2016 by Sanjay Gupta, MD of Indiana University talks about the effects of a drug called Cisplatin. This drug is one of the most commonly used in chemotherapy treatments. However it belongs to a group of drugs that are ototoxic, meaning that they are toxic to the inner ear.Chemotherapy image

 

The published study refers to a study of the cumulative effects of cisplatin-based chemotherapy on hearing levels in testicular cancer survivors through comprehensive audiometry measurements. They found that increased doses of cisplatin were associated with increased hearing loss at most of the tested frequencies. Increased levels were also found of tinnitus.

 

Whilst this study was carried out amongst Testicular cancer patients, the authors suggested that the findings were likely to be similar in other adult onset cancers treated with cisplatin.

 

Obviously much more work needs to be done in this field but the link to cancer treatments and hearing loss looks to be pretty solid at this stage.

 

Hearing loss and Heart Disease.

At a glance this looks like a very unlikely alliance but there is growing evidence that the two may indeed be linked. A recent study by Harvard University showed that hearing loss showed 54% more often in people with heart disease than in the general population.

 

Many of the problems relating to heart disease are caused by a narrowing of the arteries due to a build up of plaque. This restricts the amount of blood flow through the arteries and around the body.

 

The inner ear is known to be extremely sensitive to blood flow and if this process is interrupted then it can have a negative impact on the nerve cells, which in turn will have a negative impact on a persons ability to hear.Healthy heart

 

In fact, a leading researcher in this field, David R. Friedland, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice-Chair of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, has suggested that because the inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow, that any disruption to this system many actually be a way to note the early detection of cardiovascular abnormalities.

 

Once again much more study and research will need to be done on this link but the logic already points in that direction.

 

Hearing loss and Diabetes.

Hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes as in those without it. Studies into the link between these two conditions have been going on from the early 1960’s but it is only recently that evidence is beginning to emerge.

 

It is believed that the link between these two conditions is caused by prolonged high blood glucose levels affecting the supply of blood or oxygen to the tiny nerves and blood vessels of the inner ear. Over a protracted period of time the nerves and blood vessels become damaged and reduce the person’s ability to hear.

 

This nerve damage is common to both type 1 and 2 diabetes. Various studies in America and Japan from 2008 through to 2011 showed similar results in linking the numbers in both conditions. There are a number of studies ongoing and future results will hopefully allow for a more definitive link to be established.

 

Hearing loss and Strokes.

Having a stroke can damage or destroy parts of the brain. If the part damaged is responsible for interpreting the signals coming from the ear then hearing loss will occur.Stroke image

 

The extent of the hearing loss following a stroke will be determined by the severity of the stroke and what particular part of the brain has been affected. The more severe the stroke, the more likelihood of hearing loss.

 

Hearing loss and Dementia.

In a study from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and other research institutions in the US, it was found that those with the greater level of hearing loss at the beginning of the study had a higher chance of developing dementia than those with lower or no hearing loss at all.

 

By their own admission the study was fairly limited in size and other factors which means it cannot be taken to be a definitive conclusion. However the results do mean that a link has been established. Read the study here.

 

It is obvious that much more needs to be done and indeed the researchers of the above study have called for further investigations to be initiated.

 

What all of these links above show is that while hearing loss is a stand alone medical condition, it can present itself alongside a wide variety of other conditions to. There are lots of studies and various forms of research going on to try and understand these links better. The more we understand hearing loss and how it relates to other medical conditions, the better future treatments will be for everyone.

Hearing health symbol

 

Some of this content reflects information from individuals and various organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

 You should always consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.

As always, I welcome any and all opinions. Please leave a comment and I will answer asap. You can also contact me at eddie@helpwithhearingloss

 

Hearing Loss And Veterans. The Hidden Disability

Veterans dayI have spent a bit of time recently looking into the issue of hearing loss and veterans. I met with an American veteran a couple of months ago who had served a number of tours in Iraq and during our conversation it became obvious to me that he had hearing issues.

 

He seemed to think that this was just par for the course and nothing to write home about. I have since learned that he has been assessed by an audiologist and now wears two digital hearing aids.

 

I decided to look into this issue a bit in order to see just how widespread this issue is amongst veterans and the reasons behind it.


 

Hearing loss is very common in military veterans.

I was very surprised to learn that hearing loss and tinnitus (a ringing, hissing or rushing noise in the ear) are the singularly most common disability amongst military veterans.

 

Most of the information I have been able to pick up comes from statistics specifically relating the the American military. However I would surmise that military life is similar whether you are in America, the UK or anywhere else.

 

Also, the figures I use here are American military specific. The same numbers may not be quite as high for those nations not involved in the post 9/11 conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan etc…https://helpwithhearingloss.com/ways-to-prevent-hearing-loss-a-guide

 

In America alone it is estimated that there are 414,000 post 9/11 veterans who have hearing loss or tinnitus (or both). I found that to be an absolutely staggering number. Then I thought about it some more and realised that it shouldn’t be all that surprising really.


 

Why is there such high numbers of hearing loss amongst veterans.

When you think about it, the military is a pretty noisy place. Soldiers have to live with training exercises, live weapons firing, loud engines and massive tanks, helicopters etc…

 

The link between loud noise and hearing loss is well established. For example in a previous post, “Ways to prevent hearing loss” it states that continued exposure to noise levels above 105 dB (decibels) for periods of more than 15 minutes per week can cause hearing damage.

 

On a flight deck, noise levels are around 130 decibels and helicopter noise is around 100 decibels, according to military noise assessment. A soldier near an M60 machine gun is exposed to 150 decibels and within 50 feet of an exploding grenade, 160 decibels.

 

Then if we take the exposure that military personnel are exposed to in a conflict situation such as gun battles or IED’s (improvised explosive devices) then the levels of hearing loss within the military ranks becomes much more understandable.


 

Why do the military not have better hearing protection for their personnel?

In America, in particular, it has long been recognised that the Navy and the Air Force lead the way in terms of hearing loss prevention and issuing guidelines to minimise the impact of damage to their personnel’s hearing.

 

In saying that, it is difficult to imagine how even the very best hearing protection can reduce the noise level of a jet fighter sufficiently to prevent hearing damage over a long period of time.Military jets

 

When it comes to the military and ground forces in particular then hearing safety is a much harder issue to solve.The big question for combat soldiers is hearing protection V survivability.

 

I have read first hand accounts of combat soldiers openly refusing to wear hearing protection when on active duty. The claim is that it reduces their overall awareness in any given situation.

 

Given that the first objective of any military situation should be to ensure that all personnel come home alive and well then it is completely understandable that soldiers won’t want to take any measures that may impede that objective.


 

Is there a solution that can meet both needs.

Anyone familiar with the rapid advances in hearing aid technology over the last 10/15 years will know we are developing technology at a rate never before experienced in our history.

 

In 2010 the American government was spending approximately $1.4 billion on disability payments to veterans due to hearing impairments. I would imagine that figure will have risen significantly since.

 

There is undoubtedly research ongoing into finding a technological solution to better protect the hearing of combat soldiers whilst ensuring that their safety isn’t compromised.Modern technology

 

In the meantime, more needs to be done for the current personnel leaving the forces to ensure that hearing loss is treated with the seriousness it deserves and that help is on hand at the earliest opportunity.


 

More recognition is required.

The problem with hearing loss is that it is a hidden disability. We can’t see it so it isn’t there. In terms of military veterans, people tend to focus on visible disabilities and others that have become well known due to media exposure over many years.

 

When talking about veteran disabilities we tend to look at loss of limbs or brain injury or even post traumatic stress disorder. We correctly look at life threatening injuries and the disabilities that follow them.

 

But we shouldn’t overlook the effects of hearing loss on veterans. Hearing loss can have a devastating effect on veterans lives. It shouldn’t be looked at as an occupational hazard or as a minor injury.Saluting soldier

 

Hearing loss is a disability and comes with all the emotional, psychological, and personal difficulties that come with all disabilities. Everything that can be done, should be done, to ensure that veterans are given the very best opportunity to learn how to live with this condition.


 

As stated above, most of the facts and figures I have used in this post relate to the American armed forces. If anyone would like any further information or indeed help for veterans affected with hearing loss then you can contact the Hearing Loss Association of America.

 

If anyone would like information on their national hearing loss associations etc.. then please leave a comment and I will gladly pass the information on

 

As always I would love to hear from you on this or any topic related to hearing loss. Please leave a comment below. All will be answered. You can also contact me at eddie@helpwithhearingloss.com

 

Amplicomms NL200 Bluetooth Neckloop. A Review

Product – Amplicomms NL200 Bluetooth Neckloop.Amplicomms NL200 bluetooth neckloop

Price – £74.99

Guarantee – 30 money back.

Where to buy – HEARING DIRECT.COM.

Overall rating – 10 out of 10.

 

Who will benefit from the Amplicomms NL200 neckloop. 

 

For hearing aid users trying to answer a mobile phone can be a struggle. With the microphone sitting on the top of the hearing aid casing it is very difficult to position the phone to hear the speaker clearly.

 

The amplicomms NL200 bluetooth neckloop is solution that will greatly benefit all hearing aid users. It is a neckloop which connects wirelessly to transmit phone calls directly into your hearing aids through the telecoil or “T” setting.

 

It enables the user to hear and speak on their mobile phone WIRELESSLY and HANDS FREE. This is particularly good for hearing aid users for driving or simply being on the go.

 

With the bluetooth function, it can connect to any bluetooth device, including GPS navigation systems and transmit the sound wirelessly directly into your hearing aids.

 

The key features of the Amplicomms NL200 neckloop.

The device is compatible with most makes of hearing aid that have the telecoil or “T” setting available. This is pretty much most BTE (behind the ear) hearing aids.Amplicomms NL200 bluetooth neckloop

 

It is worn round the neck of the user and connects wirelessly to both your hearing aid and your mobile phone.

 

The device is fully compatible with all bluetooth V 2.0 and above mobiles. This is virtually every smartphone on the market today.

 

It has a wireless transmission range of 10M or over 30FT.

 

It comes with an integrated lithium-polymer battery and power cord for charging.

 

It has a talk time of approx 8 hours and a standby time of up to 2000 hours.

 

The sound quality is crystal clear when used with the “T” function of your hearing aid. When you answer a call or make a call the background sounds such as TV are automatically blocked out. Once the call is dropped then the device goes into standby mode and the background sounds are reinstated.

 

The device has an integrated microphone and volume control. As long as you are within 10M or 30 TF of your phone you can take a call without having to even touch your phone.

 

The NL200 neckloop also has a redialing function and voice command. The voice command will only work if your mobile phone supports this function.

 

The Pros and Cons of the Amplicomms NL200.

The Pros.

This device is fantastic for using your mobile phone hands free anywhere. It is extremely simple to use and maintain. The battery life is very good and the quality of sound is second to none.

 

I really struggled to take calls when wearing my hearing aids. More often than not I simply took the hearing aid out to answer the phone. This obviously meant that I struggled to hear the conversation.

 

I bought this device (It cost me £99) three months ago and the difference has been nothing short of amazing. I turn it on first thing every morning and connect it immediately to my phone. Then I slip it over my head and thats it.

 

Once the phone rings I press the “T” setting on my hearing aid and the call comes through crystal clear. Once the call is over I just press the “T” setting off again and thats me finished. No more fumbling around or having to take the hearing aid out.Hearing help

 

The Cons.

As I said, I have had this device for three months now, and I can’t find any fault with it. Every feature works perfectly and the battery life in my device is even longer that the manufacturers claim.

 

My overall verdict.

I think you can guess this one. I can thoroughly recommend the Amplicomms NL200 bluetooth neckloop. If you are a hearing aid user and want to use your mobile phone wirelessly and hands free then you should get this device.

 

The device can be bought in various places but I always recommend Hearing Direct.com because of their pricing and even more importantly they operate a no quibble 30 day money back guarantee. This allows you to test the product at home and make sure that it is the right one for you.

 

If you want further details or want to buy it then simply click here.

 

I welcome all comments. Please leave one below and I will answer you right back. You can also contact me at eddie@helpwithhearingloss.com

 

Cheers

Eddie

 

 

Working And Disability. The Online Option.

In a recent post I spoke about how people with hearing loss faced difficulties when it came to mainstream employment (read it here). I have since been asked about those who cannot work in the mainstream. What are the options for working and disability. It is something that applies to various people with a disability, not just those of us with hearing loss.

 

I have Menieres Disease. It is a debilitating condition that affects my hearing and my balance along with severe tinnitus. Mention those three symptoms and any prospective employer will run for the hills.

 

That is why I turned to the internet. I wanted to take control of my life. I knew I was pretty much unemployable. Despite what some people told me I knew that I would face an insurmountable task in getting back into mainstream employment.Online image


 

What did I hope to achieve online.

The simple answer to that was that I wanted to be successful. But how did I measure success? Did it mean becoming rich? Did I have to become one of these internet guru’s? Did I have to sell my soul to the internet devil?

 

The answer to all those was and is NO. I measure my success online through two things. A certain level of financial independence and a work/life balance that no mainstream job was going to give me.


 

Where am I now and how did I get here.

I have got to where I am by taking a very long road trip. I spent almost three years looking at and trying various ways to make a living online. At first everything seemed to be just one scam after another.

 

Then I began to learn how to detect the scams and how to avoid them. That opened new possibilities. I was able to start finding genuine opportunities to make a living online. I spent about a year drop shipping.

 

For those of you who don’t know what drop shipping is, you basically sell products that you don’t see and never own. Whilst I made some decent money from this venture I eventually realised that I was in effect just selling products for someone else. It was really just another job.

 

I really wanted to own something that I could be passionate about. That is when I came across a community called WEALTHY AFFILIATE.


 

Who are wealthy affiliate and what do they do.

Wealthy Affiliate are a community of people online (about 800,000 members last I heard) who help, encourage and motivate each other to succeed in achieving their online goals.

 

The biggest lesson that I have learned over the last few years is that anyone wanting to be successful online needs to have the following three things.

 

Everyone must have some help.

None of us are an Island. We all get frustrated, annoyed and down heartened at times. We all need a little bit of help to get us through. The hard part is knowing where to get that help. At Wealthy Affiliate that helping hand is there for me 24/7

 

You must have your own website.

Having your own website is simply a must online. Even with the onset of social media etc… having an authoritative website full of engaging content is an absolute key to succeeding. At Wealthy Affiliate you you get two fully functional wordpress sites.

 

You have to keep learning and putting it into practice.

The internet keeps changing so we have to learn to adapt with it. It is an ongoing process. This is the best thing about Wealthy Affiliate for me. The training is like nothing I have ever come across before. Between the tutorials and videos you are walked through the entire process of setting up a complete online business.


 

AND THE BEST OF ALL IS THAT IT IS FREE TO JOIN.

 

Yes, this is what drew me to Wealthy Affiliate. It is 100% FREE to join. When you join and fill in your profile you will have immediate access to the whole online community, where you can ask questions and receive answers straight away, including on the live chat option.

 

You will be given two FREE fully functional wordpress websites ready for launching on the internet.

 

You will have access to what I have no hesitation in calling the very best training I have ever come across. You will have access to video classes, tutorials, classrooms and courses to walk you through how to succeed online.

 

There is a premium option that you will want to consider but as you can see from the table below the starter pack with everything I have mentioned above is at NO COST.

 

I have been with Wealthy Affiliate for a few months now and it has allowed me to achieve everything I wanted. I have learned more in the few months here than I did in the previous three years when I was trying to go it alone.

 

I now understand what it takes to succeed online. Things like SEO (search engine optimisation). How to get ranked on google and other search engines. Website traffic flow. Keyword research. Creating engaging content. Stuff that I just couldn’t get anywhere else.

 

I want to make one thing absolutely clear here. Wealthy Affiliate is NOT a “get rich quick” scheme. You can not simply expect to set up a website, throw it on the internet and make piles of money by tomorrow. That is not reality. To succeed online you will need to work hard and put the effort in. I simply believe that Wealthy Affiliate is giving me the best opportunity that I can get.


 

Why is something like Wealthy Affiliate good for people with a disability.

 

Whilst I believe that this a good option for other disability suffers I can only speak from my own point of view, (Hearing loss), with any authority. Wealthy Affiliate is 100% conducted online. I have never spoken to another member by phone or in person. This way I am on the exact same level as everyone else.

 

I am fully integrated into the Wealthy Affiliate system. My hearing loss is simply not an issue. In fact, had I not put it on my profile page then no one in the community would even know that I have hearing loss.

 

In practical terms there are no barriers to me being the very best I can be here. I operate my business from my home office with my laptop. Thats it. No special requirements, no induction loops or amplified phones needed. I can even take my hearing aids out and give my ears a break during the day. Mind you I did miss a delivery yesterday when I took them out!!

 

The businesses I am creating here have the potential to bring me complete financial freedom. For someone who worked all his life and suddenly found himself relying on the state and others to get by, that is a very big thing indeed.

 

I am certainly not the only person here at Wealthy Affiliate with a disability. Others have sent me private messages once they seen my profile and we have had some great discussions around the issue of working and disability in general.

 


 

Is the online option the right one for you.

Only you can answer that. When I was first diagnosed with Menieres Disease I felt that my working life was over. In reality it has just moved in another direction. I am busier and happier than ever. I am doing something that I love and with a purpose.

 

The important thing for me is to show you that there are options out there. You don’t need to look at a career in the mainstream only. The opportunities offered by the explosion of the internet are vast.

 

Being online and creating your own success can take you away from all the difficulties and obstacles we face when working in the mainstream workforce with a disability. It puts you on a level playing field with everyone else.

 

If you are passionate about something and want to turn it into a successful online business then why not have a look at Wealthy Affiliate. The starter pack is totally free and it might just be the beginning of something great.WA promotional tool


 

I hope you have enjoyed my latest post. If I can help in any way in anything related to hearing loss or health then please just leave a comment and I will get back to you asap. You can also contact me at eddie@helpwithhearingloss.com

Parts Of A Hearing Aid. How do they work.

That tiny device that sits either behind or inside your ear is actually a marvel of modern technology. Do you know the various parts of a hearing aid and how they work?

Digital hearing aid from inside
Parts of a hearing aid.

 

You have probably paid a pretty penny for your device and know the importance of cleaning and maintaining them. Knowing the various parts of your hearing aids and what they do will help you to understand your devices better and why they need the loving care that you give them.


The BTE (Behind the ear) hearing aid.

 

A modern digital hearing aid may be small in appearance but they are a complex piece of technology. The most popular BTE (Behind the ear) model is comprised of the following various parts,

The hook.

This is the part that connects your hearing aid to the tip or mould that is inserted into the ear. It is positioned at the back of the device and connects to a small thin tube.

 

The microphone.

The microphone picks up the sound from your environment. It the converts the sounds waves to an electrical signal or a binary code. The microphone will usually be on the top of your device so that it is not obstructed and can pick up sound from front and back as well as your left and right.

 

The amplifier.

The microphone then sends the sound to the amplifier which increases the volume of the sound. The amplifier will not be seen as it sits within the hearing aid.

 

The receiver.

The amplifier then sends the increased sound to the ear through the receiver. The receiver is the part that you put into your ear. It usually comes in two types. It can be a soft flexible tip or a solid plastic mould. Which option you use will be decided by your audiologist.

 

The microchip.

This is the part that allows the audiologist to adapt the hearing aid settings to your individual needs depending on your level of hearing loss. These microchips are becoming more and more complicated and are able to offer the hearing aid user a much better experience due to the increased capability of the hearing devices.

 

The battery compartment.

This is the housing where the battery is inserted. Probably the most fragile part of the device and the part that we use most often. The type and size of the battery will determine how long your hearing aid works before it (the battery) needs to be replaced. The larger the battery the longer it will last.

Different types of hearing aid batteries
Hearing aid battery sizes.

 

The control button.

Whilst not shown on the model above, this small button usually sits to the front of your device for easy access. It is used for volume control and settings such as the telecoil or “T” setting allowing you to use your hearing aids with an induction loop system.


The ITE (In the ear) hearing aid.

The increasingly popular ITE model of hearing aid comes in various guises. They are becoming smaller and smaller all the time. They come in models that fit very deep into the ear canal or sit just inside the canal.

In the ear hearing aid internat workings
ITE (In the ear) Hearing Aid

 

The technology involved is the same . The microphone still picks up the sound and transforms it into sound waves. It then sends it to the amplifier where the sound is increased to a level that has already been pre programmed according to your level of hearing loss. That sound is then sent to your ears through the receiver.

 

Only the size and scale are different from the BTE models. These smaller devices will generally only be suitable for people with mild or moderate hearing loss.

 

For those with severe or profound hearing loss the larger BTE models are best as they are generally more powerful.


The extras in a modern digital hearing aid.

 

While it all sounds very simple, the modern digital hearing aid is in fact an extremely complex structure. When you consider that the larger BTE models are about an inch in length and the ITE models much smaller again, it is a marvel that they can get these devices to do so much more than just pick up and transport sound to our ears.

 

The technology within digital hearing aids today is such that they can be used in conjunction with our smartphones or tablets. The ReSound LiNX 7 model (see my review here) includes features such as wireless bluetooth technology, remote control from your wireless device, audio streaming and so much more that it is truly mind boggling.


 

Looking after the parts of a hearing aid.

Because of the complexity of the modern digital hearing aid they can be very easily damaged. Repairs or replacements can be very expensive so the best thing to do is to ensure that you take care of them.

 

There are two main causes of hearing aid failure and both of them can be prevented.

 

1. Ear wax.

This can be a real problem for the devices that sit within the ear. Our ears produce wax naturally and with the hearing aid being inside the ear then wax can tend to get into the small tip of the receiver and block it up. Wax can also build up on the soft tip or the mould of the BTE (Behind the ear) models

 

If not removed it can prevent sound from getting from the receiver to the inner ear and can also damage the internal workings of the device. Using wax guards is one way to prevent this build up but having a good regular cleaning programme for your hearing aids is also vital.

BTE and ITE hearing aids from the inside
BTE and ITE hearing aids from the inside

 

You should inspect your hearing aids at least every second day (I do it every morning). If wax is present remove it and give the device a clean with a soft cloth. Never use chemicals on your device as they can corrode the small electronic parts inside.

 

2. Moisture/water.

Moisture/water is the nemesis of your hearing aids. Never ever wear your devices in the bath or shower. Also be careful when going outside. If it is raining or likely to be sure you can get your hearing aids under cover. If you are caught out then remove your devices until you get indoors.

 

Any water getting into your hearing aids will likely be fatal for them as it will corrode the delicate circuitry and render the device useless.

 

You also need to watch for moisture building up in the small thin tube of the BTE models. To much moisture here and the devices will fail to carry the sound properly to the ears. Once again a simple cleaning programme will keep your aid in perfect working shape.

 

Every night when going to bed, check the tube. If you see moisture then disconnect the tube from the hook section and blow through it. Then leave it overnight to dry out fully.

Hearing aid cleaning kit
Hearing aid cleaning kit

As usual, I would love to hear from you regarding anything to do with hearing health. If you have any questions then please get in touch. If you want help then leave a comment and I will get back to you asap. You can also contact me on eddie@helpwithhearingloss.com

 

 

Hearing Direct – A Review

Today I’m going to do something a little bit different. Rather than review an individual product, I am going to have a look at an online supplier of hearing aids and assistive hearing products. The company are called Hearing Direct. I want to look at their range of products, their customer service and after sale service.

 

 

Lots of people like myself ponder for a long time when we need something to help us with our hearing loss. It may be a new set of hearing aids or a neckloop system for helping to hear the television or even a new smartphone that works with our hearing aids.

 

I am usually very wary of purchasing medical products on the internet. The cost of hearing aids and other such devices is very high. They are an investment in my quality of life and not only do I want to get the right device for me, I also want to make sure that I am not being scammed along the way.

 

Who are Hearing Direct?

They are an online supplier of hearing aids and other assistive hearing devices. The strap line to their name is that they are the world’s largest online hearing experts. Now that is a bold statement to be making. I wonder if they can live up to it!!

 

As well as the actual products on offer, Hearing Direct have a number of significant services that they claim make them the world’s largest online hearing experts. They promote a “Top quality, FREE online hearing test”. Check out my review of such tests here.

 

They claim that their team of experts have countless years of experience behind them in the hearing industry and and have a wealth of experience in auditory and hearing health and are experts in knowledge of the products they sell.

 

Perhaps their biggest claim from a prospect buyers point of view is that they claim that by being an online retailer that they can offer YOU, the customer, hearing aids at up to 90% cheaper than if you were to buy them privately.

 

Hefty claims indeed but would you buy your hearing devices online?

The explosion of the internet over the last 15 to 20 years has changed all of our habits when it comes to purchasing any type of goods at all. We think nothing of going to Amazon or eBay and buying cloths, phones, homeware, sports goods or electronics such as laptops and tablets.

 

The question is are we really ready to buy what are essentially medical equipment on the internet. Can we have enough trust in the expertise of such claims to be content that the products we buy will actually be exactly what we need them to be. After all this is our quality of life we are talking about.

 

Having done a lot of searching and research into this area it is obvious that there are a lot of companies who are simply trying to sell you and me whatever product they think they can. I have come across companies selling hearing aids who have no more experience in hearing health than I have. They see hearing aids as simply another product to make a sale on.

 

I have checked out the likes of eBay and there are thousands of hearing devices for sale. Do you really think that the individuals selling them are experts in this field? No I don’t think so either. So we have to be careful. We have to be able to filter out the genuine from the opportunists.

 

Can we buy our hearing products from Hearing Direct with confidence?

I have used this company’s services on a number of occasions and here is what I have found.

 

The advice on their website.

Hearing Direct offer a wide range of advice on their website. This includes a comprehensive guide on buying hearing aids, the different types that are available and who they would likely be of benefit to.

 

Speaking to one of their experts on the phone is like sitting in front of a health expert that you have known for years. Not once did they try and sell me a product. They spoke and asked about my level of hearing loss, about my lifestyle, about what I wanted from my hearing aids.

 

Based on the information I gave them, they made a couple of recommendations that would be suitable. They did not simply try and sell me the most expensive model. The people I spoke to were very professional in their dealings with me and genuinely seemed to have my best interests at heart.

 

Their expertise and knowledge.

Having researched as much as possible , they have a number of fully qualified audiologists available to speak to potential customers and and people who just need advice. These people understand hearing health. They will go through your audiogram in detail and discuss what type of hearing aid will work for you and more importantly, what type of device will not work for your individual needs.

 

I found the whole process of contact with their audiologists to be very reassuring and at no time did I feel that I was being put under any pressure whatsoever to buy the product.

 

Relevant information updates.

I found that all of their information was right up to date and that I could find information on just about any subject relating to hearing health I wanted. They have a blog section in operation which currently contains 445 blogs relating to hearing products and hearing health issues.

 

Their range of hearing aids.

The range of devices here is extremely impressive. Whether you want a BTE (behind the ear) model, a ITE (in the ear) model,  a RIC (receiver in the canal) model or  an ITC (in the canal) model, then you will have absolutely no problem finding one to suit your needs and style.

 

The descriptions of each model are very detailed in terms of the capability of the particular device. All the special features are detailed and also the limitations of the device. Each description page will also tell you what type of hearing loss the device will work for best.

 

Their range of other assistive listening devices.

Once again the range here is very impressive. They have a vast range of items to cover just about every aspect of life. Whether you are looking for a new amplified phone for the house, a new smartphone that works with your hearing aids, TV listening devices, hearing protection devices or tinnitus aids, you will find something within the range that meets your needs.

 

Again the range here is very well thought out and the product description is detailed and explains exactly what the product can and cannot do.

 

The price range.

True to their word Hearing Direct have a price range regarding hearing aids and other assistive listening devices that will enable you to choose products that will not break the bank but will still give you the quality you require.

 

They have hidden hearing aids starting from £99. I have had a pair of these (HD 90) for about 4 years now and they are still going great. They also  have the very latest models which still come in cheaper than I could find elsewhere.

 

Guarantees and warranties and customer service.

I think it speaks volumes for Hearing direct, that they offer a 30 day no quibble money back guarantee on all their featured products. This allows you, the customer, the opportunity to take the product and try it out at home and in your daily life and make sure that it works for you.

 

All of the products they have also come with a full 12 month manufacturers warranty.

 

I found their level of customer service to be second to none. From the very first point of contact, when I submitted a free catalogue request, through to speaking to one of their experts regarding a particular device, I was very impressed by the manner I was dealt with and the professionalism and knowledge of the issues I wanted to discuss.

 

It’s a very high recommendation from me.

I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Hearing Direct to anyone. I was very very impressed by every aspect of their operation and go to their website regularly for information on whatever I want to know.

 

Why not pay them a visit yourself next time you are looking for something related to your hearing health or even just to browse the very latest in hearing aids and assistive listening devices. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain from a really professional, helpful and supportive company.