Internet of things

Tinnitus and other hearing issues

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‘I have tinnitus noise in my head / ear / ears’
The advice you are given is of paramount importance. Try to select an audiologist with tinnitus therapy / tinnitus management / tinnitus matching skills. They will often mention / advertise this in their literature. Generally speaking, most forms of tinnitus are ‘camouflaged’ successfully with hearing aids. A higher than expected level of amplification is often needed. trial and error is the key. Make sure (I know I keep saying this) you get a free trial. Tinnitus matching programmes are now routinely fitted on Phonak products.

‘I have tinnitus – that is my main concern ( this overrides hearing problem)’
It is commonly understood that hearing aids are the easiest technological way to mask tinnitus. I am not a fan of ‘maskers’ but now there are hearing aids with tinnitus masking natural sounds included in their features:

‘I can only hear in one ear’
A revolution in how this problem can be addressed occurred in 2013.
The PHONAK CROS B RECHARGEABLE has given some spectacular outcomes. Get a demo of this as soon as you can. It is without doubt my favourite hearing device.

‘I have ongoing ear infection / discharge’
Assuming your ear drums are intact, and you have seen your ENT consultant recently AND you already wear/ own NHS aids, try the following:
Any RIC aid (because the domes can be changed regularly)
Any BTE with mould (because the moulds can be renewed with spares)
Consider a remote control or volume control (to alter your amplification if and when your hearing level changes / fluctuates).

‘I have perforated eardrums’
If the perforation is recent, large in size or causing you discomfort, do not buy aids with domes (thin wire or thin tube open fit aids). These can be used in some cases. Your audiologist can advise you better once your ears have been examined.
Good results can be achieved so long as the fitting is accurate.
On a budget, try PHONAK Q30 in the ear, with wax guard removed.
If your loss is very severe, for a pretty good aesthetic look, try the OTICON OPN PP (in any version) with a canal-micro mould. If profound, try the OTICON SUMO DM with silicone moulds (with back-up moulds made at the same time).

Are you sceptical about hearing aids?

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‘I have bought privately before and am very wary’
You need to explore your options very carefully. A FREE TRIAL is what you need.

‘I think private hearing aids and batteries cost a fortune?’
Not necessarily. Have a look at the audiology companies online that list complete product price lists.
For batteries etc, you should buy them on an accessory website: such as

‘I have or had a particular make (of hearing aid) in mind’
Keep an open mind. In my experience, consumers who ask for a specific make have usually been unduly influenced by a less-than-independent opinion and over-the-top marketing. Many audiology retailer practices are now owned by individual manufacturers, and so they do not offer a truly Independent opinion. Which magazine’s articles in 2014 / 2016 / 2018 found that independent practices were the most likely to give you the best overall service.

What’s the difference between NHS and private?

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So, you should try NHS first -it’s free and you are British.
How and What you get does vary from region to region.

From what I can determine, the main differences are:
TECHNICAL: Thin tube hearing aids are widely distributed via the NHS, whereas Thin wire aids are often smaller and more efficient.
TECHNICAL: In some CCGs, there is a poor selection of dome sizes, and thin tube replacements, but not all.
TECHNICAL: The models used in the NHS MAY be less successful versions already tried in the European market.
AESTHETIC: Thin wire hearing aids are smaller than thin tube.
HOLISTIC: A good private dispenser should spend much more time with you, with fine-tuning.

What is a private hearing aid dispenser?

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We are all registered by the HCPC. The licence required allows us to prescribe and sell hearing aids in the UK. It’s extremely straight-forward to program hearing aids. Be aware of anyone suggesting that they have additional qualifications.
A related BSc or MSc is of value. As is a doctorate, experience in an ENT department, experience in GP Practice in removing ear wax, or experience in a GPSI ENT practice.
I can say with great conviction that professional experience is very important in grading successful outcomes with hearing aids.
So, proceed with caution if terms used include: Consultant, CEO, Cerumenologist, etc