Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Listening Room: Phonak and Advanced Bionics partner for better hearing

Free online rehabilitative website, originally developed for cochlear implant users, is now also available for hearing aid users


Staefa, Switzerland (May 12, 2015) – Phonak and Advanced Bionics have partnered to offer hearing aid users a dynamic online resource with simple-to-use activities to support auditory training and rehabilitation. Originally developed for cochlear implant users, The Listening Room (www.thelisteningroom.com) has been further developed and is now also available for hearing aid users. Designed by certified auditory verbal therapists and speech and language pathologists, the website is free, immediately accessible and allows users to explore more than 30 lessons created specifically for all age groups.


Regular practice is important for hearing aid and cochlear implant users to develop strong listening and language skills. The Listening Room™ features three sections with content created specifically for the age groups; infants & toddlers, kids, and teens & adults. With its many different fun lessons, the interactive website offers dynamic exercises tailored for all levels of hearing loss.

The major benefits of www.thelisteningroom.com for hearing aid and cochlear implant users:

  • Practice listening with dynamic, engaging exercises tailored to their age group and hearing loss level
  • Learn to discriminate sounds and speech more easily
  • Develop strong listening and language skills
  • Track progress and rate the exercises
  • Develop music appreciation

Since learning is more successful if the lessons are interactive and fun, The Listening Room features interactive murals, fun drag and drop activities, music clips, and word recognition and phrase recognition lessons.

The Listening Room is free of charge, immediately accessible, and will be continuously enhanced by Phonak and Advanced Bionics to offer new features and lessons to support hearing aid and cochlear implant users on their journey to better hearing.

To register, please visit www.thelisteningroom.com.


About Advanced Bionics
Advanced Bionics is a global leader in developing the most advanced cochlear implant systems in the world. Founded in 1993 and working with Phonak under the Sonova Group since 2009.

AB develops cutting-edge cochlear implant technology that restores hearing to the deaf and allows recipients to hear their best.

With sales in over 50 countries and a proven track record for developing high-performing, state- of-the-art products, AB’s talented group of technologists and professionals from all over the world are driven to succeed, work with integrity and stay firmly committed to quality.

 To learn more about AB and its revolutionary cochlear implant technology, please visit www.advancedbionics.com.


About Phonak
Headquartered near Zurich, Switzerland, Phonak, a member of the Sonova Group, has developed, produced and globally distributed state-of-the-art hearing systems and wireless devices for more than 60 years. The combination of expertise in hearing technology, mastery in acoustics and strong cooperation with hearing care professionals allows Phonak to significantly improve people’s hearing ability and speech understanding and therefore their quality of life.

Phonak offers a complete range of digital hearing instruments, along with complementary wireless communication systems. With a worldwide presence, Phonak drives innovation and sets new industry benchmarks regarding miniaturization and performance.

For more information, please visit www.phonakpro.com or contact:

Kathy Bühler
Public Relations
Phonak AG
Tel: +41 58 928 01 01
                    

Phonak – Life is on
We are sensitive to the needs of everyone who depends on our knowledge, ideas and care. And by creatively challenging the limits of technology, we develop innovations that help people hear, understand and experience more of life’s rich soundscapes.

Interact freely. Communicate with confidence. Live without limit. Life is on.

Monday, April 20, 2015

4th Latin American Pediatric Conference, Sao Paulo

Hearing loss and the special needs of the pediatric population, August 20-22, 2015

Phonak proudly announces the 4th Latin American Pediatric Conference on the 21st and 22nd of
August 2015, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Continuing the tradition of international conferences, this exciting event will focus on hearing loss and the special needs of the pediatric population. Leading experts in pediatrics from Latin America and around the world will come together to share knowledge and
experience over the course of the two day event.

Presentations and workshops will be offered on pediatric amplification, fitting considerations and protocols, early communication outcomes, clinical management and rehabilitation services that
address children's and parents' needs.



Registration fees and accommodation: 

  • Early bird (until April 30, 2015): USD 200.00
  • Regular (after April 30, 2015): USD 250.00 
  • Full time students (letter required): USD 195.00
  • Guest at the Phonak Dinner: USD 85.00 


Registration fee includes: 
Two day of presentations and workshop by the foremost international experts in the field of pediatric audiology, three coffee breaks, two lunches, welcome reception (Thursday evening), poster session
and an evening with Phonak (Friday evening).

Chairpersons 
Beatriz Novaes
Professor at the Department of Speech and Hearing Catholic University of São Paulo - PUCSP Superintendent of DERDIC - School and Clinic - PUCSP

Adriane Lima Mortari Moret 
Professor at the Department of Speech and Hearing Therapy - FOB/USP; Coordinator at the Center of Audiological
Research - CPA /HRAC/USP - Bauru Campus

Call for Posters: 
We invite and encourage you to actively contribute to this year's conference! A poster session on
Thursday evening before the conference provides an excellent opportunity to present and discuss the
latest research results. We are looking for clinical studies that relate to hearing care in the pediatric
area.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

World Autism Awareness Day 2015 - An interview with Dr. Erin Schafer

The eighth annual World Autism Awareness Day is April 2, 2015. Every year, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events. Phonak has taken this opportunity to talk to Erin Schafer, PhD from the University of North Texas, on her work with children with ASD and on a study on the benefits of Roger Focus for these children.



Erin Schafer, PhD

Erin Schafer is an Associate Professor at the University of North Texas in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences. She teaches courses and publishes peer-reviewed research on the assessment and (re)habilitation of adults and children with hearing loss or auditory disorders. She currently serves as the Editor of the Journal of Educational Audiology, has worked as an educational audiologist, and continues to provide consulting services to local school districts. In 2013, she was awarded the Cheryl Deconde Johnson Award for Outstanding Achievement in Educational and Pediatric Audiology.





Phonak: Dr. Schafer, thank you for your time. For many years, you have been conducting multiple studies on solutions for children with normal hearing and with auditory difficulties, specifically children who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). As today is International Autism Awareness Day, it would great for you to share with us, how you became interested in investigating the topic of auditory deficit of children with ASD.

Erin Schafer, PhD: When I was working as an educational audiologist 10 years ago, I received assistive technology referrals to evaluate the potential benefit of FM systems on children with APD, ASD, and ADHD. I certainly understood APD, but I was unsure about the potential FM benefit for ASD and ADHD. I recommended FM system trial periods for several children with ASD and ADHD, and to my delight, the systems were extremely beneficial for most kids. At this point in my career, I realized that remote-microphone technology has the potential to really help many school-aged children, not just those with hearing loss.

Phonak: You have investigated these benefits further in your recent studies. What approach did you use in your research?

Erin Schafer: We are at the end of data collection on a study examining the benefit of Roger Focus for 14 children with ASD who are on various levels of the spectrum. Previous research has not included children who have lower function and who are non-verbal, so we were very interested in including children of all levels and functioning. All children completed a 4 to 6 week trial period at home and at school with the Roger Focus. Before and after the trial, children with higher function completed behavioral testing including speech recognition, acceptable noise levels, and listening comprehension measures. For all children, parent, teacher, and participant questionnaires were completed before and after the Roger Focus trial period in order to assess subjective benefits of the remote-microphone technology.

Phonak: What were your findings in relation to behavior and overall performance of children with ASD?

Erin Schafer: Results on the speech recognition, acceptable noise level, and listening comprehension tasks in the children with higher functioning suggested significant improvements in recognition and comprehension with the Roger Focus over a condition with no hearing technology. Similarly, the subjective questionnaires completed by participants, parents, and teachers, revealed significant improvements in listening ability with the Roger Focus over no hearing technology.

Phonak: What do children and parents say about the use of Roger Focus?

Erin Schafer: Although I love to collect research data that can be analyzed and published, the most rewarding aspect of this research is the enthusiasm of the parents and participants. Parents and teachers have shared real-life experiences that cannot be captured on a behavioral test or in a subjective questionnaire. For example, the Roger Focus helped one mother to have a meaningful conversation with her daughter. Generally, conversations with her child were very taxing and required multiple redirections and repetitions; however with the Roger Focus, her daughter made eye-contact and was able to attend to the conversation so much more easily. Another parent described how use of the Roger Focus with her two children with ASD brought her to happy tears during a shopping trip with her kids. She was able to redirect her kids’ behavior more easily with the Roger Focus. Her kids were actually on-task, and they even helped to put items in the cart! It is these simple, every-day experiences where optimal hearing can make all the difference.

Phonak: You are a passionate advocate of this technology and it has been great having you share your research with us.



Mari Ulrick (Texas, USA), mother of a daughter with autism, says:

“My daughter who has autism has difficulty hearing, especially in noisy environments, and for this reason, she misses many opportunities to communicate and interact with her peers and becomes inattentive when her teacher talks. With Roger Focus, her teacher has facilitated many conversations between her and her peers that would have never taken place otherwise, and she pays attention to her teacher with redirections through Roger Focus during the school day. Both her teacher and her speech pathologist at school have stated that using Roger has improved her behavior and increased her ability to interact and communicate with her peers and people around her.”




Literature:

Schafer, E. C., Florence, S., Anderson, C., Dyson, J., Wright, S., Sanders, K., & Bryant, D. (2014). A critical for children with normal hearing and auditory differences. Journal of Educational Audiology, 20, 1-11.
Schafer, E. C., Traber, J., Layden, P., Amin, A., Sanders, K., Bryant, D., & Baldus, N. (2014). Use of wireless technology for children with auditory processing disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and language disorders. Seminars in Hearing, 35(3), 193-205.
Schafer, E. C., Mathews, L., Mehta, S., Hill, M., Munoz, A., Bishop, R., & Maloney, M. (2013). Personal FM systems for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and/or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): An initial investigation. Journal of Communication Disorders, 46, 40-52.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Phonak presents innovative new hearing solutions

Phonak announces the launch of two new hearing aids – the Phonak Bolero V and Phonak CROS II.

The new Phonak Bolero V is packed in a new aesthetically appealing design. As the already introduced Audéo V (RIC) product family it runs on AutoSense OS, the central brain of the new Phonak Venture hearing aids and therefore provides a seamless listening experience in every listening situation. The IP67 rated Phonak Bolero V is water resistant and dust tight for extra durability. Covering a wide range of hearing loss levels, the three new Phonak BTE models, available in four performance levels, now come with an integrated Tinnitus Balance noise generator and easily connect with the entire Phonak Wireless Communication Portfolio. Bolero V will be available with immediate effect. Phonak also introduces CROS II, the latest generation of Phonak CROS, aimed at helping people with single-sided deafness. With Phonak CROS II the brand launches the second generation of smart solutions for single-sided deafness.

Based on the latest Venture platform, Phonak CROS II wirelessly transmits sound from the unaidable ear to a Venture hearing aid worn on the better hearing ear. This allows people with single-sided deafness to hear speech from the side they could not hear from before. The new key feature of Phonak CROS II is StereoZoom. By focusing on a single voice in a crowd, it allows for improved speech understanding in noisy situations. The new fitting process for Phonak CROS II is as easy and intuitive as a normal binaural fit, and users can instantly experience the benefits of the CROS solution during the fitting session. The new solution will be available immediately.

Read more from the official press releases:

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

More access to life’s conversations: Phonak launches Roger EasyPen

New Roger EasyPen plus Naída Q hearing aids let hearing aid users hear better than normal hearing people


Phonak announces the launch of the Roger EasyPen, another Roger wireless microphone for adults and teenagers. The Roger EasyPen is an inconspicuous device in the shape of an ordinary pen, but it is packed with Roger technology which has been scientifically proven to help hearing instrument users understand up to 62%* more speech in noise and over distance than people with no hearing loss. The discreet design helps users to take the device to meetings and public places, where normally they often would hesitate to bring assistive listening devices. The new Roger EasyPen extends the already powerful Roger portfolio of the Roger Pen and

“The ability to communicate affects the quality of our everyday lives. This is why Phonak has been committed to providing hearing care professionals and their clients with hearing solutions which truly make a difference for several decades. Those with severe to profound hearing loss often need an extra boost to have access to even more of life’s conversations”, says Martin Grieder, Group Vice President Phonak. “The combination of our power hearing aid Naída Q and Roger ensures access to more of life’s conversations even in the most challenging situations. The new Phonak Roger EasyPen which automatically adapts its settings to the surroundings is very easy to use and to explain, and we are convinced that it will appeal to even more users.”

Roger: bridging the understanding gap 

Even the most powerful hearing instruments have limitations. Roger systems provide an extra
performance boost in challenging listening situations, especially in noise or over distance. The Phonak Roger portfolio offers microphones and accompanying receivers to suit every listener by picking up the voice of the speaker and wirelessly transmitting it to the listener. Available in three different microphone options – Roger Pen, the new Roger EasyPen and the Roger Clip-On Mic – and three Roger receiver types – the discreet Roger design-integrated receivers, the miniature universal Roger X receiver and the body-worn Roger MyLink, the Phonak digital standard helps hearing instrument users understand up to 62% more speech in noise and over distance than people with no hearing loss.

The new Roger EasyPen is the smart solution for every hearing aid user who desires full Roger performance bundled with ultimate simplicity. The device automatically adjusts its settings to suit the noise and speakers around the listener. A recent study has come to the conclusion that the automatic mode showed no significant difference to those obtained in the best manual mode, and indicates that the automatic mode may even have a greater positive effect as it eliminates the possibility of the user selecting a non-optimal manual mode**. The Roger EasyPen is available in three different colors. 






































Perfect partners for access to more of life’s conversations 
Together with Phonak Naída Q hearing aids, Roger brings a powerful solution to people with severe to profound hearing loss, offering them an outstanding hearing experience that overcomes even challenging situations – especially when dealing with near and far field speech and sound.

Further information on Phonak solutions for people with severe to profound hearing loss: www.phonakpro.com/naida-q
www.phonakpro.com/roger 

* Professor Thibodeau, Linda, PhD (2013), Comparison of speech recognition with adaptive digital and FM wireless technology by listeners who use hearing aids, University of Texas, Dallas, USA, International Journal of Audiology 
** Phonak Field Study News: Comparison of Roger Pen Automatic Mode with Manual Mode, Hans. E. Mülder, Cathryn Williams, January 2015

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Phonak Launches U.S. Audiology Research Center

Left to right: Aniket Saoji, PhD, Christine Jones, AuD, Lori Rakita, AuD


New facility debuts industry first-of-its-kind Listening Loft for testing real-life hearing technology performance 


Phonak U.S., the leader in innovative hearing solutions has launched the Phonak Audiology Research Center (PARC), its North American center for innovation, audiology and clinical research. The research conducted at the PARC is specifically targeted to the needs of US hearing care professionals, providing them with evidence-based science to support best-practice clinical protocols that ultimately result in higher patient satisfaction and increased adoption of hearing technology. Dr. Christine Jones, Director of Pediatric Clinical Research at the new Phonak US Audiology Research Center (PARC) conducts hearing testing on a three year-old patient as part of a bigger clinical study being conducted at the PARC on Thursday, December 18, 2014 at Phonak headquarters in Warrenville, Ill. Phonak is renowned for its long history in providing pediatric hearing solutions and wireless communication products for every age. The PARC is a new and important asset in helping to drive innovation...

Currently, the adoption rate of hearing devices among U.S. consumers with some degree of hearing loss is only 25 percent, and it takes an average of seven years for those with hearing loss to seek care. This collaboration between Phonak audiology and engineering represents a powerful multi-disciplinary approach designed to advance the understanding of hearing loss and explore new applications of hearing technology performance.

In addition to having a state-of-the-art patient testing facility with the latest measurement capabilities, Phonak researchers are exploring the limits of hearing instrument functionalities in real life using the PARC Listening Loft. "The Listening Loft environment replicates the living areas of a home and allows us to test hearing technology in a realistic and natural environment," said Aniket Saoji, PhD, Senior Manager of Phonak Clinical Research.

 "We've outfitted it with a sound demonstration system which replicates a wide range of sound and speech recordings that people experience in everyday living- talking while the TV is on and the dishwasher is going, etc.," explained Dr. Saoji. "This way, we're able to demonstrate products and capture data in perfectly simulated real-world environments where people want the most from their hearing devices. Additionally, testing new hearing devices early in development provides in an unprecedented ability to evaluate the benefit and application of new hearing innovations and further optimize them prior to commercialization," he added.

The PARC is also home to Pediatric product validation efforts, led by Christine Jones AuD, Director of Phonak Pediatric Clinical Research. A highly specific clinical approach is needed for pediatric audiology. "We don't use adult hearing devices on children because kids are not just 'small adults' when it comes to hearing. Instead we develop our pediatric portfolio according to the unique needs of children at various stages of their development," explained Dr. Jones. "For example, the experimental Roger lab allows us to evaluate new wireless technologies used in schools across the country and gain insights from all the stakeholders involved — educational audiologists, teachers, children and their families. This iterative process lets us leverage those user insights to enhance product development and tightly align product innovation with user needs and expectations."



Effective collaboration between the Phonak U.S. team and its counterparts in Switzerland was also demonstrated with the recent launch of the Phonak Venture product platform. The Phonak U.S. team conducted the verification work on the new Adaptive StereoZoom algorithm using specialized speaker configurations and measurement equipment, as well as real patient testing.

"When you review all of the innovation that Phonak has brought to the market over the past decades, it's very impressive and rewarding to know how many people have benefitted from it," said Bill Dickinson, AuD, Vice President of Audiology, Phonak U.S. "Even more inspiring is our ongoing passion to push the limits of technology further and produce scientific evidence using the exceptional resources available at the PARC."

This marks just the beginning of work by the Phonak clinical research team, who is integral in discovering new solutions that are meaningful and effective for the 35+ million people in the United States struggling with some degree of hearing loss.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Unleashed possibilities for teenagers with hearing loss


BringSoundtoLife.com, a dedicated Phonak website for teens, features new sports section with inspiring testimonials and practical tips showing teens with hearing loss the possibilities on the field, on the court, and on the trails. 


Because a teenager’s world is a different one, Phonak has recently launched the first website tailored to the needs of teens with hearing loss. Through teen-specific hooks such as music and social life, the site offers teens all they want to know about hearing technology – and more importantly, what it can do to enhance their lives. The latest addition to the page is a sports section that offers inspiring examples of teen athletes with hearing loss using Phonak Sky Q and Phonak Roger. This new sports section answers the questions teens may have about participating in outdoor sports while wearing hearing devices and communicating with team mates on the field. The website is available in English at www.bringsoundtolife.com

Surveys have shown that hearing impaired teens perceive themselves as typical teenagers who happen to have hearing loss. They love to be active in sports, music, and other fun activities like any other teenager. They expect their hearing aids and wireless technology to allow them to do whatever they want to do without being limited by their hearing loss. 


Teens want to live their life to the fullest

Engaging videos and
interactive elements:
  www.bringsoundtolife.com
wants to inspire teens with
hearing loss und get active. 
“Hearing impaired teens want to hear from their peers about how they succeeded in similar situations. This is why we have developed a site dedicated to teenagers, offering them all the information they seek and a platform for sharing their own challenges and accomplishments in everyday life with hearing devices, says Angela Pelosi, Head of Pediatrics at Phonak. “With sports as our latest experience, we want to encourage them to get out there and get active, without letting their hearing impairment limit them in any way.” 

Sports is one of the favorite pastimes of teens. Those with hearing loss often fear that they cannot participate or keep up with other teens because of hearing-related communication issues. Bringsoundtolife.com shows teenagers that communication is possible on the field, on the court, and on the trails with hearing solutions like Phonak Sky Q and Phonak Roger. Short, engaging videos show how Phonak hearing solutions have given teenagers the chance to live their dreams and succeed in their favorite sports – all heard and told from a teen’s perspective.

BringSoundtoLife.com offers teens the opportunity to share their own experiences and stories using the latest Phonak technology with the community to encourage and inspire their peers. A Phonak Sky Q and Roger color customization tool, and an “Ask your audiologist” tool make sure teenagers get the most out of the site, whatever their individual preferences and needs. 


The website is available in English under www.bringsoundtolife.com.