Friday, November 6, 2015

Phonak Convenes International Expert Panel to Address Family-centered Audiological Care

(Warrenville, IL) – November 5, 2015 – Phonak has invited a select group of hearing healthcare experts to provide evidence-based recommendations to hearing care providers on how to better engage family members.

“Hearing health impacts everyone involved in the life of someone challenged with hearing issues, especially family and loved ones. However, we know from research that a low percentage of significant others are actually involved in the hearing healthcare process,” explained Prof. Hickson, panel chairperson and Professor of Audiology and Head of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

"We also know that hearing outcomes are far better when families are involved, positively impacting overall patient satisfaction.”

The panel is working to identify evidence-based recommendations that are easy to implement in daily practice. The first deliverable will be a position statement to be published in early 2016.

“Phonak is very excited to sponsor and support this initiative to help increase practice effectiveness,” said Ora Buerkli-Halevy, Vice President, Global Audiology, Phonak AG. “The objective is to facilitate family involvement throughout the process. This initiative is based on scientific evidence showing that involving the family results in increased uptake of hearing healthcare and better outcomes.”

In addition to Prof. Hickson, the first meeting of the expert panel  also included Kris English, PhD, Associate Professor at the University of Akron/NOAC, Akron, Ohio; Mary Beth Jennings, PhD, Associate Professor of the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Western Ontario, Ontario, Canada; Gurjit Singh, PhD, Senior Research Audiologist, Phonak AG and Barbra Timmer, MACAud, MAudSA, MBA, Research Audiologist and PhD Candidate, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.  Other experts will also be contributing moving forward and will collaborate on the position statement.


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. To learn more about Phonak, please visit www.phonak.com.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Study: The use of hearing aids reduces cognitive decline

Hearing loss accelerates cognitive decline in elderly adults, but the use of hearing aids counters this acceleration. A new scientific longitudinal study shows that those who use hearing aids have about the same cognitive level as those with no hearing loss.

Self-reported hearing loss is associated with accelerated cognitive decline in elderly adults, according to an extensive 25 year long scientific French study. The study also documents that the use of hearing aids almost eliminates this cognitive decline.

The study documents that self-reported hearing loss is independently associated with accelerated cognitive decline in elderly adults. However, the opposite statistical trend is observed in participants who used hearing aids. Cognitive decline of those in the study who used hearing aids was not significantly different from the control group (those who reported no hearing loss).  Elderly hearing aid users had similar rates of cognitive decline as those with no hearing impairment.

Improving hearing ability helps

The study does not document that hearing loss has a direct effect on cognitive decline, but that the mental and social consequences of a hearing loss probably mediate the relation. Therefore, improving hearing ability by using hearing aids or cochlear implants reduces the negative mental effects of a hearing loss and increases the ability to participate in cognitively stimulating activities such as social activities, and thereby slows cognitive decline.

Facts about the study

PAQUID is an extensive French study among 3,670 randomly selected individuals aged 65 and older. The study began in 1989-1990 and the participants have been evaluated regularly for 25 years. The study has been led by Professor Hélène Amieva, Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2, in France.
In the study, the participants made self reported statements about their hearing loss. Cognitive decline was measured by using a so-called Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). The strength of the study is the very long period in which people have been followed and measured and the number of participants.The study has been published in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

“At Hear-it we are profoundly grateful to Professor Hélène Amieva  for having documented, what we have known for decades, but not been able to prove scientifically: That hearing aids help the hard of hearing stay cognitively and mentally fit,” says Secretary General Kim Ruberg, Hear-it AISBL.
Hear-it AISBL is the world’s largest information resource for all issues related to hearing loss, and runs the leading website on hearing loss: www.hear-it.org 

“We know from many other scientific surveys that the use of professional hearing solutions helps hard of hearing people live better lives, participate in social activities, keep a job and in general gives them  a higher quality of life. All this helps the hard of hearing to better health, better social functions and therefore better mental health. Now Professor Hélène Amieva has documented that untreated hearing loss is associated with cognitive decline and that those who use hearing aids have about the same cognitive level as those with no hearing loss,” says Kim Ruberg.

Find out more about Professor Hélène Amieva’s research, the consequences of hearing loss and the benefits of using hearing aids by visiting the world’s largest hearing information resource at www.hear-it.org.


View post on imgur.com

For further information, contact Hear-It Secretary General, Kim Ruberg, +45 40 300 500 
e-mail: kim@ruberg.dk 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Phonak EasyCall: Connecting any cell phone to your hearing aids

No compromise cell phone solution from Phonak allows users to connect any Bluetooth enabled cell phone to their hearing aids and have conversations streamed directly to both ears

Staefa, Switzerland (May 26, 2015) – Cell phones are one of the most important tools to live a mobile lifestyle. We love to work on the go, call our beloved ones on the way home and chat away with friends while in a train. Phonak EasyCall gives hearing aid users all they need to enjoy this lifestyle: Permanently attached to the cell phone, it transmits phone conversations directly to both ears – hassle free and in unmatched phone call quality. And what’s best: Phonak EasyCall connects any Phonak wireless hearing aid to any Bluetooth enabled cell phone. Combined with the latest hearing aid generation from Phonak, Audéo V or Bolero V, that offers easy operation and consumes up to 30% less battery when streaming, Phonak EasyCall brings more flexibility, quality of life and freedom than ever to hearing aid users.

“Phonak EasyCall is the flexible no compromise cell phone solution,” says Martin Grieder, Group Vice President at Phonak. “Phonak hearing aid users can simply keep their existing Bluetooth cell phone, attach Phonak EasyCall and be immediately ready to make and receive calls. The call will be automatically streamed to both hearing aids, with 30% less battery consumption. We think this is how easy a cell phone conversation should be for everyone today.”

Maximum flexibility
EasyCall connects to any Bluetooth enabled cell phone.

Hearing aid users can keep or choose the cell phone of their choice, even if it is a non-smartphone or an older model. If they want to connect their existing cell phone to their hearing aids, they can keep their existing settings and already purchased apps. 
  Phonak EasyCall is permanently attached to and constantly connected with the cell phone and is ready to make or receive a phone call whenever you are ready. It never gets lost or forgotten.

Unmatched sound quality

Phonak EasyCall is a cost effective solution that offers improved listening comfort and speech understanding by transmitting the caller’s voice directly to both hearing aids. Combined with the latest Phonak hearing aid generation that uses intelligent technology to block wind and filter background noise, it allows for unmatched sound quality.


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.phonak.com or contact:

Kathy Bühler
Public Relations Manager
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.


Research by Eargroup: Roger Pen gives Naída CI users up to 78.6% more speech recognition in conversations in noise with multiple speakers

First study of its kind by Belgian scientists demonstrates the benefits of Roger Pen wireless microphones for cochlear implant recipients – participants went from being isolated to being able to participate fully in conversations

Staefa, Switzerland (May 21, 2015) In a study published today in the European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology and Head & Neck, the Belgian researchers from Eargroup, Antwerp, describe how multiple wireless microphones allow cochlear implant recipients to hear and understand exceptionally well in one of the most challenging listening environments: having a conversation with multiple talkers in high background noise. The study participants, all Naída CI recipients, could recognize speech 78.6% better when using Roger Pen in a multi talker conversation with the background noise being slightly louder than the speech. Using Roger Pen, they could participate fully in the conversation, while without Roger Pen, they were completely isolated from the conversation.

Roger Pen
Speech understanding in background noise is a challenge for cochlear implant recipients in general, particularly in everyday life situations such as at a restaurant, where they are surrounded by noise. Personal FM systems have traditionally been recommended for improving the Signal to Noise Ratio. So far, research with wireless microphones investigated only situations with just one talker. In real life however conversations often take place with multiple talkers. This is a more difficult listening situation, even more if there is background noise. The scientists at the Eargroup in Antwerp-Deurne led by Paul Govaerts, Ph.D., designed a new test set-up with seven loudspeakers to evaluate speech understanding scores for this complex listening situation, as so far no standardized protocol did exist.

A randomized, prospective study was set up in an everyday life situation. A test situation was created to simulate four persons having a meal in a noisy restaurant, one of them being the CI user while the three companions were talking non-simultaneously. The three companions were mimicked by three loudspeakers. Noise was coming from four speakers placed in the corners of the room. The 12 participants were equipped with a Naída CI Q70, the latest sound processor from Advanced Bionics, with a dedicated Receiver Roger 17. The Roger Pen from Phonak served as wireless microphone. The Roger Pen uses digital adaptive technology, possessing the feature of multiple microphones that can be connected in a multi talker network to a single or multiple receivers. The Roger Pen communicates directly with the Roger 17 receiver attached to the Naída CI Q70 speech processor.

Testing was done in various conditions including ‘No Wireless’, without Roger Pen, and ‘Three Wireless’, with three Roger Pens in a network at a necktie position relative to the companion speakers. The CI user was wearing the Naída speech processor and for the wireless conditions this processor was connected to a Roger 17 receiver. Sentences were presented randomly from one of the three companion loudspeakers at a normal conversation level. The background noise level ranged from 55 to 80 dB SPL.

The study at a glance ·         Test group: 12 adult Naída CI recipients, equipped with a dedicated Roger 17 receiver
·         Study design:
o    Randomized prospective study in a situation that simulated four persons having a meal at a noisy restaurant, one of them the CI recipient and the other three talking non-simultaneously
o    Testing in two conditions: no wireless (without Roger Pen) and three wireless (with three Roger Pens in a network)
o    Background noise level ranging from 55 to 80 dB
·         Major findings:
o    78.6% improved speech recognition in conversations  in noise with three speakers using Roger Pen
o    With Roger Pen, the CI recipients could participate fully in conversations from which they were completely isolated before.


When the background noise was slightly louder than the speech, the three Roger Pens improved speech recognition by 78.6%. While without Roger, the participants were completely isolated in the test situation, with Roger they could participate fully in the discussion.

Paul Govaerts, Ph.D., director of the Eargroup, a private clinical and research entity in Antwerp, Belgium, that specializes in Otology and Audiology, comments on the study findings: “We were impressed to find that, with 15dB SRT improvement, CI recipients using multiple Roger Pens   really enter into competition hearing peers in loud noise.”

Previous research by Linda Thibodeau, Ph.D., from the University of Texas at Dallas already showed Roger technology giving hearing aid users up to 62% more speech recognition than normal hearing listeners in noise and over distance**.
 What is Roger?Roger by Phonak is the new digital standard that bridges the understanding gap in noise and over distance, surpassing the performance of standard FM systems by up to 54% and Dynamic FM technology by 35%. It uses cutting-edge wireless microphones to pick up the voice of the speaker and transmit it wirelessly over 2.4 GHz to miniature ear-level receivers. Roger is hassle-free and adapts its own settings automatically to the noise and speakers around the use. 

* Geert De Ceulaer, Julie Bestel, PhD, MSc, Hans E. Mülder, Drs, Felix Goldbeck, Sebastien Pierre Janssens de Varebeke, M.D., Paul J. Govaerts, MSc, M.D., PhD (2015), Speech understanding in noise with the Roger Pen, Naida CI Q70 processor, and integrated Roger 17 receiver in a multi-talker network, European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology and Head & Neck, DOI 10.1007/s00405-015-3643-4.

** Professor Thibodeau, Linda, PhD (2014), Comparison of speech recognition with adaptive digital and FM wireless technology by listeners who use hearing aids, University of Texas, Dallas, USA, The American Journal of Audiology. Volume 23, 201-210, June 2014.


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, 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.

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.