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Read the latest news, research updates and trends in audiology and hearing care. Post comments and share with your colleagues!

Friday, June 21, 2019

​The FDA has approved Cochlear's new Nucleus Profile Plus Series Cochlear Implant and the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor's new built-in connectivity featuring direct streaming with Android smartphones. The Nucleus Profile Plus Implant is designed for safe access to MRI scans, and allows cochlear implant users easier access to 1.5 and 3.0 Tesla MRI scans without having to remove the internal magnet or use a head wrap. The new implant is built off Cochlear's Nucleus Profile Series Implant, which maintains an accessible magnet if removal is ever required, and it includes a thin design with the potential of a better cosmetic outcome and less time in surgery. The other Cochlear product that received FDA approval, the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor's expanded connectivity enables direct audio streaming from Android devices to a cochlear implant sound processor without any intermediary device or attachments. Already equipped with iPhone capabilities, the new sound processor allows users to connect to Apple and Android devices without compromising on size, weight, or battery life of the sound processor. The Nucleus Profile Plus Series Cochlear Implant is still awaiting approval by Health Canada, and will be commercially available later this month.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A new study published in PLOS Biology showed that inflammation in the sound-processing region of the brain mediates ringing in the ears of mice that have noise-induced hearing loss. Shaowen Bao, PhD of the University of Arizona and the colleagues who conducted this research examined neuroinflammation in the auditory cortex of the brain following noise-induced hearing loss, and its role in tinnitus, in rodent models. Tinnitus, the perception of ringing in the ears, is a major factor when suffering from hearing loss, which affects about 500 million individuals.

The research found that noise-induced hearing loss is associated with increased levels of molecules called pro-inflammatory cytokines and the activation of non-neuronal cells called microglia in the primary cortex. Experiments in mice that suffer from noise-induced hearing loss showed that a cell-signaling molecule called tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) mediates neuroinflammation, tinnitus, and synaptic imbalance. The study, which was published in PLOS Biology, also found that the pharmacological blockage of TNFα or the decrease of microglia prevented tinnitus in mice with noise-induced hearing loss. The authors of the study believe that neuroinflammation may be a therapeutic target for treating tinnitus and other hearing loss-related disorders.

"It is too early to generalize these findings from rodent models to human tinnitus, or from noise-induced tinnitus to the tinnitus of other etiologies," Bao told The Hearing Journal. "But we can begin to consider neuroinflammation as a potential risk factor for tinnitus."

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Oticon Medical has launched the Ponto 4, a small and high-performing sound processor that marks a significant breakthrough in bone anchored hearing care in the US. A powerful combination of Oticon Medical's expertise in bone conduction hearing with the newest state-of-the-art technology enables Ponto 4 to bring an open and balanced sound experience to bone anchored users for the first time. Ponto 4 is the smallest bone anchored device on the market -- 27% smaller than Ponto 3.   

Built on the unique Velox S™ platform, Ponto 4 delivers fast and precise sound processing for an open soundscape and noise-optimized listening experience.  The OpenSound Navigator™ analyzes the sound environment more than 100 times per second to balance the sound sources and attenuate noise even between words. The groundbreaking technology handles multiple speech and noise sources in a new, fast and efficient way, balancing the environment and targeting noise to a much higher degree that has been possible before.  This makes a huge difference in the ability of bone anchored users to follow conversations and keep up with the dynamics of life.

 With the reliability and durability that is the hallmark of the Ponto family, Ponto 4 is designed to stand up to everyday life.  The new sound processor also brings world's first advancements in wireless capabilities to the bone anchored field. Through a unique Oticon cloud solution, the web-based service IFTTT (If This Then That) and the Oticon ON app are used to unlock a world of potential for connected device communication. Users can connect their sound processor to a range of devices and services, including "smart" doorbells, smoke detectors and baby alarms.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Nebraska's state legislature passed the LB15-Adopt the Children of Nebraska Hearing Aid Act on May 23 with a 48-0 vote. The act will require insurance companies to cover the costs of hearing aids for children 18 years and younger. It will cover up to $3,000 of costs every four years. Sen. Carol Blood introduced the bill on May 29 and it will go into effect in January of 2020.

Nebraska will be the 23rd state to pass such a bill in the United States, where hearing loss is the third most common health condition. About 20 percent of Nebraska's population suffers from some form of hearing loss. This equates to about 300,000 people. In addition, one percent of the population is deaf, which is about 18,000 residents. It is also estimated that 3 out of every 1,000 babies are born with some form of hearing impairment.

Because hearing aids can cost up to $6,000, the Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing made it its goal to create a bill with Sen. Blood that would assist children who were hard of hearing. The commission worked to pass this bill for about seven years, according to John C. Wyvill, the executive director of the Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.


Thursday, June 13, 2019

​hearOclub (https://www.hearoclub.com/) now offers a hearing aid battery subscription service delivering DieHard batteries on a regular schedule starting at $7 a month. The company's website helps hearing aid users decide which plan best fits their needs based on battery size, from size 312 to size 675, and how many they need each month. Consumers can choose to receive 16, 32, 48, or 64 batteries every other month, but they can also change or cancel their plans anytime. Members will receive a free battery tester keychain with battery storage in their first shipment. Not only does the keychain allow members to check their battery's charge, it also gives them a convenient place to store spare batteries. hearOclub is dedicated to giving people peace of mind, said hearOclub's co-founder Benjamin Norman. "We remove stress from the equation, allowing our members to focus on what is truly important—living life to the fullest," he said.