Deaf people in Burton and East Staffordshire due to lose hearing aids given …



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HUNDREDS of hard-of-hearing people due to lose their free hearing aids as part of budget cuts have been given a stay of execution until September.

Plans announced by East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) last year would have left people with mild to moderate hearing loss no longer eligible for hearing aids on the NHS.

However, the CCG has now delayed these plans following an audiology inquiry day and has decided to wait for the national report of the Hearing Loss Commissioning Guidance Advisory Group which is due out in April.

A full re-procurement of hearing loss services will be made in September.

Shelagh McKiernan, councillor for Horninglow and Stretton on Staffordshire County Council and campaigner against the cuts, said that she did not believe the fight was over.

She said: “I’m pleased that it’s not going ahead right now, but as I fear, the CCG plans to do it. We have not gone away and breathed a sigh of relief, but it is good to get a stay of execution.”

The plans announced last September would have affected anyone with a hearing loss of less than 41 decibels or moderate hearing loss (41 to 55 decibels), unless their hearing could be shown to affect their everyday life.

Action on Hearing Loss, a charity which has campaigned against the cuts, welcomed the abandoning of these proposals.

Chief executive Paul Breckell said: “We are relieved that the CCG has reacted to public sentiment and the evidence we have presented by scrapping their plans to restrict hearing aid provision for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.

“We will continue to work with CCGs across England to ensure they understand the true value of hearing aids, which people with a hearing loss tell us are a lifeline.”

Andrew Donald from the CCG, said: “We have recognised the strength of feeling generated by the proposal to introduce eligibility criteria for access to the provision of NHS hearing aids.

“I hope people will be reassured that the CCGs are listening to public feedback and have acted swiftly on the evidence presented.”


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Article source: http://www.burtonmail.co.uk/Deaf-people-Burton-East-Staffordshire-lose/story-28543699-detail/story.html

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HLAA Announces Departure of Executive Director Anna Gilmore Hall

HLAA Anna Gilmore HallThe Board of Trustees of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) has announced that its executive director, Anna Gilmore Hall, RN, MS, CAE, is leaving after serving the organization in this role for the past two and a half years.

HLAA reports that Hall and her husband are planning to relocate to Florida and seek employment there. Upon her resignation, Hall noted that she had enjoyed her tenure as executive director of the HLAA, and believes it is a great organization.

“The Board thanks Anna for her dedication and service over the past two-and-a-half years,” said Margaret Wallhagen, PhD, chairperson of the HLAA Board of Trustees. “Anna has effected many positive changes and leaves HLAA poised for future growth.”

Stepping in as acting executive director is Barbara Kelley, who has been with HLAA for 28 years and has served as its deputy executive director for the past 8 years. As a search is conducted for the executive director’s position, Kelley will lead activities related to the organization’s mission and recent position statements, as well as its efforts to emphasize the importance of a patient-centered approach to hearing health care.

Hall had brought 20 years of experience to her role with HLAA, including direct experience helping nonprofit organizations to achieve strategic and growth objectives. Before joining HLAA, Hall had worked in executive planning, administration, communications, and marketing in the nonprofit sector. Just prior to assuming the executive director position at HLAA, Hall had been the executive director of Practice Greenhealth. She also had held executive leadership positions with the American Nurses Association and the Maine State Nurses Association.

In recent months, Hall had worked with the HLAA Board and Strategic Planning Committee to revise its Statement of Strategic Intent, and this updated document is expected to help guide the organization forward in its endeavors during 2016 and beyond.

HLAA produces the Walk4Hearing® in 22 cities across the country, publishes the bimonthly Hearing Loss Magazine, holds annual conventions (Convention 2016 is in Washington, DC, June 23 – 26), advocates for the rights of people with hearing loss, conducts educational webinars, and has an extensive network of chapters and state organizations across the country.

Source: HLAA

 

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Article source: http://www.hearingreview.com/2016/01/hlaa-executive-director-anna-gilmore-hall-resigns/

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Hearing Aid ‘Buttons’ Help Users Control In-canal Receivers

Gruv Button illustration

Illustration shows a Gruv Button, designed for managing the in-canal receiver of an RIC hearing aid, in use. (Credit: Each Ear LLC)

Each Ear LLC announced that it has launched Gruv Buttons, a new product designed to help hearing aid users gain better control of their in-canal receivers.

The company reports that its new Gruv Buttons were unveiled at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Wisconsin Alliance of Hearing Professionals, held January 8-9, 2016, in Lake Delton, Wis.

Gruv Buttons are ergonomically designed to help Receiver-in-the-Canal (RIC) hearing aid wearers to use their fingertips to insert their receivers, thus solving three challenges: difficulty manipulating and controlling the small receivers, inserting receivers sufficiently deep in bending auditory canals, and overcoming users’ physical limitations and disabilities.

“Gruv Buttons significantly improve RIC hearing aid manageability and effectiveness,” said Each Ear Founder and President Jeffrey Szmanda in the recent announcement. “Now users can truly benefit from the prescribed amplification.”

Szmanda reports that Gruv Buttons will be distributed to hearing care professionals in three models: The SoloGruv™, The TrueGruv™ and The WheelGruv™.

Each Ear also has unveiled its “Practitioner Request,” a plea for hearing aid manufacturers to review and consider implementing the patent-pending Gruv Buttons™ for their RIC hearing aids. The company explains that it is interested in helping people with physical disabilities and limitations use hearing aids with greater ease.

Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago will be assisting Each Ear with the assembly and distribution of its Gruv Buttons, according to the company.

Hearing care professionals and hearing aid manufacturers can learn more about Gruv Buttons™ and the Practitioner Request on the Each Ear website.

Source: Each Ear LLC

Image credit: Each Ear LLC

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Article source: http://www.hearingreview.com/2016/01/hearing-aid-buttons-help-users-control-canal-receivers/

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OPINION: Talking guitars and tinnitus

Of course, some people can’t back off the volume knob when they speak or laugh. There are such things as sound bullies, the folks who cackle or shout to their tablemates so loud in a restaurant that your own conversation is hijacked. My glare of “stop” at these folks is as effective as a singing “Kumbaya” at the Gaza Strip. It doesn’t work. These monster mouths are forever at 11 on the loud dial, though they think they’re somewhere in the five or six range.

But my wife isn’t one of these people. No, she’s a four of 10 on the loud scale. Her inner voice rings loud in her head. But her words are still soft. I know our miscommunications will increase in years to come, with my need for repetition grating on her nerves more and more, and me saying, “But you have to speak up!”

Her replying, “Why would I ever call something a ‘Coke bot?’ It makes no sense.”

“I know, but that’s what it sounded like from in there, Coke bot.”

“Ugh, just forget it, nevermind. That’s not even close.”

No doubt, it’s not just aging that affects my hearing. It’s behavior. When I was 19, my girlfriend at the time bought me a solid state Laney amplifier. It was a great gift. I couldn’t believe she got it for me. I cranked it up all the time and she eventually dumped me for another guy, perhaps tired of all the sorry solos from behind the college apartment wall. But I kept playing that amp. Eventually, I got more serious about music and started playing out in clubs with bands. I wanted something better. So I purchased a 30-watt tube Orange Class A amp with Celestion speakers. The amp was totally orange and quite ugly, really. But man, it sounded so good. And the more I played, the more I realized the difference between really great music and just OK music is getting the right equipment and milking the most out of the quality sound it provides. One note can hold such power if the tone is right. In fact, I believe the tone matters as much or more than the composition of notes.

I already had a red American Stratocaster, which I bought after watching a guy play beautifully for a band named Thorny Hold at the Downstairs in Athens around 1992-3. Mike Mantione of Five Eight was also playing a Strat. And I wanted to play like those guys, angrily and aggressively, lots of riffs, feedback, with stutter starts and stops that kept a listener off balance. I grew my hair long and went to extended family functions getting raised eyebrows, which only made me feel better about my choice to grow out my hair. Cliche, I suppose, but the feeling for music was genuine. I wanted to hit people in the chest with what I wrote.

And it only felt right one way — loud, really loud. Earplugs diminished the experience, too. Sure they protected my hearing, but I wasn’t so concerned about that. And what came through was a muddy mess that wiped out both the feeling and subtleties.

So, I spent a good 15 years playing out and going to shows on a regular basis. It was fun to hear a good band and try to rip off some aspect of their guitar work. I could never match what a lot of other guitarists did. My goal was to make good songwriting decisions that didn’t require virtuosity, which I certainly didn’t have.

Even now when I listen to music, I want to hear it loud. And my “loud” is probably far more ear-shattering than others would find comfortable. I listen to music all the time on headphones, always thinking that I’m not doing myself any favors when the moment requires that cool part be turned up. Because how else can you listen to the best part?


Naturally, this is not a good admission for a reporter, right? If my hearing is suspect, then that could cause problems with my work. So, I now often find when I’m interviewing people that I’ll essentially ask the same question in a different way, trying to make sure I heard it right the first time.

Because who wants to see “Coke bot” in print?

Even if my hearing went, I’d never hear the end of that.

Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.

Article source: http://www.madisonjournaltoday.com/archives/8134-OPINION-Talking-guitars-and-tinnitus.html

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New regs for Thursday: Smart guns, hearing aids, human exposure


Thursday’s edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for smart gun technology, hearing aids, and a human exposure assessment from the EPA.

Here’s what is happening:

Human exposure: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing new draft guidelines for its human exposure assessment.

The public has 45 days to comment.

Hearing aids: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is delaying new guidelines for hearing aids.

The FDA issued draft guidance for “hearing aid devices and personal sound amplification products” in 2013, but is now reopening the comment period to give the public more time to discuss.

The public has 120 days to comment.

Guns: President Obama is pushing new rules for smart gun technology. 

As part of the president’s executive action on guns, he is promoting smart gun technology in a memorandum that will be posted in the Federal Register.

“Developing and promoting technology that would help prevent these tragedies is an urgent priority,” the president wrote.

Article source: http://thehill.com/regulation/264905-new-regs-for-thursday-smart-guns-hearing-aids-human-exposure

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New regs for Thursday: Smart guns, hearing aids, human exposure


Thursday’s edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for smart gun technology, hearing aids, and a human exposure assessment from the EPA.

Here’s what is happening:

Human exposure: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing new draft guidelines for its human exposure assessment.

The public has 45 days to comment.

Hearing aids: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is delaying new guidelines for hearing aids.

The FDA issued draft guidance for “hearing aid devices and personal sound amplification products” in 2013, but is now reopening the comment period to give the public more time to discuss.

The public has 120 days to comment.

Guns: President Obama is pushing new rules for smart gun technology. 

As part of the president’s executive action on guns, he is promoting smart gun technology in a memorandum that will be posted in the Federal Register.

“Developing and promoting technology that would help prevent these tragedies is an urgent priority,” the president wrote.

Article source: http://thehill.com/regulation/264905-new-regs-for-thursday-smart-guns-hearing-aids-human-exposure

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Scientists Uncover New Clues to How Pitch Perception Evolved

Pitch perception is not a skill unique to humans, say scientists from Johns Hopkins University (JHU), where a recent research study reveals that marmosets, considered to be “ancient” monkeys, appear to use auditory cues to distinguish between low and high notes.

The study findings, as outlined in an article in the December 28, 2015 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), indicate that aspects of pitch perception evolved more than 40 million years ago to enable vocal communication and songlike vocalizations.

“Pitch perception is essential to our ability to communicate and make music,” said Xiaoqin Wang, PhD, a professor of biomedical engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, “but until now, we didn’t think any animal species, including monkeys, perceived it the way we do. Now we know that marmosets, and likely other primate ancestors, do.”

For the past 20 years, Wang has been studying the hearing and vocalizations of marmosets, which are small monkeys native to South America that are known to be highly vocal and social. Several years ago, Wang and colleagues identified a region in the marmoset brain that appears to process pitch. The research team found that nerve cells in that brain region only “fired” after marmosets were exposed to sounds with pitch, such as the shifting in high and low notes associated with a melody. These nerve cells did not fire after exposure to non-musical sounds. Human brains reportedly show similar activity in that same brain region, according to other studies.

Wang reports that, until now, there hadn’t been any behavioral evidence that the marmosets could perceive and respond to differences in pitch the way humans do. Wang notes that other animal species have been reported to show pitch perception, but none have shown the three specialized features of human pitch perception. First, people are better at distinguishing pitch differences at low frequencies than high. Second, humans are able to pick up on subtle changes in the spread between pitches at low frequencies or hertz, so they notice if a series of tones is increasing by 100 hertz each time. And third, at high frequencies, peoples’ ability to perceive pitch differences among tones played simultaneously is related to how sensitive they are to the rhythm, or timed fluctuations, of sound waves.

Wang’s laboratory team developed behavioral tests and electrophysiological devices designed to monitor subtle changes in the monkeys’ neural activity. Part of their work was to train a group of marmosets to lick a waterspout only after hearing a change in pitch. Through a series of hearing tests, with waterspout licks as a readout, Wang’s team determined that marmosets share all three features of pitch perception with humans, suggesting that human components of pitch perception evolved much earlier than previously thought.

The researchers propose that the humanlike pitch perception capabilities of marmosets may have evolved before the continents divided 40 million years ago and was maintained throughout primate evolution in Africa until it was inherited by modern humans. Another possibility is that only certain aspects of pitch perception were in place before this time, and the rest of the mechanisms evolved in parallel in Old and New World monkeys. According to Wang, more stringent tests are needed to determine whether existing Old World monkeys perceive pitch like humans do.

Source: Newswise; Johns Hopkins

Image credit: © Hein Schlebusch | Dreamstime.com

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Article source: http://www.hearingreview.com/2016/01/scientists-uncover-new-clues-pitch-perception-evolved/

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