Starkey Hearing Innovation Expo's are always amazing and inspirational learning events. The events are designed to invigorate the hearing provider community to fulfill our mission of helping people hear better in the best possible way.
The events are very large, with over 3,000 attendees from over 40 countries, and are held in Las Vegas, NV. Keynote speakers range from Astronauts and neurologists to former US presidents and Super Bowl champions. Speakers this year included:
Here are a few of the behind the scenes pictures we took from our phones along with details for each one.
Here we are, Chrissy and Sean from Pure Sound with our Starkey reps, Michelle and Carrie from Starkey.
Bill Austin, Starkey Founder, is an inspiring philanthropist who share the following with us:
George W. Bush and Tony Blair, Former US President and British Prime Minister
These former heads of state spoke of leadership during tough times, as well as other topics. They were very entertaining and provided many insights, such as the importance of a leader having a vision and sticking with it. It was an unbelievable experience to see these two historic individuals in person.
George Blankenship, Executive at Apple, Tesla, and Gap
As an executive at Gap Apple and Tesla, George Blankenship reported directly to Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. He spoke about the importance of constant product improvement and delighting your customers along the way. His speech was both informative and invigorating.
Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO, LinkExchange Founder, New York Times best selling author, and Harvard Grad
Tony has led the effort to revitalize downtown Las Vegas. He spoke about the importance of community involvement and the best ways to get involved. He also spoke about “delivering happiness” to the customer by creating a great company culture.
Daymond John, FUBU founder, co star of ABC's Shark Tank, and Starkey hearing device wearer.
Against all odds, Daymond John built a $5 billion global fashion powerhouse from his mother's house in Hollis, Queens. He shared insights from his all-American journey and how to achieve your goals.
Dr. Michio Kaku, World famous Theoretical Physicist, and TV personality.
Dr. Kaku provided insight into Artificial Intelligence and how it will completely reshape our world in the very near future.
Captains Mark and Scott Kelly are American astronauts and identical twin brothers. They gave us an inspirational talk about the importance of teamwork and determination.
They both struggled in flight school, but were determined to overcome their deficiencies through hard work and practice. They not only became attack and fighter pilots, but went on to become astronauts.
Additionally, one brother commanded and piloted the space station while the other has logged the most time in space.
Condoleezza Rice, Former U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice has a long list of accomplishments. She served as the 66th U.S. Secretary of State, the second woman and first African American woman to hold the post. She was also the first woman to serve as National Security Advisor. She is currently professor of Political Science at Stanford University, and was voted the most powerful woman in world by Forbes.
Dr. Rice grew up in segregated Birmingham. Alabama. She spoke about how her parents attitude and motivation helped her overcome obstacles. She also spoke about American exceptionalism and how American businesses, like Starkey, are naturally inclined to help those in need around the world.
Dr. Rice also made the following point:
Michael Strahan co-hosts ABC’s Good Morning America and serves as an analyst for Fox NFL Sunday. He is an Emmy winner and Super Bowl Champion.
He was here to talk about attitude. He shared the following points:
Chrissy, our Pure Sound Specialist from Mount Joy, being interviewed on camera about Starkey’s new products and this year’s expo.
Brandon Sawalich is the president of Starkey Hearing Technologies. He hosted the expo and spoke about Starkey's future, as well as the bright future of the hearing technology industry.
Dr. Achin Bhowmik came to Starkey from Intel, where he was vice president of Perceptual Computing. He joined Starkey because he felt he could apply his experience with enhancing machine perception to augment the human experience through hearing devices.
Dr. Martin McKinney, Starkey Principal Research Engineer, and Chris Howe, Senior Software Product Manager, explain how new aids will use machine learning algorithms to improve hearing aid performance.
In this classroom training we learned:
Carol Olson, from Starkey, spoke about the importance of the human experience with a hearing professional compared to the over the counter approach to fitting hearing aids. Studies show human interaction is required for better outcomes across the medical industry. Starkey is committed to supporting hearing device providers with the best resources and training so Starkey wearers have the best hearing experience possible.
Dr. Sara Burdack, Au.D., Starkey's Chief Audiology Officer, lectures on how to best facilitate the collaboration of healthcare providers and patients, when the provider is considered a colleague or advisor.
In this lecture we discussed the best ways to help the digitally empowered patient:
Lisa Richards is in charge of the customer experience at Starkey.
She shared key insights on the keys to delivering a great customer experience.
We learned so much from this event and were honored to be invited. Starkey is a company with a soul and truly care about their providers and those who are fit with their devices.
If you are interested in finding out more about how Starkey Hearing Technology can help you or a loved one, please contact Pure Sound today.
Some of the negative stigma surrounding hearing aids and their use is based on the fact that hearing aids were once bulky items that would squeal or squeak in the wearer’s ears. This squeaking or whistling is known as feedback.
Fortunately, today’s technology is much more appealing cosmetically and significantly more sophisticated in terms of managing feedback than prior generations of hearing devices.
What is feedback?
Acoustic feedback occurs when the amplified sound from a receiver re-enters the amplification system through the microphone and is amplified again. While most feedback tends to sound like a whistling, the actual sound can vary from a hum to a piercing screech.
Can feedback be managed?
Yes! Most current hearing aid technology offers a feedback management system that makes whistling a thing of the past. The system is typically run during the initial fitting process or any time a modification or repair is complete.
At Pure Sound Hearing Aids, we pride ourselves on offering industry-leading feedback management systems. We use a complex system of phase cancellation to identify possible situations where feedback may occur, and create a signal opposite in phase to eliminate that feedback. (“Phase” refers to the up and down movement of a sound wave.)
In addition to the feedback management systems present in today’s technology, your hearing professional can also make changes to your hearing aids’ output and gain (amplification), which can be beneficial in the elimination and prevention of feedback.
However, there are situations in which feedback may occur for reasons outside of the device itself.
Possible causes of feedback
(1) Hearing aid fit/seating
When a custom hearing aid or the earmold/dome does not create a proper seal within the ear canal, sound may be able to leak out and become re-amplified. In this situation, a different acoustic option may be most the appropriate solution.
Other times, the receiver may be misaligned with the path of the ear canal, causing the sound to hit the wall of the ear canal. This creates a potential for feedback. In this case, a remake or deeper earmold impression may be the most appropriate fix.
Earwax or cerumen can also create a potential for feedback. If the sound is unable to effectively travel to the eardrum because it’s blocked by earwax, it may bounce off the cerumen and be re-amplified. It is important to have regular earwax management in place if one is prone to wax build-up when using amplification.
Feedback is no longer an issue.
Many of today's high tech hearing aids have come a long way from the hearing aids your parents or grandparents wore. The ability to eliminate feedback is just one of many benefits that Pure Sound hearing aids now provide. Experience these benefits for yourself by asking your hearing professional for a demonstration of the latest technology.
A hearing aid is a small electronic device that is typically worn in or behind the ear(s) to assist with and improve hearing, speech understanding, communication, and overall quality of life. All hearing aids, regardless of style or size, have the same basic components: a microphone, an amplifier, a receiver and a battery. Together, these parts make sounds louder and clearer to the user. Let’s break down these key components
Every hearing aid has four key components
The first major component or part is the hearing aid microphone, which picks up sounds from the surrounding environment and converts them into electrical signals.
Next is the hearing aid amplifier. The hearing aid amplifier increases the overall power or loudness of the signals received from the microphone. Specialized filters and equalizers modify the sounds, so that only sounds relevant for the user are amplified.
The third basic component of a hearing aid is the receiver, also known as a speaker. It converts the electrical signals from the microphone into acoustic signals heard by the user.
The battery serves as the power source for hearing aids. Hearing aids typically require special batteries that come in a variety of sizes. Hearing aid batteries typically last between 5 to 14 days. Battery life varies depending on the battery size, needs of the user, hearing device, complexity of the user’s listening environments, amount of usage and more.
Many hearing aids have these common parts
Depending on the size and style, some hearing aids may have additional parts. These are typically decided upon and ordered with the clinician, based on the user's lifestyle, needs, hearing loss, etc. Some examples of these are: an earmold, ear hook, an air vent, a volume control, a memory control, a telecoil, and a wax guard.
This is a clear plastic attachment that connects to the device and loops over the top of the ear. The ear hook attaches the hearing aid to the tubing. This part can only be found on Behind-The-Ear (BTE) devices.
An earmold is a custom in-the-ear piece that is attached to the hearing aid in order to help contain the sound within the wearer's ear. A custom earmold is made from an impression of the ear, taken by the clinician. Whether someone needs an ear mold is a decision best made with your hearing professional.
This is a hole that goes all the way through a custom hearing aid or earmold. It allows for airflow in and out of the ear to help prevent infection and the felling of a plugged-up ear.
Wax Guard (ex. Hear Clear)
A wax guard is a small filter that catches the earwax, preventing it from getting into the electronic components of the hearing aid. Ask your hearing healthcare provider if you have questions about how often to change your wax guard (Hear Clear).
This allows the user to adjust the loudness of sounds. This switch or button is not available on all styles of hearing aids and may not be desirable for all hearing aid users. Note, many hearing aids today offer volume control via a mobile app or wireless accessory.
A memory control allows the user to switch between memories that have been pre-programmed into the hearing aids for a variety of environments. A switch or button control feature is also not available on all styles of hearing aids and may not be desirable for all hearing aid users. Note, many hearing aids today offer memory control via a mobile application or wireless accessory.
A telecoil (sometimes called a t-coil) is a small magnetic sensor offered in some hearing aids. T-coils allow hearing aids to directly connect to different sound sources, like a telephone or public address system. In some specific situations, a t-coil offers sound quality improvements over a traditional microphone allowing the hearing aid user to hear the desired signal more easily, particularly in environments with background noise.
In properly equipped venues, t-coils can permit a hearing aid to act as a personal loud speaker for a public sound system.
A hearing professional will ensure you get the right hearing aid for your needs
Remember that the key to hearing aid satisfaction is not the device alone but working with a professional you trust to help you choose and fit the right hearing aid for your unique needs. To find a Pure Sound hearing aid professional near you, click here.
We took a took a few minutes off to watch the eclipse yesterday... it was too irresistible to stay inside.
1954: Phonophor Epsilon
Lighter than a tennis ball, as small as a matchbox.
Shortly after the first pocket hearing aids were introduced, Siemens added a new model to its product range; one that was even smaller and only weighed about one-fourth as much. The Phonophor Epsilon weighed only about 50 grams (less than two ounces), including the batteries, and was the size of a matchbox. This was made possible by a discovery just a short time before that has gone on to become a fixture of our everyday lives — transistor technology. Along with reducing the size and weight of hearing aids, the shift from sub-miniature tubes to transistors brought many other advantages. These new developments helped push the Epsilon, which was designed especially for moderate hearing loss, into becoming the top-selling Siemens hearing aid in Germany and abroad within a short time.
Phonophor Epsilon, 1959
Sub-miniature tubes represented an important step towards ever-smaller hearing aids. But few years would go by before they were replaced by a revolutionary new technology: the transistor. Development began on the transistor in the 1920s by many different researchers, most of them working independently. Transistors were ready for series production in 1954. Used as amplifiers, transistors offered advantages similar to those of sub-miniature tubes, while outperforming them in many respects.
Siemens developed the Phonophor Epsilon, a fully transistor-based hearing aid distinct from others of its kind, starting with outward appearance. The Epsilon was much smaller than devices that used sub-miniature tubes. Its light weight was immediately apparent when held — it was lighter than a tennis ball and weighed noticeably less than earlier hearing aids. This leap was made possible primarily because of transistors’ low power needs. Older hearing aids had to devote about half their size to a battery, but the Phonophor Epsilon managed with just a button cell. Transistors not only made the Phonophor Epsilon compact and energy-efficient they also further enhanced sound quality, especially in the upper frequency range.
A newly-developed microphone contributed to this. Unlike older crystal microphones, the new model from Siemens was also based on a transistor, one that absorbed sound and converted it electromagnetically. The transistors brought with them a practically unlimited lifespan. They were impact-resistant and they did not have any cathodes that could age, or filaments that could burn out. The Epsilon even stood up to extreme temperature fluctuations — from high temperatures in the summer to bitter cold in the winter — better than older pocket hearing aids. For areas with especially hot climates, Siemens developed an even more rugged version, the Phonophor Epsilon Tropic, which delivered the same excellent performance at temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit).
The power of electrons – right in your vest pocket.
Better performance with lower use of power, less noise, and no distortion at high frequencies. As early as the 1920s, great strides were made in amplifier technology, and the many advantages electron tubes had over conventional electrical sound amplification became clear. Even with these advances, the engineers of the time had not yet invented a way to manufacture small, portable tubes that could be used for hearing aids. It was not until World War II and the postwar period that sub-miniature tubes were developed, allowing for lightweight, compact hearing aids that encapsulated the benefits of the new technology in a form small enough to fit in a vest pocket. Siemens made this giant leap in hearing aid technology with the Fortiphon and Phonophor Alpha pocket hearing aids.
Electric hearing aids based on telephone technology began to reach their limits, especially when greater amplification was needed. High frequencies are hugely important for voice transmission, but they presented particular limits for the existing technology. Higher amplification was especially an issue when conventional carbon microphones were used — voices sounded louder, but they were distorted. The combination of sub-miniature tubes and crystal microphones solved this problem while also making it possible to build smaller and more powerful hearing aids. In the late 1940s, Siemens was the distributor for the Fortiphon, a pocket hearing aid based on this technology. The company then developed the similarly designed but even more powerful Phonophor Alpha.
Before World War II, a company named Fortiphone was responsible for selling Siemens hearing aids in the UK. Starting in 1949, the roles were reversed for a short time. With Siemens selling the Fortiphon — a pocket hearing aid with sub-miniature tubes and a crystal microphone — on the German market. The sub-miniature tubes developed in the U.S. and in England were not yet available in postwar Germany. Not long afterward, in 1951, Siemens launched its own first hearing aid of this type: the Phonophor Alpha.
Both hearing aids benefited from the advantages of the new technology. The three powerful electron tubes used as amplifiers were each about half the length of a wooden matchstick. Equipped with a crystal microphone, these devices delivered significantly clearer sound quality. This was especially apparent at high frequencies, which are key to faithful reproduction of consonants and whole syllables. The Phonophor Alpha had more than 250 parts, but still weighed in at just 175 grams (a little over six ounces) including batteries, and it was almost as small as a pack of cigarettes. Dubbed “pocket hearing aids,” the Alpha and the similarly compact Fortiphon slipped easily into a vest pocket and could even be worn under clothing.
Another factor that helped make these hearing aids more discreet was their skin-tone earpieces, which were connected to the unit via a cord in the same color. Various sizes of earphones were available. If the wearer’s ear canal varied greatly from the average form, an impression could be taken in order to produce a custom-fitted earpiece. The Phonophor Alpha was also specifically designed to be easy to use. A tiny dial was used to turn the device on and off and adjust the volume, and a flat slider on the side of the housing could be used to adjust the two frequency responses to the desired tone.
It’s no surprise that hearing and hearing loss have been the focus of numerous research and scientific studies. Hearing is, after all, vital to our quality of life, and hearing loss affects millions of people worldwide.
Over the past two decades, studies have determined that hearing loss is linked to a host of health issues, including increased risk of falls, hospitalizations and dementia, as well as impaired memory, mental fatigue and even shorter lifespans.
Parallel studies, though, have shown that treating hearing loss can help — by reducing the risk of cognitive decline, improving balance, and helping people stay physically and mentally active.
Hesitation to get hearing aids has many negative health consequences and should be treated early. If you or a loved show signs of hearing loss, such as playing the TV too loud or saying "what" too often, call for a hearing consultation. It may be time to consider hearing aids.
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Yesterday morning, David Gotschal from Phonak stopped in to help us set up a lunch and learn class in July for the general public. Phonak will sending one of their industry experts to our Elizabethtown office to discuss the in's and out's of hearing and hearing loss. If you or a loved one have, or may have, a hearing loss, this would be a great opportunity for you.
We will be posting more information as we have it. Reservations will be required due to limited seating, so if you are interested in attending, stay tuned!
Last evening we were invited to a training event in Harrisburg to learn about the new, made for iPhone, Signia Pure 13 BT primax star hearing aids. This is a great choice for iPhone users! Here are some of the highlights:
At Pure Sound, we train tirelessly to offer the best line of hearing aid products available. Rest assured that we will be able to help you choose the best product on the market for you. We invest countless hours in the art of programming these sophisticated devices to make sure we have the ability to perfectly match your hearing loss levels and lifestyle.
Plenty of factors can contribute to fatigue, like lack of sleep or exercise. But did you know hearing loss also plays a role? It’s true, and has to do with “cognitive load.”
Cognitive load refers to the amount of mental effort being used in the working memory: the short-term memory used to plan and make decisions. Hearing loss forces the person to “steal” finite working memory to make sense of speech and other inputs throughout the day. This load is even greater in noisy environments.
The additional effort puts stress and anxiety on the listener, resulting in a rush of adrenaline and muscle tension that can lead to feeling “drained” or physically tired at the end of the day.
Beth, from Phonak, stopped by our Elizabethtown office yesterday to show off some of their latest products. Phonak makes the world's only titanium hearing aids. Yes, titanium! They are the most durable hearing aids on the market and we are now certified to make custom fit titanium hearing products right here at Pure Sound.
Phonak also offers the best hearing aid charging system on the market. The aids charge in only 3 hours and the charge lasts for 30 hours, plus the battery is designed to last the life of the hearing aid. No other product can make that claim. In fact, many rechargable batteries barely make it through the day without needing recharged.
In honor of better hearing month, Beth has given us several discounts that we can pass along to you. $500 off any custom made titanium hearing aid set or a free battery charger with the purchase of any set of rechargable hearing aids!
Phonak has been making hearing aids for 70 years now and they are on the cutting edge of technology. We love them!
The biggest causes of hearing loss are exposure to noise and natural aging. However, certain drugs and medications have been linked to hearing loss and tinnitus, too. Use of these “ototoxic” medications, if not managed properly, can result in permanent or temporary damage to the cochlea or auditory nerve:
Siemens expanded hearing aid production after the huge success of the first Phonophor models. The aids were produced at Berlin’s Wernerwerk plant. New speaker and microphone technology made the new instruments easier to use and sound better. The new Phonophor was also smaller and lighter. Demand increased beyond Germany and several thousand units were being sold annually in the U.S. alone.
“You don’t have to suffer from hearing problems anymore! Try our Phonophor electric hearing aid, approved for years by many hearing loss patients. Now with an earphone that has been significantly improved after extensive testing and research.”
In 1924, an optional microphone amplifier was launched for those with especially severe hearing impairments. Starting in 1928, the metal microphone casing was replaced with a new type of plastic, called Bakelite, that reduced the weight. Siemens hearing aid consultants of the time had many of the same responsibilities as today's hearing aid providers. They helped consumers choose the right model, get used to hearing well again, and explained how to use it.
Werner von Siemens built a telephone which dramatically improved voice quality in 1878. This telephone demonstrated that people with hearing loss could understand speech much better if signals were electrically amplified.
In 1911, Louis Weber used this improvement as the basis to design the first Siemens hearing device. It was named the the Esha-Phonophor. This product was made for a single person, but demand grew quickly, leading to full production in 1913.
The "Esha", as it came to be known, had several variations. One version included a special option for ladies, with the microphone and battery housed in a purse.
This marks the beginning of Siemens hearing aids long and successful history. Siemens hearing products have become the gold standard in the industry.
Pure Sound Hearing Aids is an Advanced Partner with Siemens Hearing Aids. We offer every level of technology (no more purse option though) and service them all. If you would like to try the latest version, please contact us today.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Diseases or disorders that limit the transmission of sound through the outer or middle ear may cause conductive hearing loss. This hearing loss can usually be treated medically or surgically. In some cases, a hearing instrument is also indicated and can provide sufficient hearing improvement.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss affects the inner ear or neural pathways. In this case, sound is transmitted through the outer and middle ears, but the inner ear is less efficient in transmitting the sound. This type of loss usually occurs due to damages to the hair cells or to the fine nerve endings inside the cochlea. This leads to reduced perception of sound intensity and quality. This type of hearing loss is usually compensated with a hearing instrument that amplifies sound to overcome the decrease in hearing sensitivity.
Combined Hearing Loss
Combined hearing loss is the simultaneous occurrence of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, which is also referred to as mixed hearing loss. Treatment options for this type of impairment include both medical intervention and hearing instruments.
If you suffer from hearing loss, contact us for a free consultation.
Everyone takes their hearing for granted until they start having difficulty understanding normal conversations or detecting sounds of differing frequencies. Many times, you are not even aware your hearing is impaired because hearing loss happens so gradually and unobtrusively. It slowly worsens over the years without producing any perceptible symptoms.
For some seniors, it may be hard to admit they are having difficulty hearing. Age-related hearing loss is especially difficult to come to terms with. Wrinkled skin can be smoothed by injections, and laser-assisted body sculpting can give you a youthful figure. Hearing loss due to aging, however, is irreversible.
Hearing Loss and Seniors
First of all, be aware that people over 65 are a stoic group of people who lived in a time when admitting you had physical issues was a sign of weakness.
Many seniors may also think hearing aids are big, bulky devices that are uncomfortable and protrude visibly from the ear. They may not have taken the time to investigate today's tiny, microchip hearing aids — some no bigger than a dime. So be patient and compassionate when you bring up the subject of hearing loss for the first time.
If you encounter resistance, wait until the moment arises when their hearing loss is evident — during a conversation, when watching television or even when driving. You might consider explaining that the inability to hear could lead to them losing their driver's license, failing to hear a train whistle or not hearing their home fire alarm go off when they are watching TV at a loud volume.
Reassure them that hearing loss happens to just about everybody, and it's nothing to be ashamed of. Let them know you are concerned about keeping their quality of life as high as possible and genuinely want them to enjoy every minute of family and holiday gatherings. Once you've gotten them talking about their hearing loss, bring the subject of hearing aids into the conversation by showing them images of the latest hearing aid models.
Help for Parents Losing Hearing: State-of-the-Art Hearing Aids
Types of hearing aids include behind-the ear, mini behind-the-ear, in-the-ear and completely-in-the-canal. In addition, there are analog hearing aids that amplify all sounds by making consecutive sound waves louder. Some are programmable to allow for various listening environments. Digital hearing aids improve hearing by converting sound waves into digital sound signals that accurately duplicate the actual sounds. Hearing aids equipped with directional microphones can also help your parent engage in conversations in noisy environments.
To find the perfect hearing aid for your parent, contact us today, and we'll be happy to help.