Starkey HALO hearing aid is here


By Ryan Mathre on Mar 17, 2014starkey-halo2-ric


Here at Starkey, better hearing is our focus. For nearly 50 years, our research and design teams have worked tirelessly to create award-winning hearing aid technology that enhances people’s lives. Despite all of our hard work, we realize that only a minority of those who actually need hearing help actively seek out and receive it.

On March 31, we hope to change that with the introduction of Halo™, a Made for iPhone® hearing aid engineered to be compatible with iPhone, iPad® and iPod touch®.

Sold under the Starkey brand name, Halo combines Starkey Hearing Technologies’ superior hearing technology with iOS to deliver a revolutionary solution that makes every aspect of life better – from conversations to phone calls to listening to music. Halo will connect with the TruLink™ Hearing Control app, which is available as a free download in the App Store.

Together, Halo and TruLink deliver the most personalized hearing experience ever, and are designed to:

  • Stream calls from your iPhone directly to your hearing aids using Bluetooth® 4.0 wireless technology
  • Use your iPhone remotely to control your hearing aids
  • Deliver pristine sound and exceptional listening clarity
  • Help you hear comfortably in noise
  • Eliminate buzzing and whistling
  • Stream FaceTime®, music and more directly to your hearing aid

In addition to seamless integration with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, Halo hearing aids are also stand-alone hearing aids packed with Starkey Hearing Technologies’ best-in-class performance features including feedback cancellation, adaptive noise management and directionality.

For more information about the Halo hearing aid and TruLink technology platform, visit

Stay tuned to the Starkey blog for more exciting information on Halo!

By: Ryan Mathre

1 in 5 U.S. teens has hearing loss

1 in 5 U.S. teens has hearing

loss, new study says
Earbuds may be to blame for sharp rise in hearing loss since 1988, experts say


CHICAGO — A stunning number of teens have lost a little bit of their hearing — nearly
one in five — and the problem has increased substantially in recent years, a new national
study has found.

Some experts are urging teenagers to turn down the volume on their digital music
players, suggesting loud music through earbuds may be to blame — although hard
evidence is lacking. They warn that slight hearing loss can cause problems in school and
set the stage for hearing aids in later life.

“Our hope is we can encourage people to be careful,” said the study’s senior author Dr.
Gary Curhan of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

The researchers analyzed data on 12- to 19-year-olds from a nationwide health survey.
They compared hearing loss in nearly 3,000 kids tested from 1988-94 to nearly 1,800
kids tested over 2005-06.
The prevalence of hearing loss increased from about 15 percent to 19.5 percent.

Q&A: How loud is too loud?
Most of the hearing loss was “slight,” defined as inability to hear at 16 to 24 decibels —
or sounds such as a whisper or rustling leaves. A teenager with slight hearing loss might
not be able to hear water dripping or his mother whispering “good night.”
hearing loss.

Those with slight hearing loss “will hear all of the vowel sounds clearly, but might miss
some of the consonant sounds” such as t, k and s, Curhan said.
“Although speech will be detectable, it might not be fully intelligible,” he said.
While the researchers didn’t single out iPods or any other device for blame, they found a
significant increase in high-frequency hearing loss, which they said may indicate that
noise caused the problems. And they cited a 2010 Australian study that linked use of
personal listening devices with a 70 percent increased risk of hearing loss in children.
“I think the evidence is out there that prolonged exposure to loud noise is likely to be
harmful to hearing, but that doesn’t mean kids can’t listen to MP3 players,” Curhan said.

The study is based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
conducted by a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings
appear in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association.

Loud music isn’t new, of course. Each new generation of teenagers has found a new
technology to blast music — from the bulky headphones of the 1960s to the handheld
Sony Walkmans of the 1980s. Today’s young people are listening longer, more than
twice as long as previous generations, said Brian Fligor, an audiologist at
Children’s Hospital Boston. The older technologies had limited battery life and limited
music storage, he said.

Apple iPod users can set their own volume limits. Parents can use the feature to set a
maximum volume on their child’s iPod and lock it with a code.

One of Fligor’s patients, 17-year-old Matthew Brady of Foxborough, Mass., recently was
diagnosed with mild hearing loss. He has trouble hearing his friends in the school
cafeteria. He ends up faking comprehension.
“I laugh when they laugh,” he said.

Fligor believes Brady’s muffled hearing was caused by listening to an iPod turned up too
loud and for too long. After his mother had a heart attack, Brady’s pediatrician had
advised him to exercise for his own health. So he cranked up the volume on his favorites
— John Mellencamp, Daughtry, Bon Jovi and U2 — while walking on a treadmill at least
four days a week for 30-minute stretches.

One day last summer, he got off the treadmill and found he couldn’t hear anything with
his left ear. His hearing gradually returned, but was never the same.
Some young people turn their digital players up to levels that would exceed federal
workplace exposure limits, said Fligor. In Fligor’s own study of about 200 New York
college students, more than half listened to music at 85 decibels or louder. That’s about as
loud as a hair dryer or a vacuum cleaner.

Habitual listening at those levels can turn microscopic hair cells in the inner ear into scar
tissue, Fligor said. Some people may be more predisposed to damage than others; Fligor
believes Brady is one of them.

These days, Brady still listens to his digital player, but at lower volumes.
“Do not blare your iPod,” he said. “It’s only going to hurt your hearing. I learned this the
hard way.”


Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

Content is from the Healthy Hearing. com website October 2013 issue.

Tinnitus is often described as “ringing in the ears” and is the medical term to explain the perception of sound in one or two ears when no sound is actually present. According to a national health study performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 50 million individuals in the United States suffer from tinnitus to some degree. Nearly one-third of them find it so debilitating they seek medical attention for the ringing in their ears.

While there’s no proven cure for tinnitus, by better understanding the symptoms, causes, relief and related illnesses, it is possible to develop treatments to help ease or block out the ringing-in-the-ears sensation.
Symptoms of tinnitus
Described as a ringing-in-the-ears or fullness-of-the-head sensation, these are the two most common symptoms of tinnitus in an individual. The noise can range from a ringing, buzzing, hissing or whizzing sound and can change from a soft pitch, to a higher, louder frequency. Additionally, tinnitus can impact one or both ears and can remain constant or come and go. In more severe cases, the ringing in the ears is loud enough to interfere with daily activity, whereas individuals with mild cases of tinnitus experience a lower, duller sound.

Individuals with tinntius may experience discomfort or anxiety.
Tinnitus is commonly seen in adults, but can affect individuals in any age group. In addition to perceiving a noise that doesn’t exist, individuals with tinnitus may experience discomfort, lack of sleep and an inability to live life due to the condition. Anxiety also is a common symptom of tinnitus, as it can sometimes interfere with work or other stressful situations. Individuals with tinnitus also may complain of hearing clicking or sharp sounds; rushing or humming noises or continuous low-pitch noises.
Causes of tinnitus
With so many individuals suffering from tinnitus, it’s important to investigate what causes the ringing sensation. While many cases of tinnitus still remain undiagnosed, there are some common causes which are known to aggravate the condition:

Age: Around the age of 60, your hearing tends to worsen. This slight loss of hearing can cause tinnitus, which is referred to as presbycusis.
Loud noise exposure: Being exposed to loud noise on a regular basis from heavy equipment, chain saws or fire arms are common causes of tinnitus. However, anyone can have common exposure to loud noises by listening to music in headphones on a regular basis or attending live music performances frequently.
Unhealthy habits: Researchers are not entirely certain why, but drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, eating certain foods and consuming caffeinated beverages can play a role in tinnitus.
Common ailments: Having anemia, allergies, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, circulatory problems, diabetes and an underactive thyroid gland are all medical conditions that can lead to tinnitus.
Relief from tinnitus
Often individuals with tinnitus view their suffering as a commonality, a part of everyday life. Because many cases of tinnitus aren’t severe enough for people to seek medical treatment, they turn to finding relief in common, nonmedical varieties. While many of these vary from person to person, there are some remedies known to help ease the ringing in the ears sensation.

Many people find improving their health overall helps comfort tinnitus symptoms. This means controlling your blood pressure, reducing stress and decreasing caffeine consumptions. Because some of these items stimulate your body’s systems, it’s also possible that these encourage tinnitus to flare up as well.

Individuals also try to follow relaxation techniques to help cope with and balance the tinnitus symptoms. These types of relief involve muscle relaxation and visualization.
Treatment for tinnitus
Because there’s no proven cure for tinnitus, doctors have worked over the years to develop treatments which help make tinnitus easier to ignore or relives some of its symptoms. Noise suppression devices are commonly used to help combat the ringing-in-the-ears sensation. A masking device is worn in the ear and produces a constant, soft noise to reduce the ringing or whistling feeling in the ear. Hearing aids also are used as tinnitus solutions. These train wearers to not focus on the tinnitus sounds.

Another treatment option is called tinnitus retaining therapy and is designed to teach the patient to ignore the background ringing noise in the ear. Often a white noise generator is used and creates environmental sounds so override the tinnitus sounds.
Meniere’s Disease
Meniere’s disease isn’t directly connected to tinnitus, but often individuals with this condition experience many symptoms or temporary ringing in the ears. Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disease that typically only affects one ear. This disease can cause pressure or pain in the ear, severe cases of dizziness or vertigo and a ringing or roaring noise. While Meniere’s isn’t fully understood yet, it appears that several relief options for tinnitus also assist individuals with this disease. Caffeine consumption should be decreased, in addition to salt intake, and stress should be reduced.
BPPV, or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, is a common form of balance disturbance that originates in the inner ear. Individuals suffering from BBPV, sometimes referred to as “positional vertigo,” can experience a brief, but intense spinning sensation that generally occurs when they get out of bed or turn their head too quickly. Fortunately, BPPV is usually the result of a head condition and only lasts for a few short days, resolving itself once the body has returned to normal. BPPV can have a high recurrence rate, so a physician may be able to recommend positions, exercises and therapies which can help reduce the likelihood.
Many people don’t realize the organ which helps us balance is located in the inner ear and it partners with other systems in the body to allow us to remain stable and retain our sense of balance. Dizziness happens when there is a deficit in the balance organ in the inner ear, the visual system, the muscles and joints in the body or the brain centers that tie them all together.

Dizziness related to the inner ear is one of the most common types and it results from disturbances in the blood circulation or fluid pressure in the inner ear, pressure on the balance nerve or physiologic changes in the balance nerve. The dizziness can feel similar to vertigo or can make an individual feel nauseated or sick to their stomach.

Treatments for dizziness can vary depending on the cause, but can usually be subsided with dietary or lifestyle changes, medication or retraining therapies.

Reference: ATA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions, American Tinnitus Association,

What is single-sided deafness?

Wednesday, June 26th 2013  (Reposted from Healthy Hearing . com)

Single-sided deafness is the complete loss of hearing in only one ear, which is more often than not, a permanent ailment. Although single-sided deafness cannot be cured, there are plenty of options available that will help to restore the sensation of hearing in both ears. Some people are born with the hearing loss, while others may experience it as a result of a different health condition or their environment. Most commonly, people who are affected by single-sided deafness are between the ages of 35 and 54.


Single-sided deafness is caused by a number of conditions, all of which will lead to different reactions in the ear.

  • Physical damage to the ear
  • Pressure on the nerve
  • Inner ear issues: A viral or bacterial infection can create sudden hearing loss in one ear
  • Tumors in the brain or ear: The presence of an acoustic neuroma or benign tumor may lead to damage to the auditory nerve, causing an individual to experience a complete loss of hearing.
  • Severe Meniere’s disease: Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that typically creates issues that cause a feeling of pressure, ringing in the ear (or tinnitus), or a sense of unsteadiness. Since this will generally affect just one ear, it could lead to single-sided deafness.
  • Head injury or trauma: Trauma to the head can cause a fracture in one of the ear’s bones and damage to the auditory pathway.
  • Circulatory system disorders
  • single-sided deafness, bone-anchored hearing aids, hearing loss


The general conditions of single-sided deafness differ from person to person, but it will cause an overall sense of unsteadiness. People will typically have difficulty comprehending which direction sound comes from, and may even experience a sense of not hearing from one direction at all, which is known as the head shadow effect. Individuals with single-sided hearing loss will also have trouble with deciphering background noise from a targeted sound.

Treatment options

A contralateral routing of signal hearing aids (CROS) or bone-anchored hearing aids(BAHA) can transfer sounds that come through one ear into the other to create a balanced auditory sensation.


These types of hearing aids can be used as a wired or wireless device. The instrument consists of a receiver and another unit that has a small microphone, which is placed in the deaf ear. The receiver goes in the other ear so that when the sound goes through the microphone system, it is amplified in the normal ear. This makes it possible for users to hear noises from both sides of their heads.


Bone-anchored hearing aids are a newer alternative that involves a titanium implant in the bone behind the deaf ear. This device is used to process sounds that would normally go through the deaf ear, and it sends them though the skull bone. Then, the user can hear sounds from one side to the other, allowing for balanced hearing. This system is worn by approximately 15,000 people worldwide and has been used as a very successful treatment in Europe since the late 1970s.


Consult your audiologist and ENT for what is right for you.

Can allergies cause hearing loss?

Can allergies cause hearing loss?

Wednesday, June 12th 2013

With warmer winter patterns across the country and heavy spring rains, plants have more potential to produce pollen into the air to trigger allergy symptoms. Some allergy sufferers will experience runny noses and itchy eyes, but others may feel pressure in the ear, a ringing sensation in the ears or vertigo during this season.

Allergies and hearing loss

When the immune system reacts to an allergen, it produces antibodies that release histamine. This is what is responsible for your sneezing, itchy nose and congestion. The histamine causes an increased amount of mucus production as well, which can create problems in your ears. In particular, the Eustachian tube, which is a drainage passage for the middle ear, can become clogged.

“Typically, allergic patients have complained of a symmetrical hearing loss and a sense of fullness or pressure,” Dr. Michael Jones, of the Hearing Health Center told Medical News Today. “In most cases the hearing test shows a slight hearing loss and a tympanogramshows reduced mobility of the tympanic membrane. That means the middle ear has become inflamed.”

Types of hearing issues

Fullness: During allergy season, there can be excess fluid in the ear that creates a pressured or clogged feeling, which can impact your ability to hear correctly. This is because the fluid presses against the eardrum to cause discomfort.

Conductive hearing loss:  Conductive hearing loss is curable, but it makes it temporarily difficult to hear faint noises and often creates a reduced sound level. This type of hearing loss occurs when sound waves cannot properly flow through the ear and into the tiny bones of the middle ear. Having excess fluid or ear wax is a plays a major role in this type of hearing loss because sound cannot properly travel to the cochlea.

Allergies can also cause a fluctuating level of fluid in the ear, which can make you able to hear at some times while others can be difficult. Other common causes of conductive hearing loss include swimmer’s ear, the presence of a foreign body or benign tumors.

Ear infections: It should come as no surprise that with allergies comes the risk of infections. As there is increased moisture in the ear from fluid, bacteria are able to thrive more easily and cause a middle ear infection. If you experience regular middle ear infections, there is a possibility it could lead to tinnitus or hearing loss.

Increased allergens can also clog the microphone ports in hearing aids. Replacing the covers of microphone ports is an easy fix, and you should also make sure to maintain cleanliness of your device.

For people experiencing hearing loss or tinnitus during this season, it is likely that the symptoms will subside as allergy triggers dissipate. However, it is usually best to visit your audiologist to make sure that your issue is does not need long-term treatment.


Posted from healthy

What is misophonia?
Melissa Breyer Thu, Oct 25 2012 at 6:02 PM

Chomping and lip-smacking are annoying to many, but for people with misophonia, such simple sounds can breed panic and extreme rage.
We all have noises that drive us to distraction. A recent study of unpleasant sounds found that a knife on a bottle is the most bothersome noise known to man. The most annoying sounds fall into particular frequency ranges that may actually cause physical pain and thus we find them intolerable. But what about soft and subtle noises — chewing, humming, even breathing — that drive some people to violence, while others barely notice?

Welcome to the world of misophonia. The recently recognized condition describes people who have strong reactions to the ubiquitous sounds of everyday life. Poorly understood, the condition (the name of which means hatred of sound) usually begins in late childhood and worsens over time. Trigger sounds, everything from mouth and nasal noises to pens clicking to the creak of floors, can create a “reflexive emotional flood of rage and panic with a storm of fight-or-flight reactions becoming paramount. Adrenaline flooding, face flushing, heart-pounding and/or shaking and the need to physically flee or attack are often experienced,” according to, a website dedicated to the condition.

No one knows exactly how many people are afflicted with the condition, but after the New York Times wrote about misophonia, people started speaking up about their experiences, including talk show host Kelly Ripa, who suffers from it. “If my husband eats a peach, I have to leave the room,” said Ripa.

The support organization Misophonia UK notes these key facts:

The age of onset is often around 10-12.
The “trigger” sounds that tend to be most difficult are connected with eating and breathing.
The reaction starts with the sound (or some aspect of the sound) and often develops to include actions associated with the sound and even anticipation of those actions.
The closer the sufferer is emotionally to the “trigger” person, the more offensive the sound tends to be.
The reaction is experienced most commonly as extreme rage.
The trigger sound can create an overwhelming fight or flight response in the sufferer, so they experience a desire to do extreme violence to the maker of the sound, or to escape the vicinity of the sound at all costs.

People suffering from the condition are often misdiagnosed with phobic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or bipolar, manic, and anxiety disorders. Experts say the condition is something people probably are born with and is probably not an auditory disorder but more likely a physiological glitch in parts of the brain activated by sound.

As of now there is no known cure or treatment. In an attempt to cope with misophonia, individual strategies include earplugs, eating in isolation, white noise generators, prescribed medications, hypnosis, cognitive behavioral therapy and other therapies. There are a number of online support groups, and even fact sheets and letters to help sufferers explain to friends, family or health care providers and legitimatize the condition.

That it is now recognized as a legitimate condition should help validate those who suffer from it. It is hoped that future research will lead to treatment. Until then, if the sound of chewing gum puts you on the brink of violence, know that you’re not alone. And likewise, if your child starts shying away from family dinner and cringing in response to a sibling’s humming, check the symptoms and triggers list and proceed accordingly.

For more information and support, visit and