Widex Unique - McNeill Audiology



Widex Unique - McNeill Audiology
Nineteenth Edition
Winter 2015-16
Widex Unique
by Katie MacDonald, M.Sc., Aud (C) Registered Audiologist
idex, one of the major hearing aid manufacturers, has just
launched it’s newest hearing aid technology called the
“Unique” platform. The new chip platform has increased
capabilities that are designed to help clients hear and understand conversations in most listening situations. The new computer chip is able to
process a wider range of sound input to the hearing aid, has a new way
of decreasing soft level unwanted noise, and a better way of detecting
and decreasing wind noise. Widex’s goal is to have loud sounds be comfortable, to have conversational speech sounds be both comfortable and
intelligible and to have soft sounds audible.
During the seven year
process Widex spent
developing the new computer
chip, researchers recorded a
number of different listening
situations that people were in
and they found that listeners are truly unique with their types of listening situations. However, the researchers also found that these different
listening situations, or ‘sound scapes’, have their own characteristics
and certain listening situations can be grouped into the same sound
class. They classify most of the sounds into 9 different sounds classes, or
‘soundscapes’. Therefore, you will find 9 different sound classes in Widex
Unique hearing aids:
1) Quiet 6) Urban with speech
2) Quiet with speech 7) Party
3) Transport 8) Party with speech and
4) Transport with speech 9) Music.
5) Urban
Within each soundscape, different features of the hearing aid are turned
on to different levels. The classifier in the hearing aid determines which
Continued on page 2 . . .
For Hearing Solutions
McNeill Audiology
1463 Hampshire Road
Victoria,BC V8S 4T5
Tel: 370-2833
5 - 9843 Second Street
Sidney, BC V8L 3C7
Tel: 656-2218
[email protected]
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Widex Unique continued . . .
from page 1
sound class the hearing aid should
switch to based on the incoming
The hearing aid changes the sound
class automatically depending
on the sound input into the aid.
This means that the client wearing
the hearing aid does not have to
make any adjustments. However,
because it is a computer chip and
not the human brain, you are still
able to make some adjustments.
Instead of strictly a volume control, there is now a ‘preference
control’. When you decrease with
either a remote control or the
hearing aid, the volume of the
hearing aid is turned down, but
also other features which help to
make things more comfortable are
activated. If it is turned up, then
the volume will increase. As well
the features that are responsible
for detecting speech will be more
The Unique computer chip is part
of a line of hearing aids with different levels of technical features
with different prices. Please contact your audiologist for further
information on Widex’s newest
hearing aid product line. q
Some Important News About Your Batteries
by Chelsea Burdge, M.Sc., Aud (C) Registered Audiologist
s of December 31st, 2015, all button cell batteries produced, including hearing aid batteries,
will be required to be mercury-free to follow
new Government of Canada legislation. The packaging
also has to clearly state that the batteries are mercury
The environmentally friendly transition to mercury-free has already begun, which means a change to how you use your batteries. Hearing aids
use zinc-air batteries, which are activated by oxygen that hits the battery’s
air holes when you peel off the protective sticker. One important thing to
know about these mercury-free batteries is that it takes approximately two
minutes for the battery to “charge up” after you remove the sticker.
Earlier this year, an eighth grade hearing aid user and his audiologist
completed a study to determine how “wait time” after peeling off the
sticker impacts battery life. They found that waiting a full five minutes
after peeling off the sticker increased battery life by 80%! We recommend
that all hearing aid users try this out to see if you can prolong your battery life. If you do not have that kind of time, waiting about two minutes
is sufficient.
Rather than taking the hearing aids out and then taking off the battery
sticker and waiting for it to “breathe”, we suggest that you leave the aid
in your ear while you peel off the sticker, wait a few minutes, and THEN
take the aid out and insert the new battery. That way, if you are out and
about, you won’t have to miss out on conversations while waiting for your
battery to “charge up”. Please contact your audiologist if you have any
questions about the change to hearing aid batteries. q
Brent has Retired
n January of 2015 Brent retired
from the field of audiology, a
career that he loved. A retirement
party was held for him at St. John’s
United in late August.
Teaching and supporting the profession of audiology were important to Brent but the most cherished memories from his career
are the connections with his clients
and being able to assist them with
their hearing.
Retirement for Brent means more
time with his friends, children and
grandchildren, more time in his
garden and with his banjo, and
more time to volunteer with his
All of the audiologists at McNeill
Audiology were mentored by Brent
and handpicked to work with us.
He is therefore confident that his
clients will receive the best hearing care possible during his retirement. q
News in Hearing Research
by Edward Storzer, M.Sc., Aud (C) Registered Audiologist
ur latest update in the hearing sciences includes a new study that suggests hearing aid use can potentially reduce cognitive decline, the latest findings in tinnitus research, and an interesting study about our unconscious
ability to “hear’ distance.
Can Hearing Aid Use
Reduce the Risk of Cognitive
Decline Associated with
Hearing Loss?
his October, Neuropsychology and Epidemiology
Professor Helene Amieva from the
University of Bordeaux, France
published results from a 25 year
longitudinal study that measured
cognitive decline in older adults
with hearing loss that do or do not
use hearing aids. Results showed
hearing loss in adults above the
age of 65 was associated with
lower scores on a test of cognitive function independent of age,
sex and education. However, the
study found that subjects with
hearing loss that used hearing aids
had no difference in rate of cognitive decline than subjects without
reported hearing loss. This study
indicates potential benefits of
wearing hearing aids on cognitive function, and calls for further
research in this area. q
Source: Amieva, et al. Self-Reported
Hearing Loss, Hearing Aids, and
Cognitive Decline in Elderly Adults:
A 25-Year Study. Journal of the
American Geriatrics Association.
October 20, 2015.
Advances in Identifying the
Mechanisms of the Brain that
are Responsible for
Tinnitus and Chronic Pain
ollaborators from the Technical University of Munich and
Georgetown Medical Center have
carried out research that claims to
have identified defects in the brain
that lead to tinnitus and chronic
pain. They have identified areas
of the brain that normally act as a
‘gatekeeping system’ to control our
perception of external and internal
sensory stimulation. They explain
that these mechanisms can lose the
ability to control noise and pain
signals long after the initial injury
occurred. They describe tinnitus and chronic pain as common
and real perceptions that occur
when the brain cannot effectively
‘down-regulate’ the sensations.
They suggest that identifying these
mechanisms should aid in developing therapies to restore proper
function of these gatekeeping
controls. q
Source: Rauschecker, et al. Frontostriatal Gating of Tinnitus and
Chronic Pain. Trends in Cognitive
Sciences, 2015.
Our Unconscious
To ‘Hear’
ounds travel more slowly than
light. Therefore, we will often
see events before we hear them.
Researchers from the University
of Rochester have discovered that
our brain can detect sound delays
and estimate distances of nearby
events, even though these delay
times are too short to be consciously noticed! These findings
show us that our auditory brain is
good at unconsciously recognizing
sound patterns that can help us in
a useful way in our perception of
distance. q
Source: Jaekl, et al. Audiovisual delay as a novel cue to visual distance.
Public Library Of Science One. 2015.
Chelsea Burdge
Presenting Sponsor
e are thrilled to introduce Chelsea Burdge, our
newest audiologist with McNeill
Audiology. Chelsea comes to us
with a UBC Masters of Audiology degree and experience in
Nunavut, servicing people of all
ages in the Baffin Island region.
For Chelsea, audiology is the
perfect combination of working
hands-on with amazing technology while also helping people
with their health.
We met Chelsea when she completed one of her clinical externships with us while attending
UBC. She is happy to be back at
home in Victoria, where she and
her husband love to spend time
enjoying and exploring the wonderful West Coast. She is passionate about providing the best
possible service to people with
hearing loss and looks forward
to meeting you. q
nce again it was a privilege and a pleasure to sponsor the Big Band
Bash, organized by the Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre as
their primary fund raiser for
the year. The Island Big Band,
the Swiftsure Big Band and
the Commodores Big Band
graciously donated their time
and music and a great time
was had by all. q
Amanda &
Mary & Edward
Mary & Edward
The swing
lesson was
with some
of our staff.
Chelsea & Tristan
Dwayne & Tara

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