Friday, 26 November 2010

Let it Snow....

Quietish week, snow falling as I type.

Success in getting DS to move to a Moxi 3G from her Fuse/Alera: seems to be much better with the BTE aid and is happy that the occlusion 'clicking' is gone. The fact that the face-plate had detached on the fuse and she didn't appear to be getting much usable gain from the Alera is probably only part of the story.

Found out yesterday about the efficacy of the CENS noise plugs for those wearers with tinnitus who continue to shoot. If you turn them right up, you'll still have tinnitus. I suppose it's obvious to anybody from the outside, but there you go. Plan B might involve putting a set of cans over the top, but we'll see how the user does with just setting the volume control on about a quarter. He did say though that he reckoned his hearing was about the level of an Arctic Wolf, before firing a shotgun repeatedly next to his head.

Resound Be still causing failure issues. Not all the same variety though. Some are outright sensitivity issues from ingress at the receiver port, some receiver/output problems where the circuit just seems to go to white noise then off. Some seem to be related to the mic contacts on the  battery door. They have to do something about this for the customers. It's not right that a company can make such a poor hearing aid and get away with it.

Ah well, back to salting the pavements......

Friday, 19 November 2010

Colder and wiser?

Looks like the weather and the economy is still keeping people at home, though there's some movement. Other markets don't seem quite so depressed, posting on seems to be as keen as ever, with positive reviews on the Phonak Spice and the Resound Alera.

I'm still battling to get much sense out of Resound,  which is a real shame, as the Alera seems well worth the money.

Mrs T's Tandem CROS appeared to go ok at her initial fitting,  but there are a couple of motivation issues to deal with. Like any CROS fitting, the mental plasticity and attitude of the wearer push the actual technology out of the limelight. We'll see how it goes.

First fittings of the Moxi 3Gs have been a bit of a success. Wearers reporting much 'brighter' performance than the old Moxi. The Udirect/UTv link has been a bit of a success too. This is surprising as the original uptake of the Udirect was relatively poor, however, having a proper 'docking station' sitting on the TV has resulted in a place-holder which people seem to equate much better with. Issue's with the 3Gs: one is the receiver configuration, which renders my older receiver stock redundant, except for replacement units on the older Moxi. Second is the socket location, which quite frankly is poor.

I'm in the process of writing-off the Fuse as a practical option in my fitting repertoire - they simply have too many reliability issues, as well as the 'splitting' issue.

Also fitting Mr. R with a new Widex M220-19, semi-soft moulds. Existing Widex user and I didn't really want the 'fight' over changing to another brand. Should be ready to run with moulds from next week or so. We'll see how the newer Widex product stacks-up against his Senso.

Monday, 8 November 2010

A bit later this week....

....due to our Open Days at the centre.  Cawl was well received by everybody and there was quite a  bit of interest, despite being let down at the last minute by a couple of reps.

Unitron have launched their Udirect based UTV system, which looks like a docking station for the bluetooth device. This is handy as it gives the system a fixed charging location in people's houses as well as maximising the potential from the bluetooth based TV feed.

We fitted a new Moxi 3G Latitude16  to an existing customer as an upgrade from a binaural Yuu. This seems to have gone down a treat, but he's having to wait on the delivery of the TV dock which is meant to be 10 days away. He seems to like the initial performance of the aids though and had no problem in pairing the U-direct with an I-Phone 4Gs.

Unitron were also keen to get a Tandem 16 CROS onto one of our customers who has a long standing perforation with effusion. (Mrs MT) She's due to be fitted next week to placate the her ENT specialist who is unhappy about her occluding the perf'd ear.

Fuse failures are dogging the process a little, especially since Sonova accounting doesn't seem to understand the principle of holding stock. Getting twatty about the account, when the stuff is unsaleable due to repeat return failures is just not on. Hopefully Chris/Nic. will sort this out, otherwise I'll be looking for a different supplier again.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Halloween Week

......And so the rains came, no sign of Noah yet but all the customers seem to have taken the same hint.

Mrs DS has settled with her Fuses after a bit of inital concern. Seems like the shape of her post- operative ear canal was the root cause. The new bullet domes appear to have put this one to bed, not only because they allow the receiver to sit farther in, but also due to the improved seal with the variation in the closed versions, rather than one tulip size fits all. Only slight tricky issue was a failed faceplate (again!).  It's a crying shame that nobody can produce a decent standard ITC that doesn't fall apart, rip or get blocked full of wax.

Starkey full shell fittings seem to have stuck despite some initial concerns with the users. Starkey's vc is still the most incredible thing out there - you tell the software to disable it, yet it still turns the aid on and off. Hopefully the Welsh speaking aid will pacify one wearer. (Mr GT) In his particular case he's struggling somewhere between his hearing and other types of degeneration - the original oversize VC proved too much to deal with. Fortunately his program changes are audible to the 'helper' so he can be set in either 'normal' program un or choir/music program dau.

Resound Be are still dying in use - Mrs EP is on her third swapout - possibly going to be happy with a fuse as an alternative, but I'd prefer her to stick with a working Be 7 as it is one half of a pair. Resound appear to have collectively disappeared up their own fundament, with the exception of sending out some Alera (sans TV-link) I haven't heard a sausage from them since Hearbuy.

Open week next week to drum up lots of trade, no doubt. Though they'll probably only want the free Cawl.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Spice-Spice Baby,

Yeah, it's here, it's good and it's expensive. There are three separate zoom functions built into the full blown Ambra product with less in the watered down V and III Audeo S Mini. The Stereozoom is a very powerful function all made possible by the paradigm shift of true binaural synchronisation. My main concern would be the difficulty of some (rich) customers being able to identify which zoom suits which situation the best. It's going to suit a button-presser, but not somebody who wants the aid to do all the work.
Is it enough to start using Phonak again? we'll see if we've got any takers on the Open week in November. Phonak are really pushing the smaller form factor too, it's all part of their plan to take over the world: no doubt. Target fitting software is now out there - seems OK - bit less messy than iPFG.

In other news, a couple of  ITE in the form of Starkey S5 for less dexterous and demading customers are in the pipe-line: one of these has already been fitted and a pair are sitting on the desk for next week. Starkey's turnaround times are shorter than it takes Widex to receive an aid in the post - sort it out Jon.

Rob Davies is pushing AIHHP membership as a credible alternative to the party-politik of BSHAA, might be worth a punt for the Hearbuy discount, but that may get soaked up on the socialising........

Friday, 15 October 2010

Shooting plugs and shooting (kayak course) assessors.

After my Kayak coaching assessment on the weekend, it's nice to get back to the mundane stuff again.

Puretone have pulled their finger out of their bottoms this week, by getting some CENS II flex to us within a month of ordering - unfortunatley they look nothing like the picture in the flyers, which is what the client was expecting. They seemed to work ok though. HOWEVER - the fitting kit received with them was fantastic, big box of wipes, auragel, dessicant container and lots more goodies. As a bonus, they also throw in a free replacement acrylic speech filter module, to use should the electronic one need servicing.

Two more Unitron Fuse failures this week, another torn LHS with failed receiver and one with an inverted gore-tex mic cover, which didn't cause any problems initially, but basically killed the aid as soon as there was a smear of moisture or wax. Hopefully these issues will diminish or it looks like I'll be getting out of the crossover products when the next batch is finished. Which is an utter shame, especially when people like the concept and the sound (as in the Be), but we are being let down by the execution.

Customer issues this week have been fairly limited, some handling and insertion technique for Mrs DS with her new fuse (tip selection/feedback issue too). Nicola McMahon was on site to assist, though she can't take the battery doors off with her fingers.......

It's generally quiet here on the Manufacturer front as they are all doing their thing in EUHA. I'm really surprised that we haven't seen more activity from Resound on the Alera, but there you go.

Anyway, Phonak launch Spice range next Friday, so we'll be seeing the new Ambra product combined with the new Target software. Perhaps there's be an option for a different 'mainstay' product. Possibly a RIC from them.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Short week this week.

Away on a canoe course on Thursday and Friday so not a lot to report.

Mrs SJ now getting on really well with the Fuse despite her initial reluctance and preference to stay with the Be. Slight management issue regarding mobile phone use and settings pushed up a fraction to nearer full description.

Mr VW has returned the fitted fuses, preferring to try out Siemens Life BTE from Amplifon across the road. I was going to offer an Alera 61 instead, but if he's going to try to play off one dispenser against another, he can deal with the sound from the Siemens by himself.

We'll see how they get on.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The difficult 2nd post.

Current clients are largely happy with the Fuse as the default proposition for mild/moderate newbies with large enough canals to accomodate it. We've lost three or four with material failure issues usually starting at the inside curve face at the joint between soft and hard materials. Other issues appear to be mic blockage, though no more than any other cic. It's a shame that unitron appear to be dropping their support for the product, but that leaves a opening for a decent replacement.

Mr. VW asked for the first Aleras today, I reckon people can deal with the BTE idea better if they are getting more functionality out of it. As long as it works better than the other Resound products, it will make sense to move in this direction. Just as long as it's not another Be..........

Mr. CD has a low freq. SN drop over two years, it's bilateral so not obvious TIA or trauma. He's off to see the GP with his results.

RIC receiver issues seem to be climbing a bit, though not dramatically possibly down to last year's volume dispensing on Moxi. However thin-tube fittings seem to be bullet proof apart from the odd bit of plastic pulling apart.


Friday, 24 September 2010

First nonsense.

Barry said we had to do something like this, so here it is.

Despite informal entries on hearing aid forums and the RNID website over the years, it's now come to that time when we're supposed to keep a formal log of reflective practice so that the HPC can scrutinise our professional development.

This will appear over the forthcoming weeks on these pages.