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  McNeill Audiology Newsletters
  Winter 2016  
    Widex UNIQUE  
    News about mercury free batteries  
    Brent has retired  
    Hearing Research  
    Welcome to Chelsea Burdge  
    Big Band Bash for 2015   
  Summer 2015  
    History of Audiology  
    Unitron Goes â��Northâ��  
    Introducing Tara  
    McNeill Audiology Celebrates 20 Years of Better Hearing!  
    Seeking Sound Advice  
  Winter 2014  
    Hearing Aids: Volume Vs. Clarity  
    Normal Aging and Hearing Loss  
    McNeill Audiology -- proud sponsor  
    Favorite Sounds  
    Otoacoustic Emissions  
    News in Hearing Research  
  Summer 2014  
    News in Hearing Research  
    Protect your ears  
    New hearing aids? Questions...  
    A tour of the Ear  
    News in Hearing Research  
  Winter 2014  
    News in Hearing Research  
    Communication Strategies  
    Big Band Bash  
    Meet Your Audiologist  
  Summer 2013  
    Technology Update  
    Win a Free Box of Batteries  
    Changes at McNeill Audiology  
    Assisted Living Devices  
  Winter 2013  
    Hearing Aid Listening Programs  
    T-Dex from Widex  
    Changes at McNeill Audiology  
    Big Band Bash  
    BC Early Hearing Program  
  Summer 2012  
    Wireless Connections  
    Water resistant hearing aids  
    Hearing Apps for IPhones  
    Research Updates  
  Winter 2012  
    Widex Clear Fusion  
    Tinnitus Management  
    Smoking and Hearing Loss  
  Summer 2011  
    Technology Update.  
    News in Hearing Research.  
    Are Two Ears Better Than One?  
  Winter 2010
    Technology Update.  
    Sudden Hearing Loss.  
    Pardon Me?  
  Summer 2010
    Technology Update.  
    Hearing Loss is Common in People with Diabetes.  
    College of Speech & Hearing Health Professionals of BC.  
    Programming and Adjusting Digital Hearing Aids.  
  Winter 2009
    Technology Update.  
    Addressing High-Frequency Hearing Loss with Hearing Aids.  
    A Tour of the Ear.  
  Summer 2009
    Cochlear Implants.  
    Ear Wax.  
    Hearing Aids Get Better & Better.  
    The High Cost of Hearing Aids.  
Contact us
Victoria - 250.370.2833
Sidney - 250.656.2218
Hearing testing

  Widex Unique

Widex, 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.

  1. Quiet
  2. Quiet with speech
  3. Transport
  4. Transport with speech
  5. Urban
  6. Urban with speech
  7. Party
  8. Party with speech
  9. Music

Within each soundscape, different features of the hearing aid are turned on to different levels. The classifier in the hearing aid determines which sound class the hearing aid should switch to based on the incoming sounds.

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 activated.

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.


  Some Important News About Your Batteries

As 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 free.

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.


  Brent Has Retired

In 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 church.

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.


  News in Hearing Research

Our 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?

This 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 cogniive 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.

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

Collaborators 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.

Source: Rauschecker, et al. Frontostriatal Gating of Tinnitus and Chronic Pain. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 2015.

Our Unconscious Ability To �Hear� Distance

Sounds 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.

Source: Jaekl, et al. Audiovisual delay as a novel cue to visual distance. Public Library Of Science One. 2015.


  Introducing Chelsea Burdge

We 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.


  Big Band Bash

Once 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.


  20th Anniversary Celebration
  McNeill Audiology celebrated being in business for twenty years and expressed their appreciation to their clients and the community for those wonderful years with an event called 20 Years of Better Hearing that took place on Thursday April 23rd at the Greek Community Hall. Dr. Art Hister was the guest speaker. There was lots of great food, displays by hearing aid manufacturers and lots of fun.
  Big Band Bash
  McNeill Audiology is a proud supporter of the Island Deaf and Hard Of Hearing Centre, which is the only specialized social service agency on Vancouver Island that provides counselling and support services for people dealing with a hearing loss. This photo was taken at the Big Band Bash which was a fund raising event for the Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre. In the photo we have Denise Robertson, IDHHC Executive Director; Brent McNeill, Tricia McNeill, Mike Hayes IDHHC Board Chairperson; Patti Oâ��Connor, IDHHC Resource Development.
  Our Staff, Christmas 2012
  Left to Right:
Marilyn, Gwen, Emily, Margaret, Kristina, Edward, Tricia, Brent, Sarah, Katie
  Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Fundraiser Run
  We were pleased to be sponsor the Island Deaf and Hard Hearing run on May 6th. It was a gorgeous day with lots of smiling runners and walkers. McNeill Audiology had a good contingent of participants. I've included a photo of our group that walked or ran the 5k/10k course south of Michellâ��s farm on the beautiful Lochside trail. . . .

  Battery Disposal
  All batteries are potentially hazardous when disposed of in household garbage. Discarded batteries have been a cause of several recent fires at the Hartland dump. So what do you do when you're standing there with spent batteries you've taken out of your flashlight, your telephone or your child's toy? Well, now you can bring them to us and we will arrange for recycling. We are pleased to be a part of the federal call2recycle program of recycling batteries and cell phones. We have become a depot for this program, so along with your hearing aid batteries you can recycle all of the other batteries and cell phones that are prolific in our lives. They don't accept car batteries so other options have to be explored for those items. Just bring the batteries that you can carry in your pocket or purse.
  911 Emergency Services / Emergency Notifications Survey

Have you ever had problems accessing 911 emergency services or are you concerned about getting emergency notifications such as storm warnings or natural disaster alerts? Do you feel current technology is limiting your access to these services? Your opinions are important.

If you are hard of hearing and are interested in making 911 emergency services and emergency alerts better and would like to ensure these services meet your needs, then please take a few minutes to complete a survey at

Please take part in this survey if you are 18 years or older and are deaf or hard of hearing and live in Canada. As a thank-you for participating in the survey your name will be entered in a draw for a $200 gift certificate to The Bay.

For more information please contact the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association 604-795-9238 or 1-866-888-2442.

  Tinnitus Management
  During one of our last professional conferences all of our audiologists were pleased to receive training on how to manage the problems that ensue with tinnitus. This speaker, Dr. James Henry from the VA Medical Centre in Portland Oregon, has put together some clear cut coping strategies which seem to work. Now, there is no cure for tinnitus but we are cautiously optimistic about results of these strategies that focus on our reaction to tinnitus. The first step when assessing a tinnitus problem is to have an audiological evaluation which we do routinely. However, McNeill Audiology is pleased to be able to offer this additional program. Please call for further information and prices.
  Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Motherâ��s Day Run/Walk
  May 8/2011
  McNeill Audiology was pleased and honoured to be the presenting sponsor of the Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Motherâ��s Day Run/Walk, their annual fund raising event.

Brent said a few words during their awards/door prize session and emphasized that hearing aids are really improving and doing wonderful things but they don�t �fix� the problem. He cited an example of one client that told him at the beginning of a hearing aid fitting that if this didn�t work his wife was going to divorce him. Well that�s a tall order. Thankfully there are associations such as The Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre that provide services and support for people that are adjusting to hearing loss, to people who need further aids, lip-reading or sign language skills as well as (what the individuals in his example need to start with) information and support for families of deaf or hard of hearing individuals.

Pictured is the group of McNeill Audiology staff that walked or ran the 5k/10k course south of Michell�s farm on the beautiful Lochside trail.
  Mcneill audiology
  Schedule an appointment:
  Our friendly staff will be happy to discuss your particular needs and schedule an appointment with one of our registered audiologists.
  Victoria BC, location - 250.370.2833
  Sidney BC, location - 250.656.2218
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