remote health monitoring device

Nigel Whittle, Head of Medical & Healthcare, features in Health Tech Digital this week.

We are all only too aware that early detection is absolutely key to improving the survival rates of serious illness and disease, never more so when it comes to cancer and other life-threatening conditions. But how can developments in tech and healthcare devices catapult this critical part of our wellbeing into useful reality?

To read the full article click here.

WHO World Hearing Day is held on 3rd March every year to raise awareness on how to prevent deafness and hearing loss and promote ear and hearing care across the world.

This year the theme is the importance of early identification and intervention for hearing loss. It is a fact that many people live with unidentified hearing loss, unaware that they are missing out on certain sounds and words.

The WHO’s key messages are that:

  • Everybody should check their hearing regularly, especially those who are at a higher risk of hearing loss.
  • Services for early identification and intervention should be made available throughout the health system.
  • To address this issue, on 3rd March WHO will launch a free app, hearWHO, that allows people to perform a basic test on their hearing. Although simple, the WHO app is based on validated digits-in-noise technology. This app allows the general public to check their hearing status and monitor it over time, clearly displaying users’ results in a personalized record of hearing status.

The HearWHO app will help:

  • Raise awareness of the importance of hearing.
  • Encourage people to monitor their hearing regularly and practice safe listening.
  • Allow community health workers to check the hearing status of patients.

 

world health organisation, WHO, hearing loss app, WHO app

Plextek Strongly Supports WHO World Hearing Day

Plextek has a long-standing interest in detection and diagnosis of all forms of hearing loss, and in particular Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) and tinnitus.

Innovative technology under development by the company could soon have a far reaching impact on the early diagnosis and treatment of a variety of debilitating hearing disorders. Existing systems used to detect hearing disorders are currently restricted for use within clinical environments and are therefore only used during intermittent health checks or when patients are already experiencing advanced symptoms.

Plextek’s technology works by accurately monitoring subtle changes to ‘Auditory Evoked Potentials’ (AEP) – a signal sent from the brain by an acoustical stimulus that measures an individual’s auditory ability level. It has been demonstrated to reliably detect the early signs of tinnitus – well before a person would become aware of the symptoms.

Integration of Plextek’s solution into commonly used consumer headphones removes the clinical barrier and can play a game-changing preventative role, particularly benefitting those within high-risk environments such as loud noise environments, the military or music venues. By syncing with a smartphone app the technology could also be used to alert the wearer to a potential problem and encourage them to seek out early medical help or take preventative action.

Key Facts about Hearing Loss

  • Around 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss, and it is estimated that by 2050 over 900 million people will have disabling hearing loss.
  • Hearing loss may result from genetic causes, complications at birth, chronic ear infections or infectious disease, the use of particular drugs, exposure to excessive noise, and ageing.
  • 1.1 billion young people (aged between 12–35 years) are at risk of hearing loss due to exposure to excessive noise in recreational settings.
  • Unaddressed hearing loss poses an annual global cost of US$ 750 billion, while interventions to prevent, identify and address hearing loss are highly cost-effective.
  • People with potential hearing loss benefit from early identification and diagnosis.

 

To coincide with World Hearing Day on the 3rd March 2019 – Plextek are pleased to announce we are Founder Members of the UK Hearing Conservation Association (UKHCA), which aims to be a credible, independent source of information, providing practical advice and solutions to common noise and hearing problems inside and outside the workplace.

About the UKHCA:

Our mission is to prevent damage to our Nation’s hearing health and to reduce other noise related health conditions by promoting practical, evidence-based and cost-effective solutions. The UKHCA has been established to provide impetus for action against wholly preventable hearing health harm, both at work and across our society.  Our experience has shown that the approach to managing work related noise is often based on outmoded ideas and there is a general lack of knowledge about or respect for our hearing and how it can be harmed.

Why hearing health is such a problem:

Disabling hearing loss currently affects more than 10 million people in the UK and the problem is growing.  By 2031 it is anticipated that 14.5 million people in the UK will have a hearing loss.

Over 1 million workers in the UK are exposed to noise that puts them at risk of hearing damage.  In addition, an increase in social and leisure noise exposure, particularly for younger generations, and an increasingly ageing working population means that more people will exhibit signs of hearing impairment in our workplaces.

Recreational hearing loss is also on the rise primarily as a by-product of rapidly increasing headphone use.  The risk to the hearing of individuals who work in high ambient noise environments and who also wear headsets escalates dramatically, through additional exposure received recreationally at live events or using headphones to listen to music.

  • Hearing impairment results in high personal, societal and economic costs.
  • Hearing loss has a significant effect on communication and may result in exclusion and disadvantage in education, employment, social care and public life.
  • Hearing loss substantially increases the risks of accidental injury.
  • Hearing loss has been shown to increase the risk of developing dementia by up to 5 times.
  • Hearing loss impacts labour productivity and economic growth, costing the UK an estimated £18 billion in lost productivity and unemployment annually.
  • The UK insurance industry is currently paying £70 million per year in hearing related claims and there has been a substantial increase in the number of claims for noise induced hearing loss in recent years.

Who are the UKHCA?

The UKHCA are a group of passionate and experienced professionals from across a variety of disciplines and associations, brought together to provide a unified and coherent approach to tackling noise and its effects.

Follow us at;
Website; http://hearingconservation.org.uk
Twitter; @uk_hearing
LinkedIn; https://www.linkedin.com/company/uk-hca/
#loveyourears

Dr Nigel Whittle, Head of Medical & Healthcare here at Plextek featured in ‘Tomorrow’s Care’ magazine this week.  He discusses how different technologies are being adapted in many different aspects of care, and how this is reshaping the delivery of care.

To read the full article click here.

For more information, contact Nigel via nigel.whittle@plextek.com