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INSIDE Holistic hearing health Digital Eye Strain Communicating for success and much more... Spring 2019



Welcome to the latest edition of our magazine, bringing you all the news and insight from the Leightons Hearing and Optical teams. In this issue, you'll find some expert analysis and tips to help you get the most out of life this Spring.






ith so much political

audiology, including the honour

But we don’t just care for your

uncertainty currently

of working with Nelson Mandela,

ears – we look after your eyes as

swirling across both

and brings with her an absolute

well. That’s why we’ve also included

sides of the Atlantic, it has never been

dedication to supporting healthy

professional advice on how to

more apparent to me that we should

ageing and person-centred care.

protect your eyes from digital eye

be making the most of every day. With

You can find out more about her

strain, and guidance on myopia

what will hopefully be a beautifully

background in this magazine.

management to help look after

sunny Spring fast approaching, we want

young eyes too.

to help you do just that by making

This edition of Talking Points also

sure your hearing and vision are the

sees the launch of the latest hearing

We hope you enjoy this edition, and

best they can be, delivering the highest

aid technology from Oticon, the

we look forward to seeing you in

quality clinical service so you can live

innovators who brought us the

branch again soon.

your life to the full.

world’s first internet-connected hearing aid. Alongside this, we

We are delighted to begin 2019 with a new face leading our hearing team; Melanie Gregory has an incredible depth of experience in

explore the impact untreated hearing loss can have on an individual’s social life, as well as offering expert insight on how to

Ryan Leighton, CEO

boost your overall hearing health. LEIGHTONS |

talking points 3


e all want to grow old gracefully (or disgracefully). Whatever your style, you want to keep your hearing in peak condition. Here’s our must-read guide to maintaining the best possible hearing as we age.

The health of your hearing, like your eyesight, is linked to your general health and wellbeing. Having a hearing assessment should be treated in just the same way as having an eye test or a check-up at the dentist. The earlier we begin to look after our ears, the better your chances of keeping your hearing healthy as you get older. There’s one

The social side Missing a snippet of conversation here and there might not seem like a problem at first, but we’re all social animals. We like to be around other people, whether we’re discussing current affairs or guessing whodunnit in an onscreen murder mystery.

thing that should never hold you back: your hearing. It’s all too easy for anyone with hearing loss to stop The statistics speak for themselves, 42% of people over 50 suffer from hearing loss, rising to 70% by the age of 70. Our hearing sensitivity changes slowly over time, making it easy to miss the tell-tale signs: turning up the TV, missing

taking part in social gatherings. The enjoyment is lost if you can’t hear what’s being said. But when you relinquish all social activities, you run the risk of a much darker cloud: loneliness.

words in conversations, and often a reluctance to take part in social events.

“ It’s never been more important to get your hearing tested” Hearing loss can slip under the radar. Increasingly, it’s

Social isolation carries a real health warning. It’s not just a case of missing gatherings or yoga, real loneliness has the same health impact as smoking four cigarettes a day. People living with hearing loss are between two and five times more likely to suffer from depression, depending on the intensity of their hearing loss.

others around you who notice your hearing loss before

Hearing has now been identified as the most significant

you do. Take heed of what your loved ones are telling you.

modifiable risk factor for dementia (The Lancet, 2017),

If they suspect your hearing is getting worse, don’t dismiss

ahead of hypertension, obesity and lack of exercise. It’s

them – book a FREE hearing assessment.

never been more important to get your hearing tested.

4 LEIGHTONS | talking points

Get some exercise… You don’t have to be giving Mo Farah a run for his money to be healthy. A little exercise goes a long way, as long as it’s regular. Your ears, like most other body parts, will benefit from improved blood flow. Light exercise such as yoga and pilates can work wonders for both your physical and mental health. Introducing exercise at any time of life can place you on a positive health trajectory.

…and eat your greens!

The best thing to do is start by making small changes to your diet, this makes sticking to your new plan more realistic. • Keep yourself hydrated by drinking between 6 and 8 glasses of water a day • Making time to exercise is really important • Remember your 5-a-day, whether it’s fruit or veg

There are said to be three main factors influencing healthy ageing; staying active, eating healthily and participating in activities that make you feel positive. In an era of eat this, don’t eat that, it can be confusing to know if you’re on the right track, but eating a balanced diet does have a positive effect on your overall health. Registered Dietitian, Helen Bond, recognises how tough it can be to decide what types of food are best for your

• Where possible, choose wholegrain versions of carbohydrates • Lower fat, unsweetened dairy products (or dairy alternatives) are best • Try to include a protein-rich food in each meal (fish, eggs, chickpeas, etc.)

body: “There's no one type of food that can provide all the nutrients a body needs – so it's important that we eat a

• Limit foods which are high in saturated

wide range of foods. We should be eating more plant-based

fats and refined sugars, such as crisps,

foods: fruit, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and

takeaways and sugary soft drinks

starchy, fibre-rich foods taking centre stage in our diets, and eating less sugary, salty, fatty and processed foods.” She acknowledges how a balanced diet is the key to getting the most from our bodies: “It’s good for every part of the body including our brain, eyes, ears, heart, bones and skin, and is linked with protecting us against a wide range of diseases.”

BOOK A FREE HEARING ASSESSMENT Simply call us on 0800 0418 348 or request an appointment online at

Helen Bond is a freelance State Registered Dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association. She has 20 years' experience working in the NHS, in PR, within the media and across the food and pharmaceutical industries.


talking points 5



rom our phones to monitors at work, we’re addicted to digital screens. But how much damage is it really doing to our eyes? We take a look at a condition known as DES – digital eye strain.

A single plane of focus is to blame When you use a digital device, your eyes constantly move across the screen, shifting from the keyboard to the screen and focusing on the display. However, all of these tasks are at a fixed close-range distance. They also cause us to blink

Most of us spend an alarming amount of time in front of a screen. Whether you’re a spreadsheet warrior in the office or catching up on Netflix at home, the chances are your eyes are working overtime. As a result, you’re at risk of developing ‘digital eye strain’. But what exactly is this condition? Digital eye strain (DES) is a temporary change in visual function and comfort caused by prolonged focusing on a digital device. It’s similar to other repetitive stress injuries caused by carrying out the same activity over and over

less often. Maintaining a fixed close distance for long periods of time can stress the ciliary muscles in your eyes, leading to DES. Most people who work with screens regularly experience some form of eye trouble. It’s important to emphasise that looking at screens isn’t a problem in itself (although the blue light most screens produce has been shown to suppress or delay the natural production of sleep-inducing hormone melatonin)1. It's looking at a fixed distance and position that causes the strain.

again without taking breaks. 1

Lisa A. Ostrin. Kaleb S. Abbott. Hope M. Queener. Attenuation of short wavelengths alters sleep and the ipRGC pupil response. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 2017; 37 (4):440 DOI: 10.1111/opportunity.12385

6 LEIGHTONS | talking points

What are the symptoms?

Combating DES

If you have DES you might experience a range of

When you’re deep into the fifth season of the latest

other symptoms. Some of the most common include:

transatlantic TV sensation, the thought of taking a break

• Headaches

from the nerve-shredding tension may seem impossible.

• Dry or watery eyes

screen, your eyes will thank you.

• Redness in the eyes

There’s a simple rule to remember: 20-20-20. After 20

• Double vision

But, if you can manage to haul yourself away from the

minutes of screen viewing (the same goes for TV or computer screens), take a 20-second break and look at

• Vertigo or dizziness

something around 20-feet away. This quick optical exercise

• Blurred vision

your vision and your viewing pleasure. And don’t forget

• Tired eyes Beware of the goggle box

will keep your eye muscles fighting fit and protect both to blink too! It’s also important to keep hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is vital for overall optical health (and our general

Of course, it’s not only tablets and mobile phones that are

health), as is eating a balanced diet. Even the most

to blame. Most of us think nothing of coming home and

strenuous of box-set binging sessions requires rest and

relaxing in front of our favourite films, but the television

recuperation. Your eyes need time to recover, so getting

can also be a plight to the eyes.

a solid 7-8 hours of sleep is highly recommended.

The number one mistake we make is sitting too close to the telly. We don’t want to miss any on-screen action, but thanks to ever-growing TV screen sizes and high definition quality we don’t need to sit pupil-to-pixel. Remember, if

“There's a simple rule to remember: 20–20–20”

you’re seeking to prevent eye strain, space is your friend.

¨ 20 minutes' viewing

For a 40-inch TV, position yourself around 6-9 feet (approx.

¨ 20 second break

2-3m) from your screen. A 50-inch display will allow you to move slightly further back, to 7-11 feet (approx. 2-3.5m). Be pragmatic though – if you find yourself squinting at a

¨ 20 feet away

distant screen, or you feel you’re so close your eyes are straining, adjust your spacing accordingly.

BOOK YOUR ULTIMATE EYE EXAMINATION TODAY Simply call us on 0800 0418 348 or book an appointment online at


talking points 7

Hear speech clearly with discreet and rechargeable hearing aids

Positive Future & Oticon Launch

Introducing the new Oticon Opn S™ The biggest challenge for people with hearing loss is being able to thrive in noisy environments with many people speaking at the same time. Oticon Opn S is proven to give you even better speech understanding with less effort in noisy environments than the previous generation of Oticon Opn.* So now, you can thrive and take active part in difficult listening situations, just like people with normal hearing.**

Oticon Opn S™ hearing aids available from March 2019

For more Be the firstinformation to hear aboutvisit it, call us in branch and book a free trial. *Juul Jensen 2019, Oticon Whitepaper Oticon Opn S 1 **Juul Jensen 2018, Oticon Whitepaper Oticon Opn S 1. For people with typical hearing loss and well-fitted hearing aids, in noisy situations

Oticon Opn S – proven to make it easier on the brain. Hear better, remember more, with less effort.

8 LEIGHTONS | talking points

HOW LONG DO HEARING AIDS LAST? Hearing aids can do more than just help you overcome a hearing loss. They can help you beat loneliness and even ward off dementia. But they’re also a major financial investment, so it’s good to know how long they’ll be expected to last.

Our top tips to help you conserve battery life: • Double check the hearing aid is turned off when not in use. • Leave the batteries exposed overnight so any moisture can evaporate.

The lifespan of a hearing aid can be anything from three to seven years. Of course, this largely depends on the type of hearing aid you’ve been fitted with, the environment

• Be aware that smartphone or TV streaming functions can wear down batteries faster than normal.

that you’re exposed to, its build quality, and how it works with your lifestyle. If you’re a fan of a tiny in-the-ear hearing aid, you can expect to get around four to five years of use. You may get an extra year or two from a behind-the-ear aid, but it’s also important to consider your changing hearing abilities during that time.

Hearing aid battery life As a general rule of thumb, the smaller the battery, the shorter the lifespan. Based on normal use over

GREAT RESULTS WITH NEW HEARING AIDS Latest reports1 show that people with hearing aids:

• Are more than 85% satisfied with their new hearing aids.

• Wear their hearing aids for more

than 8 hours as the sound is natural.

a 16-hour day, a battery can last from 5 to 14 days, with a replacement being relatively simple to complete.

• Are less fatigued in group conversations.

Some hearing aids, such as the Oticon Opn, use

• Participate more easily in group settings.

rechargeable batteries. The hearing aid sits on a small


Ehima, 2017

stand on your bedside table while you sleep and is fully charged and ready to go the next morning. And if you forget to charge it, you can simply drop in a standard non- rechargeable battery.

TALK TO US If you would like to discuss the hearing aids you currently wear or book a FREE hearing assessment then call us on 0800 0418 348. LEIGHTONS |

talking points 9

We need to start thinking about our whole communication network… Everyone needs to be part of a social network – real or digital – from our close family and friends to those we speak to less often but still play a critical role in our lives: doctors, hairdressers, shop keepers and many more. These different circles of people form the structure of our lives, allowing us to grow and develop in good health and happiness. After all, where would the joy in life be without the emotional foundation our personal relationships give us to take on everyday challenges? If you have hearing loss, your communication partner plays a vital role in your life. They’re often the first to spot a hearing problem and are likely to be the ones encouraging you to seek medical help. They are also generally the first to adapt their communication style to keep the conversation going. After you, they’re also the most affected by your hearing loss. Their perspective really matters. You need to be sure they’re involved in your treatment or hearing rehabilitation and any related decision-making.

Managing communication in a variety of settings can be challenging If you develop hearing loss, the way in which you manage and keep up these relationships can be slightly different – and sometimes more challenging. Communication is key to maintaining healthy family relationships and friendships, and this becomes easier when you hear better. That is why the World Health Organisation (WHO) describes hearing loss as a ‘third-party disability’: the spouse or significant other also experiences more difficulty participating in social situations. You probably have a natural ‘communication partner’ in your life, usually your spouse or other very close family member or friend. Hearing loss can have a real impact on both of you, where repetition causes frustration, fatigue and a loss of those spontaneous, tender moments like sharing a joke or a whispered secret. This is one of the lesser known effects of hearing loss – but it’s important to acknowledge the impact it can have on both of you as you will both be working harder to have the conversation.

10 LEIGHTONS | talking points

Chatting among friends

What you can do

Group conversations can also become more complicated.

If you experience hearing loss, or you are in a relationship

You can often struggle to hear every word when there

with someone who does, there are some things you can do

are a number of people talking at once, or if there’s loud

to make your situation, and theirs, easier.

background noise. •  Empathise. Acknowledge the effort you both make In these scenarios your communication partner may

to ensure positive conversation and appreciate the

instinctively and helpfully act as your ‘ear piece’, doing

opportunity for this to actually deepen rather than

the listening and taking on more of the communication

damage your relationship.

responsibility; for example, by getting the conversation back on track if a misunderstanding takes place.

“ Loss of those spontaneous, tender, moments... like sharing a joke or a whispered secret.” Helping out to stay involved in conversation is a natural instinct but requires effort and can lead to fatigue. The WHO identifies the social impact of hearing loss as one of its most prominent consequences, explaining that exclusion from communication can cause feelings of loneliness, isolation and frustration. And this applies to the communication partner as well as the person with the hearing loss.

Did you know, people who bring partners with them: • Enjoy appointments more. Are more confident with •  technology and communication at home. Experience enhanced quality •  of life.

•  Identify the positive steps that promote easy conversation which work for you. • Involve your communication partner. Bring them along, provide them with the opportunity to describe their point of view and discover ways to enjoy conversation more together. • Seek advice, both of you. It’s also an idea to talk to your audiologist about how to have easier conversations (yes, there are tips and tricks that can make things that little bit easier). If you have hearing loss, make sure you consider your significant other and put them at the centre of the treatment process. It can make a real positive difference to your relationship, and to living a fulfilling life with hearing loss.

TALK TO US Request a FREE Hearing Assessment with one of our audiologists by calling 0800 0418 348 or visiting


talking points 11


ne in three people in the UK are short sighted (myopic). It often starts in childhood, but could a revolutionary new contact lens help slow the progress of myopia?

Myopia, or short sightedness, usually begins in childhood. It’s a common condition and rarely more serious than a simple inconvenience, but it’s also on the rise. In fact it’s increased in just 25 years, with the prevalence rising from 20% to 40% in the western world1. By 2050, half of the world’s population will be myopic. So why is it becoming more common? Scientists believe part of the reason is lifestyle - related: we’re all spending more time indoors in poorly lit rooms, glued to computer screens or reading books. Is your child or grandchild sitting very close to the TV or complaining of headaches or tired eyes, or are they constantly rubbing their eyes? These could be signs of myopia. Myopia usually starts to develop in children between the ages of 6 and 13, starting with mild short sightedness and gradually progressing to more noticeable levels as they get older. Medical guidance recommends children spend more time outside, in order to help reduce the chances of developing myopia. But with indoor distractions like games consoles, iPads and TVs, it’s not always easy getting the kids outside into the open air.

12 LEIGHTONS | talking points

What can I do about myopia?

Contact lenses for children

Glasses or contact lenses are the best way to help

Although you might not immediately think contact

reduce short- sightedness caused by myopia, but until

lenses and children are a natural fit, there isn’t a limit on

now there’s been no way to help slow its progress in

who can wear contact lenses. We regularly see great results

children. Lens specialist CooperVision has done just that

from young people fitted with contact lenses. What’s more,

by developing MiSight®, the first UK-licensed soft myopia

children who enjoy sports find contact lenses to be a safe

management contact lens.

and highly effective alternative to glasses.

It might seem like a long name, but these intuitive lenses

Interestingly, the eye size and ocular physiology of

are proven to slow the progression of myopia – to ‘manage’

a two- year-old are already similar to that of an adult.

myopia – for most children, and these daily disposable

This means there’s no real difference in fitting young

lenses are now available at Leightons branches.

children with contact lenses compared to teenagers or

Improving eyesight with MiSight® CooperVision, a US company founded in 1980, developed these innovative contact lenses using ActivControl™ technology. This delivers clear vision while also helping to slow the rate of myopia progression. MiSight® is a daily disposable lens as opposed to a lens replaced every 2-4 weeks, and can also help reduce the occurrence of eye infections and symptoms related

adults2. In fact, some studies have shown that children who wear contact lenses have an improved quality of life and self-esteem. Your optician will show you and your child how to correctly fit the contact lenses, and once you’re happy with the process, MiSight® can be safely worn for 14 hours per day, 7 days a week. You’ll find they fit the same way as any other soft disposable lens and the technique is easy to master.

to allergies. While myopia is rarely a concern in itself, it can lead to more serious eye complaints later in life. These include glaucoma, retinal holes and tears and central retinal degeneration (maculopathy).

Say hello to contact lenses At Leightons, our qualified optometrists can help you get to grips with comfortable contact lenses, whether for myopia management, for active lifestyles, sport, occasional wear or even multifocal contact lenses, we can help fit the right lens for you. Call us for a free contact lens trial on 0800 0418 348




talking points 13

What is your professional background? I am a qualified audiologist and speech/ language therapist. My dual qualification gave me insight into the real impact of hearing loss and communication loss. This is what underpins my interest in rehabilitative audiology and a personcentred or holistic approach to hearing care. Life started out in South Africa, I got my qualification from the University of Witwatersrand, then ran my own private practice, which was enormously interesting. During that time, I met Nelson Mandela and assisted him with his hearing aids. That was quite a defining moment in my professional life. He was an amazing, humble and truly wise man. He received his first hearing aids shortly before his first United Nations address, so there was a bit of pressure. I thought, ‘what if they don’t

MELANIE GREGORY Clinical Commercial Lead — Audiology

throughout life, and I am enormously interested in developing this understanding of holistic health across the lifespan within the Leightons group. Managing hearing and vision together makes good sense – for every line down the vision chart we go, the chances of having a hearing problem increase by 18%. There are certain groups where hearing and vision monitoring and care is of particular importance, for example, for those who have diabetes or vascular problems. It is both convenient and good clinical practice to ensure that eyes and ears are both taken care of in a seamless way for conditions which affect both eyes and ears.

work or don’t do exactly what they need to do at such

During my time at The Ida Institute, we focused much

an important point in his life and in the history of South

of our work on understanding the perspective of patients

Africa?’ It was a wonderful experience to meet him and it

and what is most important for them along their hearing

certainly highlighted the importance of the patient’s daily

care journey.

life perspective in clinical care. I had the opportunity to develop this person-centred perspective even further during my time at The Ida Institute, where I developed global collaborative innovation processes to enhance person-centred counselling methods and tools, together with colleagues from the international audiology community and The Ida Institute. One of the most important principles I learned is that all good innovation begins with empathy and this is particularly true when we talk about innovating clinical practice.

Why Leightons? The latest research is showing that healthy ageing is an emergent capacity across the lifespan, in other words

What are the most exciting innovations in hearing care and eye care at the moment? We are living in a time when the devices around us are becoming more intelligent, connected and linked to our health. As an audiologist, I am excited about the fact that the ear has pole position for health monitoring. New developments will include being able to monitor your heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels from your ear and these will probably be incorporated into hearing aid technology. Technology of the future will be able to detect what we wish to attend to during conversation, making it even easier to listen to important conversation whilst in noisy situations.

when we adopt a healthy lifestyle, maintain a positive

In addition, patients will have more autonomy in

attitude and keep fit, at any point in our lives, we can

assessing their hearing, monitoring how their hearing

increase our potential for health in our later years.

devices are working and adjusting their own hearing aids,

Sensory health – vision and hearing – are an important

indicating that we might be moving into a whole new era of

part of being able to grow, learn, participate and contribute

patient-driven care.

14 LEIGHTONS | talking points



OUR 10–MONTH PLAN Pay for your new hearing aids over a 10 month period, with an initial deposit followed by instalments paid each month by direct debit. There are no arrangement fees or hidden extras and if you want to settle your balance early, you can — with no extra charge.


If you would like more information about the Hear Now Pay Later plan or our Hearing Care Packages, then pop in for a chat, call us on 0800 0418 348 or request an appointment at



Peace of mind included At Leightons, our care doesn’t stop the minute you walk out the door. We’re here 6 days a week, 52 weeks of the year, so if you need some advice, or you want to talk something over, we’re always here to listen. For total peace of mind, we provide a 60 day 100% money back guarantee. All our next generation digital hearing aids come with a 3–5 year warranty and 3–5 years of free batteries. We understand that hearing aids can be a big investment. To help you spread the cost, ask about our Hear Now, Pay Later plan. Simply pay a 30% deposit and spread the rest into easy-to-pay instalments, interest free.

FREEPHONE 0800 0418 348


LEWES (Spectrum Eyecare)


MARLOW (Leightons Insight)


POOLE (Leightons & Tempany)
























WINDSOR (Leightons Eye Windsor)





FREE HEARING ASSESSMENT Good hearing starts with regular hearing health checks

Profile for Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care

Leightons Talking Points (Spring 2019)  

Talking Points brings you all the latest news from Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care. Inside you'll find out about holistic hearing health,...

Leightons Talking Points (Spring 2019)  

Talking Points brings you all the latest news from Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care. Inside you'll find out about holistic hearing health,...