Hearing Aid Batteries

Without batteries, your hearing aids would be unable to function. To keep your devices running as smoothly as possible without interruption, there are a few things you need to know about hearing aid batteries. Most drugstores carry replacement batteries, but they can also be purchased from your audiologist or ordered online.

Most hearing aids use disposable zinc-air batteries that are color- and number-coded for easy replacement. The type of battery needed depends on the style and size of your hearing aids, and includes 5 (red), 10 (yellow), 13 (orange), 312 (brown) and 675 (blue).

Zinc-air batteries require oxygen to produce power. They come with a protective seal on the back. Once this is removed, oxygen enters through tiny holes to activate them. You should wait at least a minute before inserting your batteries to ensure they have absorbed enough oxygen to work properly.

On average, batteries last 5 to 7 days depending on the size and style of your hearing aids, your degree of hearing loss, the amount of time your hearing aids are used and your listening environment. Obviously if there is no sound coming through your hearing aids, your first suspicion should be a dead battery. Other signs include sound that is distorted or unclear and unusually low volume levels. Some hearing aids are designed to produce an audible tone, warning you when batteries are low.

Store your batteries at room temperature and avoid exposing them to moist or humid environments. This includes the refrigerator – despite what you may have heard, this is not a good place to keep your batteries, as temperature extremes and condensation can shorten their life. Keep batteries away from keys, coins and other metal objects that can cause them to short circuit or discharge. When removing your hearing aids, turn them off and open the battery compartment door to prevent excess moisture and battery drain.

Hearing Aid Accessories

Hearing aids aren’t just available in a wide range of sizes and styles; they can also accommodate a variety of accessories. Deciding which, if any, will benefit you can be tricky. You may want to speak with an audiologist to learn more about a particular product.
Some of the more popular hearing aid accessories include:

  • Wireless accessories. Utilizing Bluetooth® technology, wireless accessories enable you to hear better in situations where there is a lot of background noise or distance between you and the speaker. These include wireless microphones, remotes and television headsets.
  • Transmitters and receivers. These are helpful in educational situations (e.g., a teacher’s words are transmitted directly into the student’s ears) and for children. Transmitters and receivers work together to overcome background noise, distance and reverberation and contribute to a better learning experience.
  • Power adaptors and cords. These add versatility by allowing direct input from various audio sources such as FM systems, MP3 players, TVs and computers. They are available with both monaural and binaural cords.
  • Assistive listening devices/personal amplifiers. A microphone placed close to the speaker amplifies the sound that reaches your ears, giving your hearing aids a boost. These are excellent for lectures, church services, theaters and television.
  • Earwax filters. Filters prevent earwax, a leading cause of damage to electronic components, from entering the hearing aid. This helps prolong the life of the instrument and provides you with clear, natural sound.
  • Cleaning kits. Keeping your hearing aids clean can result in a longer life for your instruments. Cleaning kits give you a leg up on keeping your device in prime working condition. They typically include a wax removal brush and pick, a tube and vent cleaner, a battery door opener and a battery replacement magnet.
  • Batteries. It’s wise to have extra batteries on hand in case your current ones die in the middle of an important listening situation. Spare batteries are especially helpful when you’re traveling.

Hearing Aid Maintenance & Repair

Though small, hearing aids are packed with high-level technology to help your ears and brain process sounds. As such, there are several practices that will help you care for the technology so that it will last. To prevent problems with your hearing aids, follow this list of practices to help preserve the devices’ technology.

  • Clean your hearing aids. Buildup, especially earwax, can become trapped in the tiny holes in the hearing aid. To avoid this, it is important to clean the device each day with a clean cloth or soft brush. If earwax is impacted into the hearing aid, you will likely notice static or feedback when using the device.
  • Keep your ears clean. It is just as important to keep your ears clean as it is to keep your device clean. Even though it is natural and healthy to produce earwax, it can damage your hearing aid if it becomes lodged in cracks or holes. To reduce the risk of earwax becoming impacted into your hearing aid, clean your ears with a washcloth once a day. Remember, it is not safe to insert cotton swabs, bobby pins or anything else smaller than a finger into your ear canal as small items can push earwax deeper or even puncture the eardrum.
  • Keep your hearing aid dry. Exposure to moisture is the number one cause of hearing aid malfunction requiring repairs. Do not wear your hearing aids while showering, washing your face, spraying hairspray, swimming or sleeping if you are prone to excessive sweating. We advise opening the battery door on your hearing aid during nighttime hours to allow the device to air out and to maintain battery life.

Contact a hearing aid professional if you follow these procedures and are still experiencing malfunctions with your devices such as static, whistling, feedback or volume control issues. Also, contact a professional if you feel your device does not fit properly, if there are cracks in the faceplate or if the device is smashed.

Hearing Aid Manufacturers

We are committed to providing patients in need of amplification with a wide selection of digital hearing aids designed for all types of hearing loss, lifestyles and budgets. We believe quality products deliver the best solutions, and so have partnered with the industry’s top manufacturers to ensure your hearing aids reconnect you with friends and loved ones.
We work with the following manufacturers to provide you with a custom, first-rate solution for your hearing loss.

Oticon Logo
Oticon’s history dates back to 1904. The company was founded by Hans Demant, whose wife struggled with hearing loss. Oticon is headquartered in Denmark, just outside of Copenhagen, and has more than 3,000 employees in branches across the globe. Oticon’s BrainHearing™ technology allows you to hear better with less effort. Popular products include the Opn line (Opn 1 and 2) Alta2 Pro, Nera2 Pro, Ria2 Pro, Dynamo and Sensei.

Phonak Logo
Phonak, founded in Zurich, Switzerland in 1947, employs more than 4,200 people in multiple locations worldwide. The company is a pioneer in hearing loss solutions, developing the first hearing aid to take advantage of Bluetooth® technology in 2003 and the first extended-wear hearing aid (Lyric) in 2011. Its Hear the World initiative, launched in 2006, aims to create global awareness of hearing loss and promote solutions for individuals across the planet. Featured products include the Audeo, Virto and Bolero.

ReSound Logo
GN ReSound is a Danish manufacturer with headquarters in Ballerup. Founded in 1943, the company currently has 4,100 employees worldwide, and its products are available in more than 80 countries. ReSound was the first to offer Wide Dynamic Range Compression and Digital Feedback Suppression, innovations in sound processing that have led to reduced distortion and better sound quality. Its product lineup includes the LiNX, LiNX 2, LiNX 3D and ENZO.

Widex Logo
Widex was founded in Denmark in 1956 and is still owned and operated by relatives of the original founders. It employs more than 4,000 people worldwide and sells product in more than 100 countries. Widex created the world’s first digital in-the-ear hearing aid and remains on the forefront of technology with breakthroughs in wireless connectivity. Products include the UNIQUE and SUPER.

Starkey Logo
Starkey Hearing Technologies was founded in 1967 by William Austin, who believed in the concept of bringing people together to change the world. It is based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and is the only American-owned major hearing aid manufacturer in the world. Starkey employs 5,000 people and has 21 locations in 18 countries. The Starkey Hearing Foundation donates a portion of all proceeds to help those in need across the globe to receive hearing assistance. Its lineup includes the Z Series and Halo.

Hearing Aid Styles

Although there are many types of hearing aids, the five major styles are completely-in-canal (CIC), in-the-canal (ITC), in-the-ear (ITE), behind-the-ear (BTE) and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE). You and your audiologist can discuss which style is best for you in terms of appearance and functionality.

Completely-in-canal (CIC) or mini-CIC devices are molded to fit completely inside your ear canal. They are the smallest, least visible models of hearing aid. The CIC does not include directional microphones, which makes the device less likely to pick up wind noise, but also means the device is less effective for those with severe hearing loss. Additionally, the batteries of the CIC are small and therefore may have a shorter lifespan. CIC and mini-CIC devices are best suited for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.

In-the-canal (ITC) devices sit both inside the ear canal and in the concha of the outer ear. The ITC has the same general features as the CIC. The difference is that it is slightly more visible, but the larger size makes for easier handling. The ITC is best suited for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are the largest custom-made devices. Though they are most visible, they are also easiest to handle and operate. The device has two styles: the full shell, which fits in the entire concha of the outer ear, and the half shell, which fits only in the lower half near the ear canal. This device can be fit with a volume control setting, which is unavailable in smaller styles of hearing aids like the CIC. The ITE is suitable for those with mild to severe hearing loss.

Behind-the-ear (BTE) and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) instruments have separate receivers and sound processors, which connect with a clear tube (or wire) that wraps over the ear. Newer BTE models are small and discrete, and the clear tubing can be shaped to the same size and shape of your ear so as not to be noticed. The BTE device is appropriate for all ages and for those with any type of hearing loss.

Choosing a Hearing Aid

Once you’ve been tested for hearing loss, your audiologist may decide you could benefit from hearing aids. There are a wide variety of hearing aid manufacturers and types of hearing aids available, which may make the process of choosing a hearing aid seem overwhelming. There are three major questions to consider when it comes to choosing your hearing aid:
  1. What options are available to me?
  2. Which type will best fit my lifestyle?
  3. Will I be able to adjust to my new hearing aid?
The main styles of hearing aid include completely-in-canal (CIC) or mini-CIC, which are fitted entirely in the ear canal; in-the-canal (ITC), which fits partially in the ear canal; in-the-ear (ITE), which sits in the concha of the outer ear; behind-the-ear (BTE), which consists of a custom earpiece and a separate sound processor; and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE), which consists of a speaker (covered by a rubber dome or custom earpiece) placed inside the ear canal, wired to a small sound processor that sits behind the ear.

A patient may choose a hearing aid based on appearance and functionality. For example, completely in-canal and in-the-canal hearing aids are not highly visible, but also do not include directional microphones. The smaller devices cannot hold as large of batteries and may not help with moderately severe to severe hearing loss. In-the-ear and behind-the-ear hearing aids, though more visible, can be more effective for those with greater degrees of hearing loss.

Adjusting to your new hearing aid takes time. The hearing aid will be programmed for your unique hearing needs, which will help ease the adjustment period. Keep in mind, however, that your ears and brain are not used to hearing so many noises. You may experience some sensory overload until your brain adjusts to improved hearing.

Skin Lesions

A skin lesion is an abnormal bump, lump, sore or area of discoloration on the skin. Common skin lesions include moles, freckles, warts and acne. Skin lesions can be either benign (such as a freckle) or malignant (such as a tumor or precancerous mole).
Skin lesions can be primary or secondary. Primary skin lesions are typically present at birth or develop over time and include birthmarks and rashes. Secondary skin lesions are the result of irritated skin such as a scar or ulcer. Since skin lesions can be hereditary, the result of an allergy or caused by a skin infection, it’s important to see a doctor to have the lesion evaluated and diagnosed.

Diagnosis of skin lesions is based on the patient’s history, characteristics of the lesion and where on the body it appears. Your ENT physician will determine whether a skin lesion is benign or malignant to decide whether surgery or other treatment is necessary.

Lake Jackson ENT specializes in suspected or confirmed cases of skin cancer on the face, scalp, ears and neck. Dr. Herrera reconstructs defects with advancement and rotational flaps as well as skin and cartilage grafts with the goal of complete resection of cancer and the best possible functional and cosmetic outcomes.

If you have a suspicious looking or bothersome skin lesion, be sure to have it evaluated by an ENT physician. You and your doctor can work together to determine the safest and most effective treatment plan for you. With Lake Jackson ENT, you can rest assured that you have the best team of physicians evaluating and treating your condition.

Fillers & Injectables

Dermal fillers and fat injections rejuvenate skin by restoring volume to facial lines and wrinkles. As we age, our skin stretches and loses subcutaneous fat, which causes our faces to lose volume and contour. Fillers and injectables help reduce the appearance of aging by plumping thin lips, enhancing natural contours, softening facial creases and reducing the appearance of scars.
Fillers and injectables are ideal for those who are generally physically healthy, do not smoke and have realistic goals for the procedure. It is also important to remember injectables and fillers are not a substitute for a facelift surgery, as they cannot achieve the same results and do not last as long.

The first step of a filler procedure is facial assessment and mapping. The ENT doctor will evaluate your facial appearance, skin tone and problem areas. They will then mark your face at the appropriate injection sites. Your photo may be taken at several angles for reference. Next, the injection sites will be cleaned and sterilized.

Each injection only takes a few seconds. The doctor will inject the filler, massage the area and evaluate the result. More filler may be injected at each site as needed. After the procedure, the doctor will clean the markings off your face and provide an ice pack to reduce swelling. The whole procedure may take fifteen minutes to an hour, depending on how many injections you and your doctor decide on. You may experience minor pain and swelling for a couple of days.

Botox

Botox, short for botulinum toxin, is a cosmetic treatment that reduces forehead wrinkles, frown lines and crow’s feet. The cause of wrinkles around the eyes and forehead is the repeated use of these muscles. Botox works by reducing muscle activity so that wrinkles appear smoother. The results show within 48 hours of the injection and last up to four months. The injection process takes only about 10 minutes.

CPAP

Causes of sleep apnea include overly relaxed throat tissues and tongue; a large tongue, tonsils, uvula or soft palate; and/or an abnormally small airway. Natural aging can limit your brain’s ability to keep your throat muscles stiff while you sleep, causing the airway to narrow or collapse. Those most at risk are males, over the age of 40, overweight, smoke tobacco, suffer from allergies or sinus infections and/or have a family history of sleep apnea.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the best treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. It reverses the collapse of your throat by streaming small amounts of air pressure into your mouth and throat. The device is made up of two major parts: a mask and a machine. The wearer places the mask over their face while the motor of the machine pumps air into a humidified tube that attaches the two parts.

CPAP may be recommended after a sleep study, which is used to diagnose sleep apnea. Home sleep studies are the preferred testing method, where oxygen levels are monitored overnight to determine the type and severity of the sleep apnea. If the doctor decides CPAP is the best course of action, they will contact a home equipment provider to select a machine. A home equipment provider and/or your doctor will help you set up the machine and teach you how to operate it.

CPAPs are the preferred treatment method for adults. For children with sleep apnea, however, the doctor may decide that removing the tonsils and adenoids is the best solution to prevent lifelong sleep apnea. A CPAP may be used after a tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy if there is no improvement in symptoms.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition characterized by pauses in breathing that occur repeatedly throughout the night. They may last anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes and occur in conjunction with loud snoring. People with sleep apnea often feel tired during the day since their quality of sleep they is poor.
Oftentimes, a person suffering from sleep apnea will be oblivious to the fact that they have a sleep disorder. They rarely awaken during interruptions in breathing and may only become aware of the fact that there’s a problem when a partner alerts them.

The most common form of the disorder, obstructive sleep apnea, occurs when the soft tissues in the back of the throat relax and obstruct the airway, interfering with breathing and causing the noisy vibrations associated with snoring. The result is daytime drowsiness, fatigue and symptoms that include a sore throat, dry mouth and headache. Snoring may disturb the sleep of your partner, resulting in tension and stress. Your productivity at work may suffer, and you might experience periods of confusion and memory loss.

Causes of sleep apnea include overly relaxed throat tissues and tongue; a large tongue, tonsils, uvula or soft palate; and an abnormally small airway. Natural aging can limit your brain’s ability to keep your throat muscles stiff while you sleep, causing the airway to narrow or collapse. Those most at risk are males, over the age of 40, overweight, smoke tobacco, suffer from allergies or sinus infections and/or have a family history of sleep apnea.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the preferred treatment method for those with moderate to severe sleep apnea. You’ll wear a mask over your mouth or nose attached to a machine that delivers steady bursts of air pressure into your throat, keeping your airway passages open while you sleep.