How do we treat tinnitus?

Hi again, Audiology fam!

We at Andros hope you are all healthy and relatively happy, and continuing to #maskup as we all find
our way through the current landscape.

Welcome to part TWO of our tinnitus series – oh, how time flies when we’re all having fun (sincerely hope). Today we’re going to be discussing the various ways that we (your neighborhood friendly audiologists) treat and/or manage tinnitus.

First, I’m going to get this statement out of the way: you won’t find any magic bullet cure here that will immediately disappear your tinnitus. I am so sorry, but we just aren’t there yet. HOWEVER (and you see, I used the capital letters to indicate emphasis because that is a major however), there are many many many ways to manage tinnitus successfully and make life better for people who suffer from tinnitus.

The first type of management strategy we’ll discuss is the use of sound therapies. Sound therapies
involve changing a person’s perception of or reaction to their tinnitus, and they do this in a variety of ways. This can mean reducing the prominence of the tinnitus in relation to background noise by partially or completely covering your tinnitus with a sound of your own choosing, using soothing sounds to reduce the stress associated with tinnitus, using an interesting sound in order to distract yourself, or increasing the level of background sound to promote your brain’s habituation or acceptance of your tinnitus over time.

It should be noted that there is an insufficient amount of research available to fully support the use of sound therapies in the treatment of tinnitus, particularly because there are many different ways to implement sound therapy. However, many authors have seen high anecdotal rates of success with different types of sound therapy, and it is still considered a good option for patients with chronic, bothersome tinnitus, as long as realistic expectations are taken into consideration.

The devices used for sound therapy were, at one point, stand-alone devices; purely made for sound generation. Those devices still exist and are available, but at this point, most hearing aids are now what’s considered “combination” devices, and have tinnitus maskers that come standard in many, if not all of the current offerings. As stated in previous blogs regarding this subject – hearing loss is a common comorbidity (pal) of tinnitus, and if we’re treating the hearing loss with a hearing aid, it only makes sense to get a device that is also capable of sound generation. Many people find that the act of treating the hearing loss, and giving the brain something else to listen to (amplification! Birdsong! The ticking of your car turn signal!) helps to minimize their tinnitus, without having to do any other type of sound generation, but more options is better than no options. A very common type of sound therapy that many people (including the friendly neighborhood audiologist writing this article) come to on their own without having to be coached is something called sound enrichment. Sound enrichment is the use of sound in the background during the day or going to sleep to help distract from your tinnitus. Many people use music, podcasts, or even a common household box fan for this task – it is an easy and simple way to give your brain a little relief.

Next management technique is also pretty straightforward: counseling and education! Surprisingly, for some people, just knowing what exactly tinnitus is, and potentially why it is happening helps them adjust to their new normal and go from there. If you’ve been following this series from the beginning, then you already have more information about tinnitus than the general public – go you! The goal of patient education is to increase knowledge about tinnitus, which will hopefully help people to cope and manage their reactions to their tinnitus a little better. The level and type of counseling providing will vary based on individual needs – for many patients, a little education will go a long way. For others, the counseling needed may prove to be outside the scope of the audiologist, and a referral to someone who specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy (a type of therapy that focuses on reframing thought patterns and behaviors) may be necessary. This does not mean the work you’ve done with your audiologist has failed – this means that you are continuing on the path to better quality of life with tinnitus, and just need someone else to guide you along the path for a little while.

Another subset of tinnitus management strategies include guided tinnitus protocols, where the audiologist and the patient work through a series of prescribed activities and counseling sessions. There are several currently en vogue, including, but not limited to such protocols as TRT (Tinnitus Retraining Therapy), or PTM (Progressive Tinnitus Management). The guided tinnitus protocol favored by Andros Audiology and Hearing Aid Center is a protocol called the Tinnitus Activities Therapy (TAT), which was developed by the University of Iowa. The Tinnitus Activities Therapy integrates sound therapy (see above) with counseling (also see above) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (also see above. Gee, I’m thorough). There are four major components or aspects to this form of tinnitus management, each with its own series of activities and counseling to move through: thoughts and emotions, hearing and communication, sleep, and concentration. While the TAT protocol has not been studied systematically, because it is a more modern protocol, there is evidence backing each component used in TAT (sound therapy, counseling, and CBT, as previously discussed).

And with that, we close out our THIRD tinnitus discussion! Next time, we’ll be discussing some tinnitus odds and ends, a few things that are important to note, but don’t really fit in the previous categories.

I hope you all are having a wonderful time taking this wild ride into tinnitus education with me!

Until next time, please stay safe, be well, and as always, remember that Andros Audiology and Hearing
Aid Center is here to help.

Tinnitus 101 – Part 1

Hi Audiology folk!

Here’s hoping that as of this writing you are all safe and continuing to social distance as the beautiful Minnesota winter descends upon us! If you remember, our last letter to the public discussed the basics of what tinnitus is, how to say it, etc. If you don’t remember – see below!

Here is a part one of four part series on Tinnitus. For this publication, we’re going to dive a little deeper, and discuss how tinnitus is assessed, or measured.

Tinnitus is a highly individualized and subjective disorder – every person experiences their tinnitus in a different way. Some people hear whistling, some hear “crickets”, this audiologist hears a high-pitched ringing (a classic) pretty much all the time. Every person will describe the sensation in a way that is specific to them – so how do we quantify the tinnitus? How do we establish how much of an issue any one person is having with it?

The initial evaluation will look very similar to the initial evaluation for a hearing loss. The reason for this is simple – 90% of people who have tinnitus also have an underlying sensorineural hearing loss. So the first steps are going to look the same.

Step One

First up is a thorough intake form, and complete case history. The intake form may include a screening questionnaire to determine your perception of your tinnitus and/or hearing loss – in order to begin assessing the tinnitus and guide a course for treating it, first we have to know where to start, and questionnaires help us along that path. A tinnitus case history should include how long the tinnitus has been present, how often it occurs, if it is in both ears or just one, if you have a history of noise exposure, and how much you feel the tinnitus is impacting your day-to-day life.

Step Two

Next up is a diagnostic audiologic evaluation, which sounds scary, but is actually pretty straightforward. It includes otoscopy (your friendly neighborhood audiologist is going to look in your ears), a hearing test (to determine if there is any underlying hearing loss accompanying the tinnitus) that includes pure-tone air conduction (under headphones), bone conduction (using a bone oscillator), and word understanding testing (repeat after us!). If indicated, your audiologist may also test the movement of your eardrums with something called a tympanogram – this is to make sure there is no fluid hanging out behind your eardrums where it certainly does not belong.

Now, if you’ve already done some research on tinnitus, or gone down the various rabbit holes about it on the internet, you may have heard of something called psychoacoustic evaluation. Psychoacoustic evaluation with regards to tinnitus can come in many different forms, all of which require some attempt to quantify the tinnitus – either by matching its pitch or loudness using the audiometer, or testing the minimum level of noise needed to mask, or cover up, the tinnitus. While these measures can be very useful for helping the patient (you!) feel heard and understood about the severity of their tinnitus, it is important to understand that there is very little hard evidence in favor of the validity of these measures, and they have very little clinical utility. They are also difficult, requiring an intense amount of focus for
an extended period of time, both for the audiologist and the patient, so it’s important that they are used in their appropriate context, when absolutely necessary.

And with that, we’ve finished another section of Tinnitus 101 by Andros Audiology!! I hope that you found this information helpful and instructive, and that you’ll join us again for our next series on tinnitus, which will cover tinnitus treatment or management techniques!

In the meantime, audiology friends, stay safe and be so well!

What is tinnitus?

Hi Audiology Friends and Fam!

Hope this message finds you well and you’re continuing to find a socially distant way to connect with people! To keep up our tradition of educating and (hopefully) entertaining our patient population, I’ve decided to embark on a grand journey – the journey of tinnitus education.

What is tinnitus? How on earth do you say it? How do we make it better? Is it indicative of a super scary
underlying diagnosis? HELP?!?!

We are going to tackle all of these questions and many more – never fear, your friendly neighborhood audiologists are here! With a five-part series on all things tinnitus! You heard me, FIVE PARTS, we have a lot to cover!! Today, we’re going simple and discussing what tinnitus is. Over the coming weeks we’ll also cover how to assess, and treat tinnitus, as well as our own Andros Protocol for tinnitus evaluation.

We’re going to start here, with the basics – what is tinnitus? You’re about to find out!

Tinnitus is defined as the perception or sensation of hearing sound when no external sound is present –
the hallmarks include perceiving/hearing the sound involuntarily, and the sound originating in the head
rather than being externally produced.

People can hear a variety of sounds, all of which are covered under the umbrella of a tinnitus diagnosis,
but the most common variations include: ringing, buzzing, roaring, chirping, or hissing.

The first step in assessing a person’s tinnitus involves placing the symptoms into a series of classifications or categories. The different types of tinnitus affect the management plan that will be put into place, or help your audiologist decide if you even need a management plan! See below for the different category types for tinnitus, and see if you can pinpoint which category you fall into.

  • Primary
    • Related to an unknown cause
    • May or may not be associated with SNHL
  • Secondary
    • Associated with an identifiable underlying cause or organic condition
  • Recent onset
    • Less than 6 months in duration
  • Persistent
    • 6 months or longer in duration
  •  Spontaneous
    • Sudden tonal tinnitus in one ear that is accompanied by a sense of fullness and hearing loss in the same ear
      • All of a sudden, everything gets very quiet, and you hear a whine come on in that ear
    • All symptoms resolve within a minute or two
      • It can be quite jarring, but is considered a natural phenomenon that
        most people will experience at least once in their lifetimes
  • Temporary
    •  Tinnitus caused by noise or some other ototoxin that may last for a few days or up to about a week
  • Occasional
    •  Occurring every few weeks or months
  •  Intermittent
    • Occurring daily or weekly
  •  Constant
    • Always present
  • Non-bothersome
    • Tinnitus does not have a significant impact on quality of life
    • You may be curious or concerned about the cause and natural progression of the tinnitus, but it hasn’t interrupted the daily flow of your life
  • Bothersome
    • Tinnitus is having a significant impact on quality of life
    • You may feel distressed and are seeking therapy/management strategies to alleviate symptoms

There are many sources of information that suggest many types of risk factors and potential underlying
contributors to tinnitus (see below for a graphic of risk factors/associated conditions for tinnitus listed

However, there is no one answer to what causes tinnitus, and how it originates in our brain and auditory
system. The brain is an intensely complex piece of machinery, and we are still theorizing about the
intricate process of tinnitus, and why it happens. Currently the predominant theories suggest that all
tinnitus – including tinnitus believed to be caused by cochlear damage (associated with hearing loss) –
originates in the central auditory system (in the brain, not the cochlea).

Here’s something to consider when thinking about your tinnitus – it really is more common than most people think. The friendly neighborhood audiologist writing this blog entry is currently experiencing her constant, non-bothersome tinnitus in both ears with some level of amusement! Per the U.S. Center for Disease Control in 2011-2012, 15% of Americans have tinnitus. For most people, tinnitus is non- bothersome (it doesn’t really get in our way), but for others, it can be quite debilitating and troublesome. There is no one way to experience tinnitus – it is a highly subjective condition, and each case is going to be unique, with its own trials and tribulations. No matter how you feel about your tinnitus – your feelings are valid! Left to its own devices, debilitating tinnitus may impact a person’s quality of life in a variety of different ways, including thoughts, emotions, sleep, concentration, socialization, physical health, and even economic well-being, so it’s important to ask for help in trying to manage tinnitus if it begins to overwhelm you. That’s what we’re here for!

Well, THAT was a LOT of information, but I believe that covers the bases as far as basics are concerned.
Oh wait! I forgot to answer the number one question I get about tinnitus on a daily basis:

it can be pronounced two different ways, TIN-ni-tus or tin-EYE-tus. Both pronunciations are technically
correct, but these audiologists were taught the TIN-ni-tus version, so that’s what we go with. That’s our answer – WE’RE ALL CORRECT!

I hope this has been instructive and (at least a little bit) fun! I’ve got a few more of these ready to go, but am also open to suggestions if you have burning questions that you’d really like answered about tinnitus – send them to the following email and we’ll try to get them covered!

Stay safe and be well, all of you, and we’ll talk soon!

Hearing Loss + Masks – Communication tips

Hi Audiology Folks! I hope this blog finds you all enjoying cool breezes, relatively healthy, happy, and
wearing a mask! I know it’s a been a minute since we were able to chat here, but as we make our way into the beautiful Minnesota fall, I’ve got a timely topic to discuss.

This blog will cover a topic at the forefront of many conversations we are having everyday now: how to cope with communicating while wearing a mask. Otherwise known as? We don’t know what we’ve got till it’s gone.

Prior to the need to wear masks while communicating, people, even those people with normal hearing, used visual cues, lipreading, and facial expressions to clue themselves into what people are saying. Every person uses tone, body language, contextual cues to communicate. Above all, the message being conveyed must be audible and accessible to both parties.

The problem is, while masks are so important for our safety and well-being right now, they are also taking away many of these cues. That’s a problem even for those of us with normal hearing, and The presence of a hearing loss severely compounds these difficulties because they are already processing a degraded signal (tone, audibility, or clarity might already be inaccessible). There is no magic fix for this – this is something we are all going to have to deal with together. HOWEVER, (and note the use of capitalization for emphasis because that is a BIG however), your friendly neighborhood audiologist is here with some tips and tricks to try and help everybody out!

Tip 1

  • We all need to harken back to those high school drama or choir days of old and project from the
  • This tip is not necessarily about being SO MUCH LOUDER – it is much more about making sure
    you enunciate and speak clearly
  • When in doubt, slow it down, hit those consonants hard, and pretend like you’re talking through cloth – wait! You don’t have to pretend – you ARE talking through cloth!
  • Quick clarification on the use of the word slow with regards to speech: when I say slow, I don’t mean slooooowwww motion where speech becomes meaningless and unintelligible.
  • I mean the following: make sure that each word is separated, that your meaning is clear, and that people have time to absorb your message.

Per the article below, they’ve done the research, and quantified just how much sound pressure we’re losing behind our masks – we can each do our part to try and get some of that sound pressure back safely (read: while wearing a mask).

Tip 2

  • Going for controversial with this one: crow's feet are a blessing! Smile with your eyes! Those
    laugh lines will let everyone know you're still having a good time behind your mask.

Tip 3

  • For those of you in the audience with hearing loss – many hearing aid manufacturers have now had time to develop recommendations or even updated algorithms to help your hearing aids cope with having to work harder to pick up speech. Talk to your audiologist or hearing instrument specialist about what strategies are available for your specific hearing aids!

Tip 4

  • For those times when someone asks “what”, more than once:
  • Take a deep breath, resist the urge to make your voice uncomfortably loud, and instead, reach for an old communication classic: instead of repeating the phrase that hasn’t worked – rephrase!
  • If you’re really going for extra credit, try to think about the types of sounds that you are using: consonant sounds like “t”, “th”, “s”, “sh” are intrinsically difficult, because they are naturally high- pitched, they carry very little volume, and they don’t use vocal cords to back them up, so they
    are difficult on multiple levels. And that was true before we all put masks on.

Tip 5 – This one is the biggie, Audiology folks

  • The ultimate communication tip your friendly neighborhood audiologist has for everybody today?
  • Be patient, and be kind with one another, because none of this is easy.
  • We are all carving out a path together – let’s pave that path with kindness and mutual respect.

As always – stay safe, be well, and remember that at Andros Audiology and Hearing Aid Center, we’re
here to help.


Hi all! 

I hope that everyone is staying safe and socially distancing during this time! While figuring out what our new day to day is going to look like, one of our goals is to continue to educate our patients (that is probably you, but if not, welcome newcomers!).  Today’s blog is going to focus on the available options for remote audiology assistance, which is potentially going to play a larger part in patient care as we move forward in a more cautious environment. You may not know it but depending on when/where your hearing aids were manufactured, they may already be equipped with some type of remote audiology abilities right now. 

Below I’ll outline the two basic versions of how remote audiology support can be applied, as well as list some of the manufacturers we work with that currently support this option in their software. I’ve also included links to manufacturer websites, where you can access more in-depth details about what types of remote assistance are available for any given company.  

There are two basic formats of remote audiology support: assistance that occurs in live action (takes place immediately, usually over video chat or an online messaging service, requiring an appointment with the provider before starting), or assistance that occurs on a more extended timeline (a request put in through an app that the audiologist reviews, makes adjustments for, and sends the programming back to the patient for approval).  

Live action assistance, as detailed above, typically requires an appointment to be scheduled, exactly like coming into the office, in order to make sure the provider is available, and/or camera ready. The hearing healthcare provider and the patient would then have a discussion (exactly like an in-office appointment), and the audiologist would use remote programming software to make any adjustments necessary, or walk the patient through any troubleshooting that may be necessary with the devices. Manufacturers that we work with at Andros ENT & Sleep Center offering this option include Widex, Signia, ReSound, and Phonak. Also included in the category of “live action assistance” is online messaging that goes directly to your hearing healthcare provider (manufacturers that offer this include Signia), for questions that require immediate assistance but not necessarily a face-to-face discussion.  

Extended timeline assistance does not usually require a scheduled appointment, best practice is currently to set “office hours” where the hearing healthcare provider will be consistently available at the computer, checking remote fitting software for messages, which encourages timely resolutions to requests. This approach consists of the patient initiating a request for services through their hearing aid phone application – services available remotely include hearing aid programming adjustments, and trouble-shooting suggestions through the messaging system. The hearing healthcare provider would receive the request, make whatever adjustment or suggestion that would be most appropriate for the situation, and pushes the changes made back to the hearing aid phone application through the remote fitting software. The patient is then able to try the settings. Manufacturers that we work with at Andros ENT & Sleep Center who offer this option include Starkey, ReSound, and Signia. 

While the availability of remote audiology assistance is becoming more mainstream, it is still likely that unless hearing aids have been purchased within the last 3-5 years, they will not have the ability to use the types of technology listed above – however, it really does depend on the manufacturer (compatibility varies).  While both remote audiology assistance formats offer benefits, as discussed above, it is also important to note that all require use of the hearing aid phone applications, compatible devices, and the ability of the audiologist to access the hearing aid fitting software.  

Tele-audiology will continue to grow and develop more uses, especially in this time when patient care is still close to our hearts but maintaining the safety and health of all our patients is of the utmost importance. We hope to educate you (our patients and friends) further, as time goes on. Andros ENT & Sleep Center – whether near or far, we’re hear to enhance life.  

Stay safe and be well, all!  

Why come to an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) Office for your hearing aids?

Andros Audiology has a unique advantage in the hearing aid world because we are connected to Andros ENT & Sleep Center. Being part of an ENT clinic means better care for you, not only hearing aid care, but also your overall ear health. Sometimes hearing loss can be as simple as cleaning out your ears, but other times it is more serious, and we can do it all!

Hearing aids are a very personal choice – they require customization to both budget and lifestyle. Our founder, Dr. Rosario, understands this and intentionally chose to not run our clinic on commission, which means that your best interest is the driving force behind any decisions made. There are so many options of hearing technology and we work with multiple manufacturers to guarantee there is an option for you.

Not only that, but we have two highly trained doctors of audiology and a hearing instrument dispenser. They know all the ins and outs of hearing aids and can find you the right fit without any manufacturer affiliation. You deserve a choice when it comes to what you wear in your ears! When you come to see us, we are in a convenient location, with a well-maintained office space, as well as professionals who care and understand how hearing loss can affect your quality of life. Our goal is to use hearing technology to enhance your life, as well as help you maintain your hearing aids while you learn how to make them a part of your day-to-day experience! Being part of an ENT gives you the support and confidence you need to move forward with this life-changing decision.

Hearing Aids and Batteries: Part 1, Disposable

Hello everyone!

With the relatively recent advent of rechargeable batteries for hearing aids, we have received a lot of questions about hearing aid batteries, and how all the different options work. The information available can be a little confusing, so we thought we would break it down for you here!

Generally, there are two different types of batteries: disposable and rechargeable.

This week, we will discuss the ins and outs of disposable batteries.


Disposable batteries were the only battery option available for hearing aids for a long time. The “official” name is zinc-air, because the batteries are air-activated. Each individual battery comes with a sticker attached, and you peel off the sticker when you are ready to use the battery.

Disposable batteries come in four different sizes denoted by different colored stickers. From smallest to largest they are: 10 (yellow), 312 (brown), 13 (orange), and 675 (blue). The size of the battery generally correlates with the size or the power of the hearing aid. The size of the battery also typically correlates with the length of battery life (the smaller the battery, the more often you will have to change it). The average battery life is about 5-7 days, however, other factors (such as stream time and wear time) can affect that number.

An advantage to using disposable batteries is general reliability; you will not need to worry about charging a device, and if the batteries do lose power unexpectedly, you can almost always find them at a local pharmacy or grocery store.

A disadvantage to using disposable batteries is the maintenance; disposable batteries require replacement about once per week, which does involve some fine motor skills and replenishing a stock as needed.

Tips: For those of you with hearing aids that require disposable batteries, below are a few tips and tricks that can help ease replacement/lengthen the life of them:

  • Try and wait at least a minute between the time you peel the sticker off the battery and when you place it in your hearing aid.

  • If a battery is intermittent/does not seem to work well upon placing it in your hearing aid, make sure any sticker residue is completely off the battery. You can also check the expiration date on the card or carton of hearing aid batteries – sometimes batteries can become intermittent even within a year of the expiration date listed.

  • Always make sure the “plus sign” or the flat side of the battery is facing up in your hearing aid (you should be able to see the “+” when the battery is inserted in your hearing aid/there should not be any part of the hearing aid touching the top/flat side of the battery). You should not have to force the battery into its compartment, so if you are getting a lot of resistance, check and make sure it is facing the correct way. Remember – if all else fails, contact your audiologist!

Hopefully that clears up any confusion/curiosities regarding disposable batteries and hearing aids. Remember to come back and visit this space next month, where we will talk about rechargeable hearing aids!

Have a “powerfully” awesome rest of July, friends!

Andros Audiology Summer Update!

Hello again, friends!

With this time of year comes many opportunities to get out of the house and into the community to mingle – block parties, barbeques, and of course, city days! Here at Andros ENT, we’re heading out to see old friends and make some new ones.

We’ll be at Mendota Day on Saturday, July 13! ( ; ) where there will be complimentary items, educational materials, and the chance to win a free hearing screening!

Since a hearing screening is part of what we’re giving away, we thought we would use today’s conversation to give all of you more detail about a hearing screening actually ENTAILS.

At a very basic level, a hearing screening is an abbreviated hearing test, where the only pitches tested are the ones considered most important for speech. A full diagnostic evaluation would test at different levels (starting louder and moving to the softest sounds that you are able to hear), a hearing screening only tests at one specific level, at what we consider “the borderline of normal.” The idea behind this, is to confirm that at the very least, you can hear the most important speech information at a normal level
for both ears. If at any of these pitches, you are unable to hear the “borderline normal” level that we initially present at, we’ll then go looking for your hearing threshold (or the softest sound that you can hear). So, that we can tell you exactly what level of hearing loss is present (if any). A hearing screening is short and sweet, and typically comes with the possibility of a few recommendations.

The outcomes typically involve the following:

– You passed! Hooray! This means you heard every sound we presented at the “borderline of normal”; for the different speech tones, and you can go about your merry business with little to no interference from us! We recommend getting your hearing tested every 1-2 years as preventive care, even if you pass your screening with flying colors, but you should always feel free to come in sooner if any new concerns come up.

– At one or more pitches we tested, we found some hearing loss – what now? The next step will typically be a diagnostic evaluation – the concept is similar to a screening, except in far more detail – more information is better!

– This diagnostic evaluation may be scheduled only with the audiologist, or it may involve “tandem”; (or associated) appointment with an ENT physician. Typically, you only have to see the physician if there are any FDA referral symptoms, or if you have concerns, you’d like addressed from a medical standpoint.

– FDA Referral Symptoms – quickly: ringing/buzzing, especially if it’s only in one ear; pain; sudden hearing loss; a large difference in hearing ability between your ears; fullness in either ear; active drainage from either ear; dizziness; earwax; or any trauma to your ears

– At some point during your diagnostic evaluation, your friendly neighborhood audiologist may mention that you are what we consider a hearing aid candidate – don’t panic! This is the beginning of a conversation that you are an active participant in – your opinions matter, and this is the time to get any questions you may have addressed. We’re here to educate, offer you opinions with the knowledge that we have, and most importantly, LISTEN to YOU. You drive the next step in the process.

So, there it is: your 60-second snapshot into a hearing screening, and some of the potential outcomes. Come see our faces at Mendota Day on Saturday, July 13, and we’ll be happy to answer even MORE questions (we might even reward you with candy)!

Happy summer-ing, all!

Summertime Tips

Welcome to summertime, Minnesotans! It’s that wonderful time of year when we all remember outside
exists and is GLORIOUS! But with the glory also comes questions about how best to keep hearing aids in
tip-top shape as the heat rises.
With that being said, we are here to help! We address five common situations you may need to combat
during summer with some helpful suggestions to keep your hearing aids in the best condition.

Situation 1 – Moisture:
a. It’s in the air, it’s behind your ears – moisture is EVERYWHERE, and as we all know, moisture can
be considered the villain to a hearing aid’s hero status.
b. What can you do to combat moisture?
i. When they’re not in your ears, keep the hearing instruments in a cool, dry place –
potentially even a dehumidifier or in a container with a desiccant pack (which can be
purchased through your audiologist!)
ii. If you’re going to be doing something where you’re highly active (working out, working in
the yard, swimming [ESPECIALLY swimming]) – take the hearing aids out, and leave them in
the aforementioned cool, dry, place
iii. When taking the hearing aids out of your ear’s wipe them down with a dry cloth – if you see
any moisture or debris present near the microphones, try your best to brush the moisture
away from there
iv. Finally – if you’re noticing issues with your hearing aid that you feel may be related to
moisture – come in and see your audiologist!

Situation 2 – Heat:
a. Just like any other piece of electronics, hearing aids are susceptible to extreme temperatures –
that includes the internal electronics, as well as the zinc air, Z-power, or lithium-ion rechargeable
batteries that are available in hearing aids.
b. When they’re having to combat truly terrible temperatures, hearing aids may not function at their
peak performance level. Particularly if you’re going to be taking them out – be sure to put them
either in a travel case, or inside, in a cool, dry location.
c. Do NOT leave them sitting in direct sunlight for long stretches of time – if your cell phone doesn’t
like to overheat, neither do your hearing aids!

Situation 3 – Yardwork:
a. Common question during the summer months: Can I wear my hearing aids while mowing the
i. See above – if you’re going to be active in the garden, it may be best to leave the hearing
aids inside where they are cool and safe – both from a moisture and heat standpoint.
b. Another consideration for the garden – if you’re going to be using any type of power tool (lawn
mower, weed whipper, etc.), you should really trade in those hearing aids for hearing protection,
and keep your remaining hearing safe!

Situation 4 – Accidentals:
a. So, your family or friends thought it would be hilarious to take you for a dip in the lake, but forgot
you had your hearing aids in – what do you do now?
i. First things first: remain calm!

  1. Once you get back on dry land, get those hearing aids out of your ears.
  2. If you have battery doors that open, now is the time to open battery doors, and take
    the battery out. Let the hearing aids lie flat with the battery doors open to dry out!
    a. If you have rechargeable hearing aids, and don’t have battery doors that open,
    DON’T try to open them. Just lay them flat and let them dry.
  3. If you have a dehumidifier or a container with a desiccant in it, go ahead and get the
    hearing aids in there and let them stay there for a few hours.
  4. Do NOT panic and try to dry the hearing aids with a hair dryer, or any other kind of
    tool that dries things other than hearing aids – that is how you end up with wet AND
    melted plastic that used to be a hearing aid
    ii. And finally – call your audiologist and schedule a hearing aid check, to make sure everything
    is as it should be

Situation 5 – Vacation
a. Before you leave on the fabulous vacation you have planned, whether it be overseas or up north,
there are a few things you should double-check that are in your suitcase:
i. Batteries

  1. If you have the kind of hearing aids that use batteries, you should make sure to bring
    an extra pack when you go on vacation – it’s like an extra set of contacts, or a backup
    pair of glasses – better safe than sorry!
  2. If you have the kind of hearing aids that use a charger – make sure you have the right
    ii. A travel case
  3. Here is a rule of thumb that is accurate ALL the time, but is especially important when
    traveling: if the hearing aids are not in your ears, they should be in your case.
  4. Let me say it again for those in the back: IF THE HEARING AIDS ARE NOT IN YOUR
    ii. What to do if you have a hearing aid issue out of town
  5. First things first again – we are still remaining calm!
  6. If it’s within normal business hours, call your audiologist. They may be able to walk
    you through troubleshooting the problem over the phone, or find an appropriate
    referral for you wherever you are.
  7. In the worst case scenario, if you’re unable to find an appropriate referral or resolve
    the issue over the phone, you may have to put your hearing aids in a safe place (like
    their case), and keep them there until you can get home and get to your audiologist

Here’s your bottom line for summer: go have fun! If things go wrong and you need some help, stop in
and see us at Andros Audiology and Hearing Aid Center, or give us a call at 651-888-7800.
Happy summer, everyone!

The Future of Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are sophisticated computer technology. Like all computers, this technology is under constant development for improvement. One focus of hearing aid manufacturers is to improve speech understanding in noise. Companies have also worked to improve product durability from moisture and wear. Now, companies are starting to introduce sensors that can track more than just how many hours it is used. What does this mean for the future and hearing aid users?

People who would benefit from hearing aids are not getting the help they need. Thus, hearing aid manufacturers are striving to make technology that people will want to wear and use. Imagine if you could wear a small device on your ear that not only helped you hear better, but also tracked fitness, blood sugar levels, and could even translate languages real-time. These features may be coming down the technology pipeline for hearing aids.

Smart Technology of the Future

Hearing aid companies have already introduced smart sensors that learn about incoming sounds and environments. This makes the computer better able to identify this sound or environment in its next encounter. It “learns” similar to how our email “learns” what is junk, and what is important to us. When the computer can learn more about how to distinguish speech versus background noise, the user will benefit.

The future of hearing aids will also include more connectivity to the other “smart” devices we use on a daily basis. For someone who relies on hearing aids, the doorbell’s ability to communicate with hearing aids, and ring a tone in the user’s ear if there is somebody at the door, may be a really big deal. Televisions will also be able to seamlessly stream the sound into the custom fit hearing devices, therefore improving listening experiences. Believe it or not, hearing aid technology is already able to provide most of these features!

Bottom Line

Smart hearing aid features are already here and technology is only going to get better. As time goes on, more and more technology will reach the hands of consumers to help people improve their hearing on a daily basis.  Andros Audiology can help you find your perfect technology. Call (651) 888-7888 to schedule an evaluation with our Doctors of Audiology today!