Monthly Archives: September 2014

Hearing Aid Batteries

Types of Batteries

One of the most common questions new hearing aid users have about their devices is in regards to the power source: batteries. While there are a few products on the market which use rechargeable batteries, most hearing aids will be powered by disposable zinc-air batteries. Zinc-air batteries, as the name implies, are activated by being in the air. All zinc-air batteries will have some type of sticker or tab that needs to be peeled off in order for the pores on the back of the battery to be activated and start working.

Because hearing aids come in all different sizes and power levels, batteries too are designed to meet different needs.  Zinc-air batteries come in 4 common sizes: 10, 312, 13 and 675 in size order from smallest to largest. In general, larger hearing aids require larger batteries.

 Battery Life

In general, you can expect anywhere from 5 to 14 days of life from a hearing aid battery. There are many factors that come in to play when predicting where you and your hearing aids will fall in that spectrum. Also, keep in mind that a day is considered about 10-12 hours of wear time.

The first factor to effect battery life is the size of the battery itself. In general, smaller batteries get a shorter battery life than larger batteries. The size of the device will also matter. Larger, power hearing aids take a bigger battery but they draw more heavily from it, which reduces the life.  The situations you use your hearing aids in will also affect battery life. In background noise, hearing aids work harder and employ more features such as noise reduction algorithms. The more the hearing aid is doing, the more battery power it requires. Bluetooth streaming and CROS and BiCROS hearing aids (link back) also draw heavily on batteries and can reduce life to about 3-6 days per battery.

Extending Battery Life

If you are noticing that your batteries do not last very long, consider these tips and tricks to extend life:

  1. Open the battery doors on the hearing aids when they are not in your ears. The batteries will still be draining but at a significantly reduced rate.
  2. Activate a new battery by peeling off the sticker or tab approximately 3-5 minutes before you need to use it. Letting the battery charge up fully before use can result in extended battery life. Do not peel off the sticker or tab more than a few minutes before use, as the battery will start to drain once it is exposed to air.
  3.  Store your batteries in a non-humid, room temperature environment.
  4. Use a dry-kit over night to suck out moisture from both the batteries and the hearing aids.
  5. Check the expiration date on your batteries.
  6. Keep batteries away from other metal objects such as keys or change in your pocket or purse. Metal can short-circuit batteries.
  7. Consider changing battery brands or buying your batteries from a different place. Some places, such as your audiologist’s office, will go through batteries more quickly and are therefore more likely to have new, fresher batteries.

 

If you are still noticing a very short battery life, or your battery life has suddenly reduced significantly, it is possible that your hearing aids need to go in for repair for excessive battery drain. Consider making an appointment with a JHBI audiologist at The Hearing Center to have your hearing aids looked at, or stop in any time to purchase batteries at our new lower prices of $25 for a box (60 batteries) or $3.50 for a card (6 batteries).

 

 

Earwax and Cleaning Your Ears

What Is Earwax?

Cerumen, more commonly known as earwax, is healthy for your ears in normal amounts. Glands in the ear canal produce earwax, which helps trap dust and dirt particles from making its way to the eardrum. It serves as a self-cleaning agent that can protect and lubricate the ear canal. Without earwax, the ear canal may be dry and itchy. While everyone produces earwax, the amount can vary greatly. For most people, earwax naturally works its way out of the ear. It is transported by jaw motion from the ear canal to the outer ear where it dries and falls out.

Should I Use Q-Tips To Clean My Earwax?

Earwax is formed in the outer 1/3 of the ear canal. When cerumen impaction occurs deep in the ear canal at the eardrum, it is often the result of the individual pushing the wax deeper with things such as q-tips or bobby pins. You should never probe into your ear canal to remove wax. Injury to your eardrum can occur as a result of probing in the ear canal. Some medications, stress and exercise can cause the body to process excessive earwax. Symptoms of earwax impaction can include decreased hearing, ear pain, plugged or fullness sensation, tinnitus, itching or dizziness.

 

How Should I Keep My Ears Clean?

If you notice earwax buildup in your ears, there are safe, at home ways to soften the wax. Patients can place a few drops of mineral oil, commercial cerumen softening drops or a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water drops in the ear over the course of a few days. If deep impaction has occurred, softening the wax alone will most likely not remove all of the wax. A person who has an eardrum perforation should not use eardrops to soften their earwax.

Many licensed medical providers have the ability to manually remove earwax. Different methods include suction, water irrigation, or curette removal. The method used varies from person to person depending on the condition of their ear. Consult a physician if you are unsure if you have cerumen impaction. Ear candles are not a safe option to remove earwax. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not approve use of these products.

There is no way to prevent excessive earwax. Individuals who are prone to cerumen impaction should see a doctor at regular intervals to have routine ear cleanings. If you believe you may have cerumen impaction in either ear, contact Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute to set up an appointment for removal by our physician or physician’s assistant.