Category: Blog

OTC Hearing Aids: All You Need to Know

A young woman during an ear check-up with an audiologist with an otoscope in her ear

Want To Know All About OTC Hearing Aids?

After the implementation of bipartisan legislation passed by Congress in October of 2022, OTC (over-the-counter) hearing aids became available in retail stores and drugstores across America.

As people began noticing this new hearing device in their local market, questions quickly arose about OTC hearing aids and how well they work compared to medically prescribed hearing devices. 

The team of audiologists at Excel ENT is here to answer your frequently asked questions so you can be better informed about your hearing options. Understand what OTC hearing aids are, why you may or may not be a good candidate and more. Keep on reading to learn all about the latest buzz in audiology. 

What Are OTC Hearing Aids?

The FDA developed OTC hearing aids for adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. You don’t have to see an audiologist for any testing or need a prescription to get an OTC hearing aid. OTC hearing aids aren’t very customizable compared to prescription hearing aids, but some options have a self-fit feature to try to make your fit as personalized as possible. 

OTC hearing aids are less expensive than prescription hearing aids, but the investment of a personalized hearing solution is well worth the extra money. Additionally, you may end up spending money after purchasing your OTC hearing aid on other models if your initial purchase didn’t fit quite right. At Excel ENT, we can walk you through a full breakdown of the costs associated with a prescription hearing aid, and provide support as you navigate the financial details. 

How Do OTC Hearing Aids Work? 

While OTC hearing aids function similarly to prescription hearing aids, they are somewhat limited in reducing background noise along with other features. The most notable difference between OTC hearing aids and prescription hearing aids is OTC’s lack of customization and computer processing. Your audiologist can program prescription hearing aids to fit your individual needs. Additionally, it’s difficult to understand your own hearing needs without proper testing, and without an expert’s opinion, you may choose a hearing aid that won’t improve your hearing.

Overtime, your hearing can change along with your medical needs, and without an audiologist to help you program your hearing aid along the way—you may continue to face hearing challenges. At Excel ENT, we understand it takes time to program your hearing aid just right, and strive to provide you with an effective solution each time you visit our office. 

Does Insurance Cover My OTC Hearing Aids?

Insurance does not currently cover any type of hearing aid investment. Some Medicaid plans and other third parties may cover the cost of your hearing aids, but coverage varies from state to state. We recommend researching more information about your insurance plan or speaking with your employer about current insurance coverages. 

Though most insurance companies don’t cover the overall cost of a hearing aid, they do cover the costs of your hearing test. So, if you come to an audiologist, like Excel ENT, you can file a claim with your insurance company for coverage. During our evaluation, your provider will ask you to listen to multiple sounds at varying frequencies and perform other tests. You’ll then receive a hearing recommendation based solely on your needs. 

Please note if you decide to purchase an aid, your Exel ENT includes your hearing test in the final cost of your hearing aid solution. 

Can Children Use OTC Hearing Aids?

The FDA doesn’t approve OTC hearing aids for children. Children have specific needs for hearing aids that a certified audiologist must meet that OTC hearing aids cannot. As children grow, their ear size and hearing needs change drastically. Additionally, children require frequent check-ins to ensure developmental and auditory milestones are met. 

At Excel ENT, we can help your child if they struggle with their hearing. We understand that finding a hearing solution for your child is delicate and requires a compassionate, detail-oriented approach. We can fit your child with a customizable hearing aid, provide solutions for chronic ear infections, and much more at Excel ENT.

Do You Recommend OTC Hearing Aids?

At Excel ENT, we don’t recommend OTC hearing aids. However, if you’re experiencing very mild hearing loss and may not need hearing aids yet, OTC hearing aids could be helpful. We always suggest seeing an audiologist for a full hearing test and aid recommendation rather than using over-the-counter aids. OTC, compared to prescription hearing aids, can be the difference between muffled sounds and being able to hear something clearly for the first time in a long time. 

Improve Your Quality of Life with Prescription Hearing Aids

At Excel ENT, we understand it can be frustrating if you’re suffering from hearing challenges. Daily life can quickly become a challenge when we can’t hear our loved ones, the server at the restaurant, or the TV. With our customized hearing solutions and prescription hearing aids, we can help you improve your quality of life. You’ll find a personalized hearing aid to meet your needs and a support team with you every step of the way. Call us at (205) 651-8764 or online to schedule an appointment today!

Your Trusted Audiologists in Birmingham, AL: Excel ENT

Proudly serving Birmingham, AL, and surrounding communities, we’re dedicated to your overall satisfaction. With years of experience, our audiologists are ready and equipped to improve your hearing loss, Tinnitus, Eustachian tube dysfunction, ear infection (otitis media), and other ear ailments. Don’t hesitate to call us today!

Why Do I Have So Much Sinus Pressure & Post-Nasal Drainage?

A woman in an olive green shirt holding her throat in pain while looking at a female doctor with blonde hair in a lab coat.

Do You Have Sinus Pressure & Post-Nasal Drainage?

We all know the dreaded feeling. When you sense unwanted mucus building up in your throat, causing odd tickling sensations, frequent swallowing, and coughing. These symptoms are tell-tale signs of post-nasal drip, which can quickly become frustrating and bothersome. Often, people that experience post-nasal drip have a hard time putting their finger on the cause of this pesky ailment.

Luckily, the team at Excel ENT is experienced in treating cases of post-nasal drip, along with conditions that cause it, such as sinusitis. If you’re wondering why you can’t get rid of the thick mucus in the back of your throat, search no more! We’re breaking down all you need to know about post-nasal drip and how to find relief.

What Is a Post-Nasal Drip?

In your nose and sinuses, mucus filters out harmful particles that you breathe, like dust or allergens. In addition to being the first line of defense, it also keeps tissues moist and protects the linings of important passageways. While mucus production is normal, you shouldn’t be noticing it. But sometimes, an abnormal production of mucus can end up in your throat. If you’re experiencing a build-up of mucus in the back of your throat, you may have post-nasal drip.

Beyond mucus build-up, there are a few more symptoms of this cumbersome ailment. These symptoms include:

  • Frequent swallowing
  • Gurgling or hoarseness
  • Bad breath
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Unpleasant sensations in your throat, like tickling or like something is stuck

What Causes Post-Nasal Drip?

While every case of post-nasal drainage is a little different, there are some frequent causes. The common culprits we see at Excel ENT include:

  • Sinus infections (Sinusitis)
  • Cold
  • Flu
  • Allergies
  • Certain medications
  • Environmental irritants, such as smoke or chemicals
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Perhaps the most common cause of post-nasal drip is a sinus infection. During a sinus infection, the sinus cavities become swollen. Since the mucus can’t drain properly, mucus and pressure build-up. With nowhere to go, the mucus becomes stagnant, and bacteria quickly infects the sinuses and surrounding areas. The disruption of the mucus drainage can sometimes cause post-nasal drip or be an uninvited companion of it.

What Are Treatment Options for Post-Nasal Drip & Sinusitis?

If your symptoms of post-nasal drip or sinusitis have lasted longer than 10 days, or you’re running a fever, we recommend you seek medical care. It can be tempting to continue taking over-the-counter medication or just hope it goes away, but you can significantly improve your quality of life with treatment. If your sinus symptoms have lasted longer than 3 months, you may have chronic sinusitis and should speak with a sinus specialist sooner rather than later.

Various treatment options include prescribed medications, irrigation, and nasal sprays. Every case is different, and you may be recommended other remedies, like surgery, if you’re not responding to other treatments.

Find the Relief You Deserve

At Excel ENT, we’re the nose and throat experts you need. With years of experience, we treat cases of post-nasal drip and chronic sinusitis frequently and can help you find the relief you deserve. We offer innovative treatments to relieve sinus pressure, including balloon sinuplasty and other sinus surgeries. Or, if you’re suffering from post-nasal drainage alone, our team of experts can help you find a remedy with our in-depth evaluations, diagnostics, and treatment options. Don’t wait to get back to 100%! Contact the Excel ENT team today!

Excel ENT: Your Trusted Sinus & Throat Experts in Birmingham, AL

Proudly serving the Birmingham metro area, our team can evaluate, diagnose, and treat a variety of ear, nose, and throat ailments. Call us at 205-386-6453 or contact us online to live a happier, healthier life!


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Asthma Treatment Not Working? You May Have a Vocal Cord Disorder

A man in a brown sweater using an asthma inhaler.

Do You Have A Vocal Cord Disorder?

If you’ve been diagnosed with asthma, you likely received treatments like long-term medications and fast-acting inhalers. And while these treatments are designed to help you breathe easier, they sometimes don’t provide the results they should. Asthma can be scary and frustrating, especially if your symptoms aren’t alleviated with prescribed remedies.

You may have a vocal cord disorder if you haven’t found relief from your asthma treatments. Paradoxical vocal fold motion disorder (PVFMD) is very common but isn’t well known. It causes difficulty breathing, like asthma, but affects the vocal cords instead of the lungs. Because symptoms are similar, receiving an accurate diagnosis can be challenging. In this blog, the experts at Excel ENT discuss signs, symptoms, and treatment for PVFMD, so you can find the relief you deserve.

What Is Paradoxical Vocal Fold Motion Disorder?

Paradoxical vocal fold motion disorder (PVFMD) is a condition that affects the vocal folds. The vocal folds are located in the larynx, also called the voice box. These folds open and close depending on whether you’re breathing or talking. When you’re talking, the vocal folds close together to produce sounds.

On the other hand, during breathing, the vocal folds stay open to allow air to pass through the airway. In cases of PVFMD, the vocal folds close during breathing. Since air can’t pass through like usual, patients with PVFMD feel a sensation of troubled breathing and suffocation.

What Causes Paradoxical Vocal Fold Motion Disorder?

Unfortunately, the causes of PVFMD are mainly unknown. However, some known stressors can cause episodes of PVFMD, including exposure to strong odors, stress, lying flat, temperature changes, and exercise.

Acid reflux and stress may also be associated with PVFMD. If acid travels far enough into the airway, it can irritate the vocal cords, which may cause them not to function correctly. Similarly, stress can cause the larynx to tighten, leading to issues with the vocal folds. In the field of speech-language pathology, research is ongoing to understand more about PVFMD.

What Are Symptoms of Paradoxical Vocal Fold Motion Disorder?

People with PVFMD can experience symptoms in a range of severity, and episodes can last from minutes to hours. Along with troubled breathing, some patients experience the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing in
  • A sensation of a constricted throat, as if breathing through a straw
  • Coughing
  • Noisy breathing
  • Lightheadedness
  • Rough sounding voice
  • Noisy inhale (stridor)

Often, many people are diagnosed with asthma when they are actually experiencing PVFMD. Asthma causes the airway to narrow and tighten because of extra mucus, and there is typically inflammation at the bottom of the airway. Because both conditions focus on difficulty breathing, it can be difficult to acquire an accurate diagnosis.

Asthma patients will find relief with asthma-specific therapy, like inhalers, whereas PVFMD patients will not because the symptoms and causes are different. For example, many patients with PVFMD feel discomfort and tightening in their neck, throat, and upper chest, while asthma patients usually only feel tightness in their chest. One method of differentiation is that those with asthma often wheeze while breathing out, compared to those with PVFMD, who often exhibit a noisy inhale.

How Do You Treat Paradoxical Vocal Fold Motion Disorder?

To diagnose PVFMD, other conditions must be ruled out. A laryngoscopy to examine the vocal folds will rule out other possible causes of airway obstruction. Similarly, how you describe your symptoms will also help your physician with diagnosis.

If you are diagnosed with PVFMD, there are treatments to ease your symptoms. If your PVFMD is associated with acid reflux, you can take medication for your acid reflux, which can alleviate your symptoms of troubled breathing. A speech-language pathologist (SLP) can teach proper breathing techniques to open your airway during episodes of PVFMD. These techniques are called respiratory retraining and are tailored to your specific triggers for ample relief.

Find Relief from Troubled Breathing

If you’ve spoken with a physician about your breathing condition and haven’t found a remedy, we understand that seeking care from another provider can be difficult and frustrating. But, if you or your loved one’s asthma treatments aren’t working, don’t wait to find relief. Our speech-language pathologist at Excel ENT works frequently with patients suffering from PVFMD and can help you find a solution that’s right for you.

Your Trusted Voice & Throat Specialists in Birmingham, AL

You can find an accurate diagnosis and treatment at Excel ENT. With years of experience, our SLP, Amy Pittman, can provide remedies that improve your breathing and quality of life. If you’d like to learn more about PVFMD or want to schedule an appointment, call us at (205) 988-6858 or contact us online and breathe easier!

Breathe Easier This Holiday Season with VivAer®

A woman standing by a Christmas tree with decorations tired, rubbing her nose and eyes, feeling nasal obstruction.

Breathe Easier With VivAer®

The holidays are full of joyful occasions like office parties, family get-togethers, and even cozy moments at home. The last thing you want is difficulty breathing, headaches, and fatigue while celebrating the most wonderful time of the year. We understand how challenging it can be to enjoy the festivities when you don’t feel your best.

If you suffer from difficulty breathing through your nose, fatigue, and headaches, you may have chronic nasal obstruction. Thankfully, VivAer® Nasal Airway remodeling is an innovative, non-invasive treatment designed to improve all your symptoms. In this blog, the team of experts at Excel ENT discusses all you need to know about VivAer® treatment and how it can help you.

What Are the Symptoms of Nasal Obstruction?

Nasal obstruction is caused by the enlargement, or swelling, of certain structures in the nose, like the septum, lateral wall, or turbinates. As these structures swell, the airway size becomes smaller, causing difficulty breathing. If you frequently have trouble breathing through your nose, you may have chronic nasal obstruction.

Some of the common symptoms of nasal obstruction include:

  • Trouble breathing through your nose
  • A sensation of something blocking your nasal passage
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to breathe through your nose during exercise
  • Loud snoring
  • Facial pain or pressure
  • Headaches

If you are experiencing these symptoms, we recommend you contact your primary care doctor. Your primary physician can refer you to an otolaryngologist, also known as an ear, throat, and nose doctor (ENT), who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of nasal obstruction.

How Can VivAer® Help Nasal Obstruction?

The VivAer® Nasal Airway remodeling procedure is an innovative technology that expands nasal passages. This non-invasive, safe treatment can significantly improve your quality of life and allow you to breathe easier.

After numbing the inside of your nose with a local anesthetic, your doctor will insert a small wand into the nasal passage. The low-temperature radiofrequency energy (RF) on the wand’s tip gently expands and remodels damaged or shrunken tissues and valves. With this procedure, doctors can also shrink turbinates, soft bony structures that often swell during cases of nasal allergies. Just a slight increase in surface area with the help of VivAer® can create significant relief and improve airflow for those suffering from chronic nasal obstruction.

What Are the Benefits of VivAer® for Nasal Obstruction?

There are a variety of benefits of the VivAer® procedure, including:

  • Non-invasive procedure: VivAer® involves no cutting and doesn’t damage any surrounding areas.
  • Comfortable treatment: Most people feel minimal to zero discomfort. Some describe a feeling of pressure if anything.
  • Clinically Proven: Over a 2-year clinical study, 97% of patients experienced vast improvements in nasal breathing.
  • No downtime: This treatment is quick and painless, and most people return to regular activities the same day.
  • The outer appearance isn’t affected: As opposed to other nasal surgeries, VivAer® doesn’t alter the appearance of your nose in any way.

Who Is a Candidate for VivAer®?

If you suffer from chronic nasal obstruction, you are most likely a candidate for the VivAer® procedure. Candidates typically have found treatments like medications and nasal dilator strips to be ineffective. Your provider may suggest the Nasal Obstruction Symptom Evaluation (NOSE) test and the Cottle Maneuver test to confirm a diagnosis.

The Cottle Mannuever is a test you can do at home and involves placing two fingertips on your cheek next to each side of your nose, then gently pressing and pulling outward. If you find relief from your nasal passage expanding, VivAer® is likely an excellent treatment option. Depending on your specific condition, there may be other criteria, but your ENT can provide more information about whether VivAer® is suitable for you.

Find the Relief You Deserve from Nasal Obstruction

Don’t settle for another night of nasal airstrips or frustration while trying to breathe through your nose; contact a provider to learn if the VivAer® procedure is right for you. This non-invasive, comfortable treatment can expand your airway in just minutes. Find the relief you deserve, just in time for the holidays, at Excel ENT in Birmingham!

Excel ENT: Sinus Experts in Birmingham AL

If you are suffering from chronic nasal obstruction or another sinus ailment, contact the sinus experts at Excel ENT. With years of experience, Dr. Davis and his team are experts in nose, throat, and ear treatments. Call us at 205-988-6858 or contact us online to find the relief you deserve!

Chronic Cough: Signs, Symptoms, & Treatments

A girl experiencing a cough in a light purple sweater sitting on her couch.

What Are Signs, Symptoms, & Treatments For A Chronic Cough?

This October, flu season, sinus infections, and other seasonal ailments are frequent as we head into the winter months. Many of us experience a cough along with these seasonal sicknesses, and it’s typically nothing to fret about.

But, when is it time to worry about a chronic cough? A cough that just won’t go away can be frustrating and can significantly impact your quality of life. A chronic cough can cause headaches and sleepless nights, and you may wonder if you’ll ever find relief from your pesky cough.

Fortunately, at Excel ENT, our speech-language pathologist, Amy Pittman, encounters many patients who suffer from chronic coughs. Learn more about chronic cough, its common causes, and how Excel ENT’s SLP can help you find a solution.

What is Chronic Cough?

Coughing can help you clear your throat, prevent infections and help protect your airway. But coughs can linger, lasting anywhere from 4 weeks in children and 8 weeks in adults. Usually, a chronic cough is dry and isn’t productive for your airway.

Common Causes of Chronic Cough

Chronic cough can be difficult to diagnose because there are several possible causes. Some of the most common causes include:


When you have asthma, the muscles around your airways constrict. The lining of your airways swells, and your body produces thick mucus in response. Coughing is your body’s way of getting air into those tightened areas. Asthma can be triggered or worsened by infections, weather, stress, allergies, tobacco smoke, medications, exercise, and stress.

Postnasal Drip

One of the most common causes of chronic cough is postnasal drip. Runny mucus drops down your throat if a virus, allergies, dust, chemicals, or inflammation irritate your nasal membrane. The mucus in your throat causes you to cough, and you may experience worsening symptoms at night.


If you’ve recently recovered from a cold, flu, COVID-19, or pneumonia, your cough may remain while your body heals and recovers from the infection. These illnesses can lead to lung inflammation and a lingering cough. To heal itself, your body produces a dry cough to reduce the infection.

Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR)

Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) causes acid from the stomach to travel up the esophagus and into the throat. LPR is commonly confused with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), but if you’re suffering from LPR, you may experience more pain in your throat. LPR may result in many voice problems, like swallowing problems, sinus drainage, and chronic cough.

Irritable Larynx Syndrome (ILS)

Various symptoms, including chronic cough, chronic throat clearing, the feeling of a lump in your throat, and others can be caused by irritable larynx syndrome. In ILS, the larynx (voice box) becomes sensitive to stimuli, including cold air, talking, and more. Common causes of ILS are viral illness, allergies, sinusitis, certain medications, stress, and others.


Smoking negatively affects your lungs, as well as the rest of your body. A chronic cough can be caused by the body attempting to clear out the chemicals that enter the airway and lungs from tobacco. If you stop smoking, you may find relief from your chronic cough and lead a healthier lifestyle.

Testing & Treatment for Chronic Cough

If you’ve been experiencing a cough for longer than 8 weeks, contact your primary care doctor. Regardless of potential causes, if you have a chronic cough that has not been explained or diagnosed, we recommend you seek medical care.

At Excel ENT, our SLP, Amy Pittman, will begin with a consultation to learn the comprehensive history of your chronic cough. For further diagnosis, she may perform a thorough laryngoscopic and stroboscopic examination to examine patterns of vocal fold motion and vocal fold vibration.

Find Relief at Excel ENT

At Excel ENT, we can work to find out what triggers your cough so you can find the relief you deserve. Treatments can vary from medication changes to treatment for medical conditions, such as allergies, asthma, or LPR if those trigger your chronic cough.

The goal of treatment for chronic cough is to give you the tools to manage it better and improve your quality of life, and Amy can teach you more about keeping your vocal cords healthy.

Schedule an Appointment for a Chronic Cough Consultation

Proudly serving the Birmingham area, our team can provide treatment for various ear, nose, and throat ailments. Call us at 205-988-6858 or contact us online to find relief today!

Audiology Awareness: Why Audiologists Help with More Than Hearing Aids

A smiling female audiologist treats an older woman wearing a mustard-colored shirt.

Why Do Audiologists Help With More Than Hearing Aids?

Today, people can buy many types of hearing aids and devices over the counter without ever seeing a doctor. While this may seem like a convenient option, you lose the ability to have your hearing device fitted to your ear, which may make the device less effective.

This October, celebrate National Audiology Awareness Month with Excel ENT by learning about the importance of audiologists and how they can help protect your hearing for years to come.

What Do Audiologists Do?

Audiology became a profession following World War II as our Veterans were returning home with hearing loss. As a result, the field of clinical audiology was formalized to aid many young, healthy soldiers who needed rehabilitation.

Today, the role of audiology continues to grow and expand. Audiologists specialize in all things related to hearing health, including diagnosing any hearing issues, offering treatment plans, managing and diagnosing balance disorders, and custom fitting hearing aids and hearing protection for newborns to senior adults.

As technology has progressed, we’ve been able to treat hearing loss better and better. However, there is still no replacement for natural, healthy hearing, but audiologists across the globe are working to create new and improved hearing models and forms of protection.

Why Are Audiologists Important for People With Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss is associated with a myriad of negative outcomes, such as:

  • Dementia
  • Social isolation
  • Balance issues
  • Cognitive decline

The best way to prevent these issues associated with hearing loss is to protect your ears from damage. The most effective way to protect your ears from harm is using properly fitting hearing protection. Custom hearing protection is more than just hearing aids; they’re an investment in your future hearing.

Custom Hearing Protection

While it may seem simple, hearing protection doesn’t function properly if not used correctly by the user. For example, most people do not properly insert foam ear plugs into their ear canal, making them almost useless. At Excel ENT, we are here to help you protect your ears and prevent hearing loss with custom hearing protection.

Custom hearing protection takes the guesswork out of proper fit, with the protection being molded individually to your ear. At EXCEL ENT, we offer two types of ear protection, active and passive.


Our active hearing protection boasts a multitude of benefits, including:

  • Battery-powered
  • Rechargeable
  • Disposable Batteries
  • Apple and Android connectivity

While using active hearing protection, the device provides up to 30 dB amplification to hear what’s happening around you up to 22 dB NRR (noise reduction rating).


Passive hearing protection comes in two types for your unique lifestyle. These two types include

  • Filtered: We recommend filtered hearing protection for hunting, music, and other special situations.
  • Solid: Solid hearing protection is excellent for swimming, sleeping, and general use.

Make an appointment to have ear mold impressions made and discuss the different options for hearing protection. Project yourself from hearing damage today!

Custom Hearing Protection: Testimonials

Come and see our audiologists and have custom testing, custom fitting, and personalized settings for your hearing devices. Many patients at Excel ENT are already receiving the benefits from custom hearing protection.

When asked about his custom hearing protection, a patient said, “I am confident that I am maximally protected while still being able to hear conversations.” Another patient noted that her customer hearing protection is “so easy to insert and does an excellent job [protecting my hearing].” Discover the confidence and ease that comes along with custom hearing protection from Excel ENT!

Invest In Your Hearing Care at Excel ENT

Proudly serving the Birmingham area, our staff at Excel ENT is committed to your well-being. Receive custom testing, custom fitting, and unique settings for your hearing devices to protect your hearing and prevent any long-term effects from improper hearing protection. Call us at 205-988-6858 or schedule an appointment online today!

The Newest Hearing Device on the Market: Phonak Audéo™

A man video chats a woman through Phonak hearing device.

New Hearing Device: Phonak Audeo™

In today’s world, technology is constantly evolving. With new technologies, the multitude of options for hearing aids can feel overwhelming. It can be difficult to choose the device that will bring you the most comfort, security, and best sound quality. Thankfully, Phonak Audéo™ Lumity hearing aids combine clear, reliable hearing solutions with the latest technology features.

At Excel ENT our team welcomes growth and continual improvement of our patient’s hearing by embracing the latest and greatest technology. The most recent breakthrough in hearing technology involves the Phonak Audéo™ Lumity hearing aid. Learn more about this innovative hearing device and how our team at Excel ENT can help you benefit from cutting-edge technology.

Phonak Audéo™ Hearing Devices

For over 70 years, Phonak has been distributing life-changing hearing solutions for people in over 100 countries. Phonak hearing aids amplify sounds for the user, emphasizing sounds from specific directions, eliminating background noise, and compressing frequencies. Phonak boasts multiple kinds of hearing devices, each tailored to different kinds of hearing loss for optimal results. Discover Phonak’s latest device that delivers an unmatched hearing experience.

Phonak Audéo™ Lumity Hearing Aids: Benefits

Phonak’s already state of the art sound quality has been improved once again. The hearing aid’s all new Smart Speech feature allows for even better speech understanding and clarity in a variety of difficult listening situations. The Phonak Audéo™ Lumity hearing aids are available in a range of 8 colors, so you’re bound to find a shade that suits you. Beyond the range of colors, Phonak Audéo™ Lumity hearing aids host a variety of benefits.

Crisp Sound

Hear the sounds of the world, uninterrupted, in real-time. Phonak Audéo™ Lumity hearing aids have been scientifically engineered to deliver crisp, rich sounds.

Innovative Technology

Featuring the ActiveVent Receiver, the Phonak Audéo™ Lumity hearing aids automatically filter noise in hard-to-hear environments, or when streaming media, for optimized hearing and a naturalness to your own voice when speaking. Never struggle to hear in a noisy environment and enjoy exceptional sound when watching a movie with automatic, state-of-the-art sound technology.

Speech Understanding

It can be challenging to hear someone from far away, or if they speak softly. Thankfully, the Phonak Audéo™ Lumity hearing aids feature speech-enhancing technology so you can interact with friends, family, and others, without worrying about not hearing them.

Personalized Noise Canceling

If noise is coming from all sides of a room, the sound can feel overwhelming. With personalized noise canceling, Phonak Audéo™ Lumity hearing aid users can personalize noise-canceling settings at the drop of a hat.


Phonak Audéo™ Lumity hearing aids are waterproof and sweatproof in select models. Hearing devices that are fully waterproof not only allow you to participate in water activities, but also protect your device if you are prone to excessive sweating or live in a particularly rainy climate. The device can be submerged in up to 50cm, or 1.64 feet of water while delivering still crisp sound.

Amongst these features, Phonak Audéo™ Lumity hearing aids boast health tracking, connection to smartphones and TVs, and a rechargeable battery.

Connect with Phonak Audéo™

With the myPhonak app, users can control their hearing aids right from their mobile devices. There are a variety of features in the app, including remote control, support from your hearing care professional, capturing important health data, and providing status updates on your devices. Experience cutting-edge technology for full customization of your hearing device with the myPhonack app.

Phonak Audéo™ at Excel ENT

Take advantage of technological advances at Excel ENT. Discover crisper sound, customizable features, and stress-free hearing with Phonak Audéo™ Lumity hearing aids. Dr. Davis and his team can answer any questions you may have about fittings, models, and the next steps. Begin your journey to hearing the world uninterrupted today!

Learn More About Hearing Devices & Fittings at Excel ENT

Experience the benefits of technology like never before at Excel ENT. Technologically advanced hearing aids are a great option to consider, and Dr. Davis will work with you to determine what model is best for you. Schedule an appointment online, or call to discuss coming in at a time that’s best for you at 205-988-6858.

How To Deal With The Feeling That Something Is Stuck In Your Throat

Woman holding her throat and experiencing globus sensation.

Why Does It Feel Like Something Is Stuck In Your Throat?

There is nothing worse than the feeling that something is stuck in the back of your throat only to find there’s nothing physically there. This sensation, called the Globus sensation, can be alarming and frequently bothersome.

Most often, there’s no need to fret if you’re experiencing this feeling! Globus sensation is fairly common. Learn from our team at Excel ENTof Alabama all about the Globus sensation and when it’s time to speak with a doctor.

What is Globus Sensation?

Globus sensation, also called Globus pharyngeus, is the feeling of a blockage, or lump, in the back of the throat, even when there is no physical blockage. The condition used to be called Globus hystericus, because doctors thought that people complaining of this sensation were “hysterical”. In today’s world, doctors are more knowledgeable about the Globus sensation. We now know that the symptoms are very real and that they can be caused by a physical or psychological issue in the body.

Globus sensation can be accompanied by soreness and swelling in the throat, persistent clearing of the throat, hoarseness, or a cough you just can’t shake. Globus sensation is a little different for everyone, and not all symptoms have to be present for the diagnosis of Globus sensation.

What Causes Globus Sensation?

The most common causes of Globus sensation are anxiety and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Usually, when a person holds back strong feelings or emotions, the sensation arises and becomes recurrent. Likewise, those dealing with GERD experience their stomach acid traveling up the food pipe and into the throat, which can cause Globus sensation. Some other causes of Globus sensation include medication side effects, enlarged thyroid gland, or cervical spondylitis. Other reasons for this sensation continue to be discovered, so if you’re experiencing a Globus sensation, it’s never a bad idea to speak with a doctor.

How Can I Deal with Globus Sensation?

There isn’t a specific treatment for Globus sensation, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have options to ease symptoms. We recommend speaking with your doctor about evaluations for reflux or other potential causes of Globus sensation. It may also be worthwhile to speak with a speech therapist about other treatment options for relaxing your throat.

When you encounter symptoms of Globus sensation, swallow with or without water, yawn with your mouth wide open, and move your jaw up and down to help with discomfort. Additionally, drinking more water can help relax your throat and decrease the feeling of a mass.

When Should I see a Doctor About the Feeling that there’s Something Stuck in my Throat?

The sensation of a large lump in the back of your throat can be frightening as well as aggravating. If you are feeling an unexplained lump in your throat, we recommend you see a doctor for evaluation. Your provider will use a flexible endoscope that is passed through the nose to examine your throat and be able to provide treatment if necessary.

Find Relief from Globus Sensation

Our leading physicians at Excel ENT can help evaluate your symptoms and create a treatment plan for many throat conditions, including the Globus sensation. There may be an explanation for your discomfort, and our qualified team of professionals is ready to help you get the treatment you deserve. With years of experience, our team of otolaryngologists are knowledgeable about providing quality, effective care.

Heal Voice & Throat Conditions at Excel ENT

Proudly serving the Birmingham area, our team can provide treatment for a variety of ailments, specializing in ear, nose, and throat conditions. Call us at 205-988-6858 or contact us online to find relief today!

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Cutting Edge Biologic Options for Sinus Problems


Over the years, we have made many strides in improving the way we are able to treat sinus issues. One common problem that has continued to be a challenge is treating chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis (nasal polyps). 

When it comes to these conditions, it is possible that the future of better disease control may involve the use of biologics, and we’re thrilled to have these new options for our patients at Excel ENT.

The Basics of Biologics

Biologic response modifiers are a class of medications that treat conditions such as nasal polyps by targeting specific components of an individual’s immune system. They can modify the chemical responses of the immune system that are causing inflammation thought to be responsible for the growth of nasal polyps.

Biologics are made from living cells. Unlike many other pharmaceutical drugs, they are not synthesized chemically or from plants. They also don’t typically come in the form of a tablet but as a solution that has to be injected.

Biologics can be antibodies, enzymes, hormones, or other types of biologic components or cells (even viruses). Vaccines and insulin are types of biologics that have been available for many years.

Dupixent (dupilumab) is a biologic approved for the treatment of nasal polyps in the U.S., and it’s one that we’ve been offering for a while at Excel ENT. Another new biologic option we have is called Nucala.

Things to Know About Biologics for Nasal Polyps

Focusing primarily on Dupixent, as it’s the biologic option we’ve been offering the longest, here are some of the details we want our patients to know about.

Administered via injection

Biologics involve an injection. We will teach you how to do this, and you will either give yourself a shot or have a family member give you the injection. While there may be some discomfort with this, it often decreases over time. Injection site reactions, such as pain, redness, or swelling can be easily treated using cold or hot pads and over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen.

Possible side effects

As with all medications, biologics used for the treatment of nasal polyps may have side effects that inhibit their use by certain individuals. As with almost all medications, it is possible to have a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Signs of this type of reaction may include swelling of the face and lips, difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, and wheezing.

When common side effects occur, they often improve on their own over time as you continue your treatment. These side effects might include injection site reactions, eye inflammation, increased white blood cell counts, sore throat, stomach problems, cold sores, joint pain, insomnia, and toothaches.

Not the best option for everyone

Dupixent is untested in individuals under the age of 6 for any use; it is approved only in individuals over the age of 18 for the treatment of nasal polyps. Women who are pregnant, those who wish to become pregnant, or those who are breastfeeding should not consider biologics for nasal polyps since they are also untested in these individuals. 

Your insurance might cover biologics

Your health insurance might require that you provide ample documentation if you are prescribed a biologic. We will work with you to provide any necessary documentation required by your insurance company. Even though there may be extra steps in the process, many companies ultimately cover the medications.

Additionally, many drug companies including the manufacturer of Dupixent offer assistance to people wanting to try new options. Copay cards or other programs may reduce the cost of the medication for individuals who apply.

Find Out If Biologics Are a Possibility for Treating Sinus Problems at Excel ENT of Alabama

Biologics are a cutting edge option that will only continue to grow when it comes to treating sinus problems, such as rhinosinusitis and nasal polyps. It’s a great option to consider, and Dr. Davis will work with you to determine if it’s a viable option in your case. Schedule an appointment online, or call to discuss coming in at a time that’s best for you: 205-988-6858.

Dangers of Earbud & Earpod Use

dangers of earbuds

From teenagers and adolescents to working adults, everyone is using either earbuds or earpods these days. These options are like tiny speakers that fit inside the ears, and while they are convenient and useful, there are some concerns when it comes to your ears and your hearing. 

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, and it’s the perfect time to address this topic, especially since kids are getting out of school for the summer. They will be looking for ways to keep themselves entertained, and they may be using these products more often.

Dangers of Earbuds & Earpods

The dangers with these products revolve primarily around listening to music that’s too loud and doing so for too long. 

These are the two main concerns:

Otitis Externa

This is an ear infection in the ear canal, commonly called “swimmers ear,” and the condition can be caused by repeated, frequent use of in-ear headphones. Options that seal off the ear to eliminate airflow are especially concerning as these can increase the risk of otitis externa. It can be a very painful infection that may require medical treatment.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Sounds at 78 to 132 decibels (dB) have the potential to cause damage to the delicate hair cells that respond to the sounds we hear. This damage can show up as tinnitus (ringing) and/or hearing loss (difficulty hearing and understanding what is said). The louder the sound, the less time it takes to damage your hearing.

Earpods can reach levels of 102 to 112 dB. At levels that high, damage to your hearing can occur in as much as 30 minutes to as little as 2 minutes. As many as one in five teenagers already have noise induced hearing loss from exposure to loud sounds. This is 30% higher than 20 years ago.

Signs that what you’re listening to is too loud:

  • You must raise your voice to be heard
  • You can’t hear or understand someone that’s three feet away
  • Speech around you sounds muffled or dull after you leave the noisy area
  • You have pain or ringing in your ears after you hear the noise (tinnitus) that lasts for a few minutes or a few days

How to Protect Hearing When Using Earbuds or Earpods

During the month of May and throughout the summer, be sure that what you are listening to and what your children are listening to is not too loud. For kids especially, the time they spend each day using earbuds or earpods should be limited. 

Here are some specific things you can do to protect your hearing:

  • Frequently wash earbuds with rubbing alcohol and allow them to dry completely before putting them back in the ear.
  • Use bone conduction headphones that leave the ear open and do not create an environment that’s ideal for infections to grow.
  • Set a volume limit on phones or tablets to reduce your exposure to loud sounds.
  • Take a break from listening to music with earbuds or earpods.
  • Give your ears time to rest and recover from exposure to sound so you will avoid hitting that “maximum noise dose” that puts you at greater risk for hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Wear earplugs when around loud sounds, such as when you are doing yard work, going to concerts, sporting events, and more.
  • Consider having custom earplugs made that are more comfortable than standard foam ear plugs.
  • Get an annual hearing test or a baseline test so you can track your hearing health.

Check Your Hearing or Address Hearing Problems at Excel ENT of Alabama

Remember that there is no cure for hearing loss or tinnitus, so it’s crucial that you protect your hearing starting as early as possible. You want your hearing to last a lifetime! If you’d like to schedule a hearing test or baseline test, we can help you with that at Excel ENT. Schedule an appointment online, or call to discuss coming in at a time that’s best for you: 205-988-6858.