Category: Hearing aids

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.

Major Jumps in Hearing Device Technology You Should Know About

hearing device technology

New Hearing Device Technology at Excel ENT of Alabama


The world of hearing devices can be a little confusing. There are so many different brands and so many features to consider. While hearing aids are available by mail order or from some “big box” retailers, you are missing out on so much with those options. 

Instead of going those routes, there are several reasons why you should purchase your hearing aids directly from Excel ENT of Alabama. We provide a customized fitting for your hearing aid, which is crucial to optimum hearing success. We also stay up-to-date on the latest advancements in hearing aid technology and which hearing devices are the best. 

We are big fans of all the hearing aids we offer, and we can help you find the right one. Recently, there have been some big advancements in technology with two of our favorite brands!

New Features of Phonak Hearing Devices 

The newest Phonak hearing aids in the Paradise line feature a brand new chip (the PRISM chip). In the hearing aid world, this is a big jump in technology and provides more processing power, which translates to better, faster, and smarter. 

Phonak has also recently launched a new hearing aid in the Paradise family that is called Audeo Paradise Life. It is the first fully rechargeable waterproof hearing aid. This is important not so much for the fact that it is waterproof, but more so in terms of thinking about technology being susceptible to moisture, sweat, dust, or debris.

They have also made improvements to their Bluetooth connection. We are now able to have more devices paired to the hearing aids and have two devices actively paired at the same time. In addition, Phonak hearing aids are made for all Bluetooth connectivity. This means that if you have Bluetooth on your phone, you should be able to connect to your hearing aids for streaming phone calls and audio regardless of the specific phone you have.

There is a new processing feature within these hearing aids called Motion Sensor which simply means that the hearing aids can tell when a user is moving or walking around and will automatically change its processing of the sound accordingly.

Tap Control is another feature that can be enabled in these hearing aids which allows a patient to activate voice assistant, such as Siri or Google; accept or end phone calls; and pause/resume streaming by tapping on the hearing aid instead of having to get the phone out or press the button on the hearing aid

Lastly, Phonak also recently added a new CROS-P hearing aid that is compatible with the Paradise hearing aids. CROS hearing aids are used for patients with single sided deafness where they do not have usable hearing in one ear (also called an un-aidable ear). They also work well for patients who have normal hearing in the other ear or hearing loss that can be treated with a hearing aid.

New Features of Oticon Hearing Devices

In this line, Oticon More hearing aids are their newest option, and they have provided some interesting stats. Oticon More provides 20% more speech information compared to two of their top competitors.

Conversation is difficult in complex listening environments and then hearing loss makes it even harder. Their goal is to provide as much speech information to the brain as possible. To do this, Oticon More adapts faster to provide important details to the patient as conditions within their environment change.

Oticon also has a personalization process that I can use during an initial fitting that involves me having the patient listen to different sound clips and choosing their preferences. Based on these results, the hearing aid programming will take those preferences into consideration.

Find this New Hearing Device Technology at Excel ENT of Alabama

We are happy to answer questions about these hearing aid advancements and teach you how to use all the features. Getting a custom-fitted hearing aid can truly be a life-changing decision, and we’re here to help however we can! Schedule an appointment online, or call to discuss coming in at a time that’s best for you: 205-988-6858.

Get to Know Excel ENT of Alabama’s Newest Audiologist Helen Lee Miles

Excel Ent sinus surgery

Inspired by her aunt and uncle who were both audiologists, Helen Lee Miles fell in love with this field of work at a young age. She is our newest audiologist at Excel ENT of Alabama and specializes in adult and pediatric diagnostic evaluations. She also has a special interest in hearing aids and aural rehabilitation.

From day to day, Dr. Miles diagnoses and treats hearing and balance problems for people of all ages. Once she has a full understanding of your type and degree of hearing loss, she will discuss your results, next steps, and/or treatment options using our comprehensive list of audiology services.

Dr. Miles may also fit patients with hearing devices and assistive listening devices, and she specializes in education regarding hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance system dysfunction.

Learn More About Helen Lee Miles, Excel ENT Audiologist

With more knowledge about what an audiologist is, what they do, and how they help, get to know more about Dr. Miles.

What do you love most about your job at Excel ENT?

Getting to meet and getting to know various people and having conversations helps me help them. It brings me joy to help people function better in their everyday lives.

What is the most important thing for your patients to know about you, and what’s your passion? 

That I care about what they care about. I try to listen to where they are in their journey and find out what’s important to them. This allows me to help them reach their goals and get to a place where they want to be with their hearing.

Hearing aids and hearing aid fittings are my true passion. Patients come in frustrated, and I can help them change that. I can make a difference in their lives, and I love that!

When should a patient schedule an appointment with you, and what can they expect at a consultation?

If you are experiencing difficulties hearing or understanding when someone is speaking to you. Changes in hearing or asking others to repeat things is often an indicator that you may need to see me. Also, if you find that you are intentionally avoiding situations where you need to communicate with others, that’s a big red flag. 

At a consultation, I will examine the interior of the ears and do a full hearing test to discover the amount of hearing loss. If a hearing aid is appropriate, I ask questions to get to know the patient more and determine what is essential to them in a hearing aid, such as BlueTooth technology or having a rechargeable option. We will talk about our 30-day trial period that allows them to feel confident they are getting the right hearing aid. 

Personal Notes About Dr. Miles

Dr. Miles grew up in Phenix City, Alabama, and started her education as an undergrad at the University of Alabama, where she received her B.A. in Communicative Disorders. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with Honors and continued her education at the University of Memphis, where she earned her Audiology Doctorate. 

After getting married in March of 2020, she, her husband, and their chocolate lab moved to the Birmingham area. When not at work, Dr. Miles enjoys reading and painting. While she once thought she might want to be a teacher, that passion comes into her work every day as she teaches her patients about hearing loss, improved communication, and much more.

Discover how the team at Excel ENT of Alabama can help manage hearing problems, from minor to more serious conditions.

If you have hearing issues or think it may be time for a hearing test, Dr. Miles will be happy to help however she can. To schedule an appointment with one of our Birmingham ENT specialists, call us at (205) 988-6858, or send us an appointment request.

Frequently Asked Questions about hearing and hearing aids

Being fitted for hearing aids by Excel ENT of Alabama

FAQ’s About Hearing Aids


Did you know that people who need hearing aids wait an average of seven years before actually getting their hearing checked? This is primarily because of deeply held societal issues with the stigma behind looking “old” with a hearing aid.

In this blog, we share with you some of the Frequently Asked Questions our patients have regarding hearing and hearing aids. Hopefully, one of these questions will answer yours!

How do I know if I need to get my hearing checked?

This is a top FAQ as patients try to gauge just how bad their hearing should be before they come in and see our audiologist. Three reasonably common clues are: 

  1. Having a hard time hearing in business meetings
  2. Turning the television up really loud and/or turning on closed captioning
  3. More difficulty hearing children and women than men

How can hearing aids help with tinnitus?

Some hearing aids can provide relief for the ringing and buzzing tinnitus sufferers experience with tinnitus. White noise and other sounds (such as ocean waves, for example) can be programmed into hearing aids to provide tinnitus relief.

I can purchase hearing aids at big-box retailers for less money – why should I buy hearing aids from you?

There are several reasons why you should purchase your hearing aids directly from Excel ENT. A customized fitting for your hearing aid is crucial to optimum hearing success, and you won’t get this from mail order or big-box retailers. Basically, with hearing aids, there is no such thing as “one size fits all”!  

What can I expect during a hearing test appointment?

First of all, it is not painful at all! We will first sit down with you and ask some specific questions about the different challenges you’ve experienced. We will look inside your ears, possibly with a video device. You will go into a soundproof booth, and we will administer an audiometry test so that we can identify the frequencies you cannot or have difficulty hearing. 

Hopefully, the answers to these frequently asked questions give you the boost and encouragement you need to pick up the phone and make an appointment to come see us today!

Get a 30-day reduced cost trial today on hearing aids from ExcelENT of Alabama in Birmingham, AL

If you’re looking for a new hearing aid, don’t put off making an appointment. We can conduct testing and get you fitted with a hearing aid that meets your exact desires and goals. 

Enjoy hearing the TV again and listening to simple conversations with ease. Click here to schedule an appointment online, or call one of our caring office staff to discuss coming in at a time that’s best for you: 205-988-6858. 

We are centrally located in the Birmingham market, and we treat all types of issues dealing with the ear, nose, and throat. Patients rave about our results, and our compassionate clinical staff will resolve your problems with the utmost care and professionalism. Reach out to us today! 

Swallowing and throat problems: how they are found and treated?

Excel ENT patient with swallowing or voice problems

Swallowing & Throat Problems


Have you ever had the feeling of food getting stuck in your throat while eating? Do you have a habit of frequent throat-clearing? Or perhaps you even have choking spells, frequently late at night?

If you’ve experienced one of these situations, you’ve probably imagined the worst-case scenario: “Something is really wrong with me” or “I must have some horrible condition.”

Well, would you believe these types of scenarios are often related to swallowing disorders or voice problems? 

“Speech and swallowing are very complex and dynamic muscle activities that are often taken for granted,” according to Excel ENT’s Speech Pathologist Amy Schiwitz with Excel ENT, located in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. “What people imagine is a horrible problem that can be corrected by either simple repetitive treatments or minor surgeries to correct these issues.”

Swallowing problems

You will want to seek out assistance from a throat specialist if you are experiencing any of the following swallowing problems:

  • A feeling of food getting stuck
  • Coughing or choking while eating
  • Gurgling wet voice quality after swallowing food
  • Pain while swallowing
  • Inability to swallow

It is estimated that around 15 million Americans suffer from some type of swallowing problem.  

We realize that these swallowing problems can be scary, so we take your symptoms seriously. We will work hard to reassure our patients they are not alone! In most cases, swallowing problems are not serious. 

Voice issues

A voice specialist can help you when you are experiencing one of the following types of voice issues:

  • Trouble with the sound of your voice: 
    • Your voice cracks or breaks
    • Your voice cannot hit the highs and lows in your voice range anymore
    • Your vocal cords tire easily
    • Your voice sounds breathy, husky, or hoarse
  • Sensations in the throat, such as: 
    • A throat tickle, 
    • When your throat is dry, burns, aches, or is tight 
    • The feeling of a lump in the throat or a “frog in the throat”
    • Swallowing problems
    • Post-nasal dripping (nose fluids that drip down the throat)
  • Pain – dry, irritating cough; choking spells (often at night); ear or jaw pain
  • Other symptoms: difficulty breathing, frequent throat clearing, feeling of fullness in the neck muscles or glands in the throat, coughing up blood

If you are experiencing one of these types of issues, you are not alone. Approximately 7.5 million people in the United States have trouble using their voices, so it’s not as uncommon as you might think. A voice specialist knows exactly what to do to diagnose your exact problem and develop a treatment plan for you that will reduce or eliminate your voice issues.

How are swallowing problems and voice issues diagnosed?

The type of swallowing or voice issue you have is the determining factor in diagnosing the problem. Once our voice and throat specialist reaches this diagnosis, we can create a specialized treatment plan just for you.

We use some of the most state-of-the-art diagnostic procedures in the state of Alabama to determine the root cause of your issues. 

Swallowing problems and diagnostics

At Excel ENT, we use a very cool tool called the Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES). How it works: we place a very small endoscope in your nose, and Amy Pittman slips it down to the area just above your throat and larynx/upper airway. Using this tool, she gets the chance to time the speed and coordination of foods or liquids you swallow.

You’ll actually be awake for this straightforward procedure and will be in a seated position. Amy Pittman will spray your nose and throat with an anesthetic so you won’t even feel the endoscope going down. The process of slipping the endoscope down your throat is pretty fast. The test won’t even take more than an average of 20 minutes. Some patients report a feeling of mild discomfort or a gagging sensation, but the anesthetic usually prevents this.

She will probably give you something to swallow during this procedure. She will have you slightly change positions so that she can give you visual feedback on the problem. Her diagnosis is pretty fast after this procedure. You’ll likely know within the same appointment what the problem is.

Voice issues and diagnostics

As far as diagnosing voice and vocal issues, there are a variety of approaches that Amy will use to determine the origin of the issue you face. Here are just a few of the diagnostics that could make up the plan to discern the problem and develop a treatment plan:

  • Digital Strobe Voice Analyzer – this is where you speak into a microphone, and your voice then gets measured for different types of data we gather. 
  • Video stroboscopic evaluation – this is a painless endoscopic procedure that lets Amy look at your vocal cords from the inside and take a look at their motion and vibration when you speak. First, she will spray a numbing antiseptic in your nose and throat so you will not feel the scope. Then, she will insert the flexible scope through your nose and down to your vocal cords. That way, she can use the camera’s rapidly flashing light to see your vocal cords opening and closing in slow motion while you make different sounds as she instructs. The procedure only takes about a half-hour from start to finish, and it’s done right here in our offices. Patients sometimes report that the scope feels “weird,” but you won’t experience any pain because of the numbing antiseptic we use before the procedure.

So we’ve learned that I have a swallowing problem or a voice issue. So what’s next?

So with voice issues, we usually prescribe what we call “voice treatments.” When practiced enough over time, these are exercises that teach you to become aware of your vocal production. You can then exercise different ways of speaking to help your voice issue become minimized and eventually go away.

In much the same way as an athlete works out different muscle groups to excel at their sport of choice, you’ll actually be working out your larynx in the same kind of way! The duration and types of exercises will vary by patient and also from the kind of diagnosis you receive from the diagnostic procedures by which you were evaluated. Your result will be an improved way of “voicing” that doesn’t strain or cause undue stress on the vocal cords. 

Swallowing issues are treated based upon our findings from the FEES procedure you underwent. There could be a variety of different types of treatments for swallowing issues. For example, there might just be some foods that are triggering your swallowing problems and should be avoided in the future. Or maybe you’ll need to learn to position yourself differently while eating to prevent your swallowing issues. You may even need to avoid liquids with a certain thickness. There are many other potential remedies Amy might prescribe to assist you in overcoming your swallowing issues.

So now you know. Your swallowing and vocal issues don’t have to be a big, scary deal. With some simple diagnostic tests, evaluations from Amy and Dr. Davis, and prescribed treatments and exercises, you’ll have your swallowing and vocal issues resolved in no time at all!

Schedule a swallowing or vocal evaluation at Excel ENT of Alabama

Don’t put off making an appointment with ExcelENT’s Speech-Language Pathologist Amy Pittman if you are experiencing swallowing or voice problems. Together with Dr. Christopher Davis, Amy can diagnose your issue and get you back to normal in no time. Click here to schedule an appointment online, or call one of our caring office staff to discuss coming in at a time that’s best for you: 205-988-6858. 

We are centrally located in the Birmingham market in Vestavia Hills, and we treat all types of issues dealing with the ear, nose, and throat. Patients rave about our results, and our compassionate clinical staff will resolve your problems with the utmost care and professionalism. Reach out to us today! 

Buying the perfect hearing aids: things you never thought about asking

hearing aids fitted by the audiologist at Excel ENT of Alabama

Hearing Aids


You’ve resigned yourself to the fact that it’s time to get a hearing aid. You’re tired of having to turn captions on the TV so you can “hear” what they’re saying. You’re embarrassed to keep saying “what?” every time someone asks you a question. Hearing someone through their mask is almost impossible, as is listening to a conversation when there is any background noise at all.

So, congratulations on your decision to improve the quality of your life with a hearing aid! The only regret you’re going to have is that you didn’t choose to do it sooner. 

But when purchasing a hearing aid, where in the world do you even start? There are so many different decisions to be made, so many other brands to buy, and so many various features to consider. Will people be able to notice you have a hearing aid in? Will it have Bluetooth features that allow you to answer phone calls and listen to music through it too? Or do they make hearing aids with none of those newfangled things on them – just a simple hearing device?

Of course, our team at Excel ENT, including our audiologist, Dr. Helen Lee Miles, is here to help you make the right choice when it comes to the hearing aid that best suits your lifestyle and needs. 

We understand you probably don’t know what you don’t know. That’s why we’ve created a primer for you that outlines all the things you’ll need to consider when purchasing a hearing aid. Of course, we’ll be right with you every step of the way to evaluate what’s important to you and help you make the best selection. 

Are you a technology geek? You’ll be blown away at what some hearing aids can do.

Hearing aids these days are much more than just devices that allow for better speech understanding. You can do so many more things than you ever imagined with a variety of brands.  

Look for technology options such as:

  1. Listening to music through your mobile phone. The hearing aid in this scenario becomes like wireless headphones! 
  2. Many also allow you to make hands-free phone calls right from your hearing aids.
  3. Several of our hearing aid options allow you to stream crystal-clear stereo sound from the television directly to your ears — some allow this feature from up to 23 feet away!
  4. Many hearing aids come with apps that work from your mobile devices, allowing you to get real-time hearing aid adjustment in real-life environments (like restaurants, meetings, work, and school.)

Who knew, right? There are so many options to choose from, and Dr. Miles will help you choose the hearing aid that is best for your needs.

Your Hearing Aid Fitting

To ensure a proper fit for your hearing device, Dr. Miles will take measurements of your ear to determine the correct size for the in-ear receiver. She will use your audiogram (results from your hearing test) to assist in programming your hearing aids.

Once you try on your hearing aid, Dr. Miles will check for a good acoustic and physical fit. While speaking with Dr. Miles and testing out the sound, she will fine-tune the hearing aids. Her goal is to ensure that patients hear speech appropriately based on their hearing loss and are perceiving it well at a comfortable volume.

Get a 30-day hearing aid trial today from ExcelENT of Alabama in Birmingham, AL

During each week of your 30-day trial, you’ll come back to visit with Dr. Miles for a hearing aid tuning. Throughout your trial, you can test out each device to determine which is the perfect fit for your lifestyle and hearing needs.

If you’re looking for a new hearing aid, don’t put off making an appointment. We can conduct testing and get you fitted with a hearing aid that meets your exact desires and goals. 

Click here to schedule an appointment online, or call one of our caring office staff to discuss coming in at a time that’s best for you: 205-988-6858. 

We are centrally located in the Birmingham market and we treat all types of issues dealing with the ear, nose, and throat. Patients rave about our results, and our compassionate clinical staff will resolve your problems with the utmost care and professionalism. Reach out to us today! 


6 hearing aid myths debunked

Hearing device myths debunked by ExcelENT of Alabama

Hearing Aid Myths


“Hearing devices are only for old people.” “I hear just fine without a hearing aid.” “Hearing devices are expensive.” “Hearing aids never work well.” 

These are just a few of the many misconceptions surrounding hearing aids. Though millions of people experience hearing loss, the concept of wearing a hearing device remains fairly misunderstood. 

Below we debunk 6 common myths about hearing aids!

Myth 1: Hearing aids are only for old people. 

While this is one of the most common myths about hearing aids, it could not be further from the truth. Age-related hearing loss is common, but people of all ages experience hearing loss. In fact, more than 5 percent of the world’s population struggles with hearing loss. Hearing loss can be caused by aging, injury, illness, infection, and noise

Myth 2: My hearing isn’t bad enough for a hearing device. 

Do you struggle to hear conversations? Do people have to repeat themselves several times when talking to you? These are two common indicators of hearing loss. Believe it or not, even mild hearing loss can impact your day-to-day life. Hearing aids can assist people with mild to severe hearing loss. Take this quick quiz to determine if you have hearing loss. 

Myth 3: Hearing aids completely restore your hearing. 

Unfortunately, hearing aids are not designed to completely cure hearing loss but to minimize the effects of hearing loss. Modern hearing aids include a microphone that hears the sounds around you, an amplifier that increases the volume of the sounds, and a receiver that sends the sound signals into the ear. These components work together to improve your ability to hear and communicate. 

Myth 4: Hearing devices are bulky and ugly. 

Many people assume that wearing a hearing aid will be too noticeable because they are big and bulky. However, today’s hearing aids are considerably smaller and more discreet than ever before. 

Myth 5: Hearing aids are too expensive. 

The reality is that purchasing a hearing aid is an investment in your health and quality of life. While you may be tempted to purchase a less-expensive hearing aid online, you may do yourself more harm than good. It’s vital to see an audiologist for a hearing aid fitting in order to maximize your ability to hear. 

Excel ENT of Alabama values and complies with best practice guidelines for hearing aid fittings. New hearing aid technology is frequently introduced to the market boasting updates and changes in directional microphones, sound processing algorithms, noise reduction features, amplitude and frequency compression, and audio data transfer between hearing aids. However, the primary objective of a traditional hearing aid fitting is to ensure that the patient is receiving the appropriate amount of amplification for their hearing loss at each frequency. Trust us, the improved hearing that can result is worth the cost! 

Myth 6. Hearing devices are difficult to use. 

Yes, hearing aids can be difficult to use if you are not taught how to use them properly. When you are fitted for a hearing aid at Excel ENT of Alabama, our audiologist will walk you through how to properly wear and use your new hearing device. 

The truth is, hearing loss can greatly impact your quality of life, but you don’t have to suffer because of it. Appropriately-fitted and programmed hearing aids can provide patients with improved hearing. 

Dr. Helen Lee Miles will meet with you for a hearing aid consultation to discuss your preferences and to explain the different hearing aid styles and features. We’ll have you sitting back and smiling soon at how much more of the world you can hear!

Contact Excel ENT for a hearing device consultation

Excel ENT of Alabama is a proud provider of hearing aids from different manufacturers, such as Unitron, Phonak, and Resound, and in a variety of styles and strengths. Our audiologist will help you select the best hearing aid based on your type and degree of hearing loss and personal needs. Schedule an appointment for a hearing aid consultation with Dr. Miles today! 


Phonak Audéo Marvel Lunch & Learn

Sound waves passing by a woman's ear.

Phonak Audéo


Have you ever wondered if you or a loved one would benefit from the use of a hearing aid? Maybe you know that it’s time to address your hearing loss, but you’ve been putting it off because you don’t want to wear a bulky, squealy hearing aid.

Modern hearing aids are lightyears ahead of previous generations. Excel ENT is pleased to offer the opportunity to come to our office to learn about all of the ways that modern hearing aids can improve your life. Join us for a free lunch and try the Phonak Audéo Marvel hearing aid for yourself. We’ll even let you take it for a 30-day test drive!


How Can the Phonak Audéo Marvel Improve Your Life?

The Phonak Marvel is packed with convenient features, but above all, it delivers clear, rich sound. Users can expect to understand speech in noisy settings better and with much less effort. The Marvel delivers ease of listening that you have to hear to believe.

Phonak was the first hearing aid to offer lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, which are the longest-lasting batteries currently available. A full charge will give users 32 hours of use, which even includes six to eight hours of Bluetooth streaming.

Unlike many other types of hearing aids, the Phonak Marvel can connect to any Bluetooth device. Whether you have a Jitterbug, Amazon Alexa, an Android or iPhone, or even a smart TV, you can connect your hearing aid for easier listening.

Old hearing aids were notorious for being bulky, but Phonak has completely redesigned the Marvel with comfort in mind. The receiver is sturdier than previous generations, and the domes (the rubber portion that goes in the ear) are more comfortable than ever.

A significant upgrade with the Marvel model hearing device is that it is completely encased. Moisture is an issue in Alabama; if it’s not hot and humid, then it’s raining! Excessive moisture is hard on electronics, but the latest generation of Phonak hearing aids are more water repellant than ever. Patients no longer need to worry about battery corrosion.


Am I a Good Candidate for a Hearing Aid?

When you join us for a Lunch & Learn, Dr. Abby Turnbough will conduct a free hearing test if you don’t have a current one on file. The test will assess, among other things, a patient’s ability to understand speech. To stimulate what a hearing aid would be like, Dr. Turnbough will turn up the volume to a comfortable level and then say a list of words. The patient will repeat the words back so that Dr. Turnbough can assess his or her speech discrimination capability. Patients who score higher than 40% on speech discrimination will usually benefit from using a hearing aid.

Patients whose speech discrimination score is below 40% may not receive many benefits from a hearing aid. After years of hearing loss, people may struggle to decipher speech because they have lacked stimulation to the brain. Unfortunately, our brain treats hearing as a “use it or lose it” skill. People whose ears have not been communicating with their brain may lose their ability to understand speech adequately. In that case, a hearing aid would likely be more distracting than helpful.

The benefit that each patient would experience from a hearing aid is highly unique. No two people have identical hearing loss or hearing needs. The best way to learn whether a hearing aid can improve your quality of life is to join us for a Lunch & Learn. You’ll receive a free hearing test, have the opportunity to try on the Phonak Marvel in office, and then you can try it out for 30-days to experience the benefits for yourself.


Your Hearing Aid Fitting

To ensure a proper fit for your hearing device, Dr. Turnbough will take measurements of your ear to determine the correct size for the in-ear receiver. She will use your audiogram (results from your hearing test) to assist in programming your hearing aids.

Once you try on the Phonak Marvel, Dr. Turnbough will check for a good acoustic and physical fit. While speaking with Dr. Turnbough and testing out the sound, she will fine-tune the hearing aids. Her goal is to ensure that patients hear speech appropriately based on their hearing loss and are perceiving it well at a comfortable volume.

During each week of your 30-day trial, you’ll come back to visit with Dr. Turnbough for a hearing aid tuning. You can also try out the different levels of Phonak Marvel technology. Phonak offers three levels: premium, mid-level, and standard. All three provide dependable, rich, clear sound. Throughout your trial, you can test out each device to determine which is the perfect fit for your lifestyle and hearing needs.


Experiencing Your New Phonak Hearing Aid

Not everyone who tries a hearing aid for the first time will have an “ah-ha” moment, especially if they have mild to moderate hearing loss. However, for some, hearing aids can truly change their life.

Dr. Turnbough recalls a sweet couple who had been married for fifty years who had saved enough money to purchase hearing aids for the husband. The two had not been able to carry on a good conversation for nearly twenty years because of his hearing loss. Dr. Turnbough fit the gentleman with powerful behind the ear hearing aids with custom molds. After turning the hearing aids on, Dr. Turnbough let the wife speak to her husband. He immediately burst into tears and told her that it had been too long since he’d heard her voice.

Whether your hearing loss is mild or severe, you may be an ideal candidate for a hearing aid. If you’re wondering whether a hearing device could improve your quality of life, get in touch with us about our upcoming Lunch & Learn. We can’t fully restore hearing yet, but modern hearing devices are dramatically improving lives every day. Join us to learn about and try out the Phonak Audéo Marvel for yourself.