There are many steps to improving your hearing health. The first one is determining the severity, or degree, of your hearing loss. This is measured by discovering your hearing threshold, the lowest volume, in decibels (dB) at which you can hear sounds. Your results are placed on an audiogram and may vary by pitch (frequency) and by ear. Our audiologists obtain this information through testing called basic comprehensive audiometry, just one of the testing methods we use to find the right solution for you.

Just because you have hearing aids doesn’t mean you can’t fully enjoy one of the best pieces of technology on the market, the iPhone. The iPhone 4 and 5 are hearing aid compatible devices. Hearing aid compatible (HAC) ratings are used by the FCC to determine whether or not a phone/device meets the certain hearing aid compatibility standards. When considering an iPhone or other hearing aid compatible device, please keep these factors in mind:

Summer is in full swing, and one of the best ways for music lovers to enjoy the season is at an outdoor concert. But whether it’s rock, jazz, hip-hop, pop, or even a symphony performance, chances are it’s too loud.

Sound levels above 85 decibels can contribute to noise-induced hearing loss, and a recent study measured the decibel levels at several musical performances at more than 100 decibles.

Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to concerts; just take some precautions to protect your hearing.

Here are some tips:
•    Sit in the back.  A front row seat right by the wall of speakers isn’t worth losing your hearing.
•    Sit on the left or right. Sitting in the middle puts you right in the middle of the sound waves.
•    Give yourself a break. If it’s a festival or more than one performance, take a walk and give your ears a bit of peace.
•    Find out your hearing threshold. If prolonged listening causes ringing in your ears, it may be damaging. Reduce volume and exposure time.
•   Use hearing protection. Ear plugs or special head phones can protect you from intense volume and prolonged exposure.

At Hearing Associates, we offer custom made musicians’ plugs that are made specifically to allow you to hear all pitches and frequencies of music, but at a reduced volume. We also offer other custom-made hearing protection products.

Schedule an appointment at our main office in in Mason City- or at any of our other locations in Iowa, or at our facility in Albert Lee, Minnesota.

“Life’s challenges are not suppose to paralyze you. They’re supposed to help you discover who you are” - Bernice Johnson Reagan

As the summer approaches everyone is getting ready to enjoy the fun and sun. Summer camps offer great opportunities to learn, make new friends and, yes, even embrace and overcome challenges.

There are summer camps and programs designed to help children and teens with hearing loss learn to communicate better while gaining a sense of pride.

Hearing impairment summer camps provide an opportunity to experience the fun and activities of a traditional summer camp, while providing additional skills to those with hearing problems. Along with enjoying all the fun events, the campers develop a sense of self-reliance, enhance communications skills and strategies, and form life-long friendships with others who have the same disability. These special needs camps are supervised by trained professionals and certified instructors who instill a strong sense of self-confidence in the attendees. Some camps are even designed to include entire families.

Here is a list of sites with information about summer camp availability, by state:

Deaf Links

Rochester Institute of Technology

Listening and Spoken Language Knowledge Center

At Hearing Associates, we know how important the sense of empowerment is, especially for younger people who are dealing with specific challenges. For more suggestions, please call us. We’re here to help, every step of the way.

Hearing aid technology has advanced tremendously in recent years, but one problem still remains for many users: dealing with background noise.

Background noise is defined as any sound that interferes with your ability to hear and focus on the auditory signal you want to hear, and may include traffic, rustling papers, children laughing, clattering dishes, and multiple people speaking at the same time.

There are certain steps you can take to make background noise more tolerable:

Use devices with Digital Signal Processing (DSP).  These hearing aids are able to differentiate between speech and noise and can be programmed to reduce background noise. Most hearing aids sold today have this digital technology.
Use two hearing aids instead of one. Scientific evidence indicates that speech perception in noisy listening situations is better with two hearing aids.
Purchase hearing aids with directional microphones.  With this option, you can switch the hearing aid from picking up sounds from all directions to picking up sounds from the front. Many devices with newer technology do this automatically.

Here are some strategies that will help you hear and communicate better:

  • Be honest, acknowledge your hearing loss and offer suggestions for others to aid you in hearing them.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask people to repeat themselves if you miss something.
  • When possible, suggest moving conversations to quieter places.
  • When attending a lecture or group event, arrive early and find a seat close to the speaker.

Remember, at Hearing Associates, we’re here to help, every step of the way!

Schedule your evaluation at our main office in Mason City or at any of our other practices in Iowa and Minnesota.