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.

Losing your hearing can be a frustrating and embarrassing experience, but allowing it to go untreated may cause other problems.

A study of hearing-impaired adults, age 50 and older, showed that those with untreated hearing problems were more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and paranoia than people who sought treatment for the condition.

In addition to negatively affecting your relationships with loved ones, untreated hearing loss can lead to:

  • Loneliness and social isolation.
  • Poor job performance and decreased earning potential.
  • Emotional and mental problems, including the possibility of dementia.

These are serious issues that can easily be prevented with early intervention. We can get you on the right track to hearing health as well as an improved quality of life. Please contact us to schedule your evaluation at one of our convenient locations today.

Working in an office environment poses specific obstacles when you have hearing loss. Telephone communication, deciphering conversation from background noise, and missing out on important information during meetings are just a few of the challenges.

Here are a few tips to help you succeed on the job.

  • Be open and honest with your supervisors and colleagues about your hearing loss.
  • Help your co-workers communicate with you by providing suggestions, such as making eye contact with you before beginning to speak; not covering their mouths with their hands when speaking so that you can read their lips, etc.
  • Find an ally. Develop a friendship with one or two associates who will make sure you don’t miss out on anything important.
  • Ask for help when you need it.

Stay on top of your hearing loss with follow-up visits to your audiologist and routine maintenance of your hearing aids. And don't forget that the staff at Hearing Associates is here to help with your communication needs.

William Shatner battled alien threats during his long career on Star Trek, but the actor has been battling a real life threat, tinnitus, for years.

Tinnitus manifests itself as ringing or noise in the ears or head. Although most of us have experienced that sensation, usually after concerts or other loud event, some people suffer from ongoing tinnitus. The condition affects sleep, stress, and quality of life.

Shatner’s tinnitus is the result of filming a scene for Star Trek. The actor was too close to one of the on-set explosions and has been struggling with tinnitus ever since. After receiving help from the American Tinnitus Association, Shatner now regularly speaks out about his condition and urges others to seek treatment for tinnitus.

Don’t let tinnitus rule your life: schedule a hearing evaluation today to get the help you need and deserve.

Although hearing loss affects individuals of all ages and from vastly different walks of life, there’s one group in particular with an alarmingly high risk of developing the condition: military personnel.

The noise of loud equipment and vehicles, gunfire and roadside bombs are taking their toll on members of our armed forces, with over one million suffering from tinnitus and over 50,000 with hearing loss. While it’s important for active duty military personnel to practice hearing conservation, it’s also crucial for us to take care of these individuals and help them regain their hearing to show our appreciation of their sacrifice.