Hearing JourneyAt Hearing Associates, we provide our patients with detailed information and answers to their questions about the degrees and effects of hearing loss. We also offer informative classes on many topics, like aural rehabilitation.

Aural rehabilitation involves different therapies designed to help you live well with hearing issues. We’ll help you make the best use of your hearing aids, explore assistive listening devices, and take charge of your communication strategies.

There is no cure for hearing loss.

Even with the best advances in listening technologies, people with hearing difficulties face numerous communication challenges. Hearing loss can lead to isolation, frustration and fatigue for both the individual and their family members.

But there is help. Our “Your Hearing Journey” classes provide support, education and information that will help you:

  • Network with others who share similar hearing experiences.
  • Have the opportunity to ask questions you might not have had at your fitting appointment.
  • Understand appropriate expectations of amplification.
  • Learn how to care for and maintain your hearing instruments.
  • Implement effective communication strategies.
  • Learn about environmental obstacles and how to overcome them.
  • Develop strategies to protect the hearing you still have.
  • Respect your hearing with annual audiological exams, regular hearing aid cleaning and ear canal checks at Hearing Associates.

At Hearing Associates, you’re part of the team! “Your Hearing Journey” will equip you with the necessary tools to:

Understand the hearing process: We cover topics like: how we hear, why we lose our hearing, how to protect our hearing, hearing wellness, concerns and care, communication strategies, and how to improve your hearing.

Build your confidence: Whether you spend your time surrounded by people or in the quiet comfort of your home, hearing aids can greatly improve your quality of life. We’ll teach you how to care for these instruments, and show you simple communication techniques to improve your listening experience.

Train your brain: As you wear your new hearing instruments daily, you will continue to get more acclimated to sounds you may have been missing for years. It is crucial to keep your hearing healthcare provider informed of your progress, so we can adjust your devices to keep up with your pace.

“Your Hearing Journey” Class Schedule:

Call 888.760.2032 to join the next class.

We meet once a week for the three-week session, and you can choose which class works best for your schedule each week.

Bring a support partner

Improving communication between those with hearing loss and their loved ones is vital during the aural rehabilitation journey. At Hearing Associates, we encourage patients and their families to learn the ways to overcome challenges together, enhance your hearing world, and keep healthy communication going.

These informational classes are designed to provide our patients and their families with the tools for preventing and managing hearing loss. 

Your support partner will:

  • Offer another set of ears to receive the many details presented
  • Learn effective techniques to carry on more effortless conversation
  • Provide encouragement to you and those who care about you on how to better live with hearing loss

The care team at Hearing Associates looks forward to guiding you and your family on your path to better hearing. For more information on our aural rehabilitation services, call 888.760.2032.

Aural Rehabilitation

You probably know that it’s wrong to put a cotton swab in your ear, but do you do it anyway? There are better ways to deal with earwax, both at home and with the help of a medical professional.

Risky Business

The ear can easily be damaged with aggressive home cleaning. You should never put anything in your ears: not swabs, not hairpins, not a twist of fabric. These techniques can injure sensitive tissues and even rupture your eardrum.

Putting anything in your ear tends to compact earwax—also called cerumen—leading to more hearing problems, not less.

Understanding earwax

It may be a surprise, but earwax is actually a good thing. It protects your ears from materials like dust and shedding skin cells. These particles are trapped by the wax and then are pushed out of the ear canal by jaw movement. Too little earwax can actually result in dry, uncomfortable ears.

Professional cleaning

Some people never need a professional cleaning. However, others with excessive earwax production or narrow ear canals benefit greatly from medical assessment and earwax removal. An impacted ear canal can be both a hearing problem and a source of pain or discomfort.

A doctor should examine your ears when you experience:

  • Partial hearing loss
  • Ringing or noises in the ear (tinnitus)
  • Earache
  • A plugged feeling
  • Odor or discharge
  • Itching

To remove earwax, a hearing specialist will use specialized instruments, a microscope, and suction. Special care needs to be taken if you have narrow ear canals, diabetes or a weak immune system.

Approved Home Care

After a professional cleaning, you can help keep your ears clean with the right methods. Home treatments to soften and remove wax include:

  • Oil or glycerin drops
  • Commercial ear drops 
  • Detergent drops (including hydrogen peroxide)
  • Irrigation
  • Syringing

Irrigation should be done with solutions warmed to body temperature to prevent dizziness. If you suspect a perforated eardrum or have medical issues complicating ear cleaning, consult with your doctor instead.

Don’t be tempted to try ear candles, which are not recommended for ear cleaning. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that these products can result in injuries.

Excessive earwax is a common problem. If you repeatedly experience impacted earwax, periodic cleanings at Hearing Associates will prevent hearing problems and discomfort. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.

Nearly 38 million Americans live with hearing loss, so it's important to know that you're not alone. Despite this statistic, on average, people wait 7 years before seeking help.

No matter if it's mild, moderate, or severe, your hearing loss could be putting your health in danger. From dementia to increased fall risk, getting treatment early can decrease your need to worry about yourself or your loved ones. Suspect you may be one of the 38 million?

Take the test below and see for yourself.

Almost Always
Half the time
I have a problem hearing over the phone.
I have trouble following the conversation when two or more people are talking at the same time.
People complain that I turn the TV volume too high.
I have to strain to understand conversations.
I have trouble hearing conversations in a noisy background such as a party.
I miss hearing some common sounds like the phone or doorbell ring.
I get confused about where sounds come from.
I misunderstand some words in a sentence and need to ask people to repeat them.
I especially have trouble understanding the speech of women and children.
I have worked in noisy environments.
Many people mumble when they talk.
People get annoyed because I misunderstand what is being said.
I misunderstand what others are saying and make inappropriate responses.
I avoid social activities because I cannot hear well and fear that I'll reply improperly.
To be answered by a family member :
Do you think this person has a hearing loss?
Do you have a blood relative with hearing loss?


Your Score    
What does this mean?
Score Analysis
0-5 You're hearing is good
6-9 Suggest a hearing evaluation
10 and above Strongly recommend a hearing evaluation
  If you scored above 5, we suggest that you receive a hearing test. If you'd like to receive more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact our Mason City, Iowa office today.

On average, people wait 7 years before seeking help. 

Hearing Protection for HuntersAt Hearing Associates in Mason City, Iowa, and Albert Lea, Minnesota, we want to help prevent hearing loss by offering custom hearing protection products from Westone and Sound Gear.

Hunting Ear Protection
Hunters and shooters can amplify and protect their hearing without needing to change devices. With products from Sound Gear and Westone, your hearing protection devices are available in several different styles and colors.  Designed to amplify sounds within the safe hearing range, digital plugs automatically block noise once it exceeds 95dB.

Custom Hearing Protection
From work to play, custom ear molds can be worn whenever you might encounter loud situations. Designed for all day use, this form of hearing protection provides better defense and greater comfort than a store-bought plug. Custom ear molds also have the option for standard or digital protection.

Musician Ear Plugs
This type of hearing protection guards your ears and lets you know you’re playing at your best. The canal-style earplugs are sleek and virtually unnoticeable, but won’t alter your pitch or timbre -perfect for any musician or music lover.  

custom hearing protectionCustom Earbuds
Made to perfectly fit your ears, custom earbuds reduce background noise and deliver higher quality sound, eliminating the need to turn up your music to dangerous levels.

Swim Molds 
Molded to fit your unique ear shape, the customized fit keeps your ears dry while in the water. This form of hearing protection is typically used to prevent Swimmer’s Ear.  

Musician’s and Hunter’s plugs, custom hearing protection, and ear buds require roughly two weeks to complete. Swim plugs however, have a much shorter processing time. Taking roughly 30 minutes to complete, the molds of your ear are taken during your appointment, and your finished swim plugs can leave the office when you do.

At Hearing Associates in Mason City, Iowa, and Albert Lea, Minnesota we want to help prevent hearing loss by offering custom hearing protection products from Westone and Sound Gear.

At Hearing Associates, PC with locations in Mason City and northern Iowa, we accompany you on your journey to better hearing through:

  • Extensive testing.
  • Hearing Aid Battery Recycling.
  • Solution options including top of the line hearing aids.
  • Comprehensive follow-up care, which includes maintenance, cleaning and minor repairs to your hearing aids as well as teaching you how to care for them properly.

After we’ve helped you determine which type of hearing aid is best for you, we measure your ears (if required) and order the devices. When your new hearing aids arrive in our office, we set an appointment for you to come in so that we can fit and program them according to the results of your tests, your needs, and your lifestyle.

At this time, we'll also teach you how to program and clean your hearing aids, change the batteries and properly care for them. Knowing how to maintain your devices will extend their life and keep them performing at their best. We offer additional products that are useful in preserving your hearing aids.

We encourage you to bring your hearing aids in quarterly so that we can check them as well as thoroughly clean them. If necessary we will replace certain components (such as tubing, battery doors, ear hooks, wax guards, filters, and screens). For your convenience, we offer daily walk-in hours from 11am –1pm for these services (free of charge to all patients who purchased their hearing aids from us). If you have programming needs, we ask that you schedule an appointment at any of our locations in northern Iowa, or at our facility in Albert Lea, Minnesota in the Mayo Clinic Health System as making those type of adjustments to your hearing aids may take more time.

Because we know that the transition back into the world of sound can be overwhelming, we are committed to walking with you, every step of the way. We're happy to answer your questions and provide guidance as you adapt to your new hearing aids.

Our professional staff at Hearing Associates, PC strives to offer you the utmost professional, comprehensive, and compassionate hearing health care in Mason City and the surrounding areas in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota.