Hearing in Noise

Have you said this?

“I can hear just fine when it is quiet, but I have a lot of trouble when there’s other noise.”

This statement is something we AudigyCertified providers hear all the time. Competing noise can drown out the person you are trying to hear, often by overpowering the soft, high-pitched consonant sounds that are so important for speech clarity. Trouble in background noise is one of the primary reasons why people get hearing aids.

What is noise?

We define noise as any sound you don’t want to hear. What noise is may change based on the situation. If you’re trying to have a conversation with your wife in a restaurant, and a guy at the next table starts talking loudly, the loud guy is noise because you’re trying to hear your wife. But what if the loud guy starts talking about something interesting? Then your wife is noise because she is interfering with your ability to hear the other guy.

How do hearing aids help with background noise?

Although many hearing aids do a good job of differentiating between speech noise and steady-state noises (like machine noise or wind noise), it’s impossible for a hearing aid to know which person you want to hear and which person is noise.

But hearing aids can tell the difference between speech sounds and other types of sounds. Hearing aids can accentuate speech while reducing sounds like the refrigerator running or road noise. Another way that modern hearing aids help you hear in background noise is by using directional microphone technology. This helps you hear what is in front of you better than what is behind you when in a noisy environment. Hearing aids can tell where the sounds are coming from and enhance sounds coming from in front, while not amplifying sounds from the back. This means, when wearing hearing aids with directional microphones, it is important to sit facing the speaker, with your back to the noise. Hearing in noise is always difficult, with hearing aids or without, but modern hearing aid technologies combined with good communication techniques can make a big difference.

Start typing and press Enter to search