Hearing Aids and Background Noise
Hearing aids in the presence of background noise is a concern for many patients experiencing hearing loss. Virtually all people wearing hearing aids complain about background noise at one time or another. Unfortunately, there is no way to completely eliminate background noise. However, contact your Audiologist with Diversified Hearing to discuss tips on reducing the issue of hearing aids and background noise.
“Despite tremendous advances in hearing aid technology, even with the latest digital noise reduction circuitry, background noise continues to be a problem. Problematic background noise is any noise that interferes with your ability to hear, understand, and/or pay attention to the signal that you want to hear. Background noise includes traffic noise, music, a marching band; reverberation, which causes sounds to echo when reflected off room surfaces; voices such as children playing and laughing, several people talking at once, or even one person talking in a way that prevents or distracts you from listening to a signal you want to hear, usually another talker. Background noises can particularly bother new hearing aid users during the first few weeks because for years they may not have heard everyday noises such as screeching brakes, clattering dishes, and rustling papers. Most long-time hearing aid users will tell you that the sudden ability to hear annoying noises-loud and clear-is challenging, but the ability to tolerate these noises does get better with time. Remember, you probably have not been hearing much background noise since the onset of your gradual hearing loss.
Experienced hearing aid user or not, noise can affect you in at least two ways. First, it can make it nearly impossible to understand what someone is saying because the noise is louder than the signal you want to hear. Second, noise may be a problem because it distracts you from what the speaker is saying. Even a voice softer than that of the person you are trying to hear can take your attention away from the main source to which you need or want to listen. Although there is no cure for the problems that hearing aid users often experience with distracting noises, some options may at least lessen problems with background noise:
- two hearing aids, rather than just one
- hearing aids with digital signal processing
- hearing aids with a directional microphone option
- FM technology
- auditory training
- communication strategies
Credit to “Tips For Hearing in Noise- Patricia B. Kricos, Ph.D. – University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida”