Hearing aids are a boon to individuals with hearing loss, amplifying sounds and making it easier for them to engage in conversations. However, they can sometimes pose a challenge, particularly in noisy environments.
If you've been grappling with such issues, this blog post will guide you on how to use hearing aids to help in noisy environments.
Background noise is a part of our daily life, but it can pose a significant challenge for people with hearing loss. From the hustle and bustle of a busy restaurant to the hum of traffic on the streets, these ambient sounds can drown out the conversations you're trying to focus on. This problem is sometimes amplified for hearing aid users, as the device might pick up and amplify these background noises, making it even harder to distinguish speech from noise.
The difficulty in hearing in noisy environments can largely be attributed to an unfavorable signal-to-noise ratio. In simpler terms, when the noise (unwanted sound) is louder than the signal (desired sound, such as speech), it becomes challenging to understand the conversation.
Modern hearing aids come equipped with sophisticated features designed to tackle the problem of background noise. Here's how they work:
Some hearing aids include advanced features that help separate speech from other environmental noises. The hearing aid microphones pick up sound in your environment and sort out which sounds are speech and which are noise. The hearing aids then amplify the speech while reducing the background noise.
These programs focus the microphones directly in front to pick up the person directly in front of you while reducing the surrounding background noise. You can manually access this program with a button press or adjustment with a smartphone app.
Hearing aids equipped with telecoils, commonly known as T-coils, offer a significant advantage in understanding speech in noisy public places like churches and airports. A T-coil is a small copper coil included in many hearing aids and cochlear implants, designed to enhance the user's hearing experience in specific settings.
When activated, T-coils can directly pick up audio signals from sound systems equipped with induction loop systems. These systems are often installed in public venues like churches and airports. The T-coil receives the electromagnetic signal from the loop system and converts it into sound. This process bypasses ambient noise, delivering the speaker's voice directly to the hearing aid.
Even with the advanced technology in your hearing aids, it's essential to employ some strategies to better manage background noise. Here are some tips:
Try to sit with your back against a wall or to the dominant noise source. This way, you can direct your attention to the conversation in front of you and drown out some of the background noise.
Being in well-lit areas can help you see your companions' faces better, allowing you to pick up on visual cues and lip movements that can aid in understanding the conversation.
Make full use of the technology available in your hearing aids. Adjust your hearing aid settings using Bluetooth-compatible applications. This gives you the flexibility to use your smartphone to easily adjust your settings to best suit the environment you are in.
If you're frequently in certain noisy environments, your audiologist can customize a program specifically for that setting. For example, if you're having trouble hearing in your car due to road noise, there are specific hearing aid programs for this setting.
Managing hearing aids in noisy environments can be challenging, but with the right strategies and understanding of your hearing aids' capabilities, you can improve your listening experience.
Remember, you're not alone in this. At Glendora Hearing Aids & Audiology, we understand the challenges you face and are committed to helping you navigate them effectively. If you or a loved one needs help with hearing aids or wants to explore the latest models, give us a call at 626-963-7200 to schedule an appointment.