Background noise for Hearing Aid wearers can be their biggest enemy. Many simply couldn’t pick up on it before getting their hearing devices, but when it is there it can be very unwelcome. Dogs barking, children playing, traffic even other conversations can make one to one situations in public places difficult.
Research in the US suggests that the ears of people with a hearing loss work differently to those with normal hearing when exposed to environments with lots of background noise. In noise the ear works harder to process all the different sounds at once, resulting in the signals to the brain becoming jumbled and the individual not being able to hear any sound clearly. And it just keeps getting worse – the less the brain picks up on, the harder the ear works and the fewer signals it interprets correctly.
There are, however, a few ways, from the practical (like choosing a restaurant without a loud bar area) to the technical (we’ve listed a few options below), to limit background noise:
Wearing two hearing aids can limit background noise. Your hearing ability is increased, particularly with regard to where sounds are coming from, enabling you to concentrate on the ones you want to, without worrying about the ones you don’t.
Another option is to choose a hearing aid with DSP technology built in. DSP (digital signal processing) works by giving the hearing aid the ability to ‘know’ the difference between speech and background noise. It turns its own volume down when no one is speaking (when background noise is not interfering) and turns it up again when someone starts to speak. But in a very sophisticated manned the DSP system can understand what is speech and what is not.
Slightly less sophisticated but just as effective in certain situations is a hearing aid with a directional microphone. If the microphone is positioned to ‘hear’ only sounds coming from in front of the wearer – such as when you are having a conversation, or watching TV – then background noise is filtered out. This is the way the human ear hears naturally, twice as well from the front than from the rear.
FM technology is another useful way of diluting the effect of background noise. An FM transmitter works best at picking up sounds close to it, but it isn’t as good at picking up noises from further away. This means that background noise may not be heard if it is far enough away, or at the very least it will be much quieter when compared to someone speaking in close proximity.
The Hearing Clinic UK is a completely independent hearing aid retailer and offers a wide selection of hearing aids from a range of high quality manufacturers. Our highly qualified team of audiologists spend time ensuring every patient has a solution that works seamlessly with their lifestyle.