“I can’t hear in background noise” is a very common complaint for people of all ages, straining to hear in cafes and restaurants. “I’m tired of smiling and pretending I know what is going on.”
“The good news is that modern digital hearing aids have changed the way hearing aid wearers cope with noisy situations.” says Katie Rahman of Hear-Clear Australia.
The latest design of hearing aids have several features to make a difference.
- Digital hearing aids are able to differentiate between speech and other extraneous noise. The hearing aid will tune into the speech sounds while minimising other sounds.
- Directional microphones automatically focus in front of the wearer. Some hearing aids have a special program that enables the wearer to switch their focus and block out background sound.
- Binaural synchronisation. Some aids communicate with each other to focus on the nearest voice. For example the aid on the side where background noise is dominating will mute slightly to enhance the ear closer to the speaking voice.
There will always be times when technology is not able to compete with loud talking and raucous laughter so hearing aid wearers need to be proactive to maximise their chances of hearing.
Bruce Allen of Hear-Clear advises his clients to follow his top tips for dining in noisy restaurants.
- A quiet restaurant with carpet and fittings that absorb noise. Sound bounces around in modern minimalist settings.
- A quiet table that is against the wall or in a quiet location, away from music speakers and the kitchen area. Sometimes the tables outside are the quietest.
- The best seat with your back to the noise in the middle of the group, gives you the best chance of lip reading and blocking out distractions.
- Switch on your directional microphone to make the use of your high tech hearing aids.
If you are having trouble hearing in background noise, take the first step and get your hearing checked.