For an individual with hearing aids, it can often be difficult to focus on a conversation. It’s not only because they may not be able to clearly hear what the other person is saying, but because the background noise coming in is too overwhelming and drowns out the actual conversation in front of them. Thankfully, directional hearing aids can help filter out some background noise so that individuals with hearing loss will be able to be an active, present part of every conversation.
Just like your furnace needs a filter to effectively keep air and ductwork clean, and like your water faucet needs a filter to filter out harmful contaminants, sometimes your ears need a filter to reduce the unnecessary background signals and provide improved audibility for speech. Those with hearing loss will especially understand this. If you have normal hearing, your brain tends to tune out distractions like background noise. And those without hearing loss also have the option to turn down the radio or the television if they need to focus on another task. Those with hearing loss using hearing aids don’t always have a similar option.
When new hearing aid users are first exposed to the array of noises they can now hear clearly, it’s easy for them to get distracted by every noise. If an individual has hearing loss in both ears, they should wear two hearing aids. We have two ears for a reason. When the brain receives a signal from both ears, the brain can tell where the sound came from. Hearing a signal from both ears also helps the brain understand when experiencing background noise. Individuals can also invest in hearing aids with digital signal processing (DSP). Hearing aids with this digital processing strategy provide advanced comfort in background noise, making understanding speech in background noise easier than it has been previously. Because digital signal processing looks at the psychoacoustic principles of the signal and differentiates between noise or speech, the aid can shift its focus and the volume will lower when identifying noise. The fading of the background noise therefore usually improves clarity of speech during conversations. Individuals can also ask for a hearing aid with directional microphones. They offer a setting that picks up sound from all directions, and another setting that picks up sound coming from the front of the user. There are other additional assistive devices that can provide even more assistance and improve clarity in situations where the hearing aid alone cannot meet the user’s needs.
Hearing aid technology has come a long way, but if you find that you are still having issues filtering out background noise and focusing on conversation, you may want to talk to your hearing healthcare provider. Especially with the holidays quickly approaching and parties on the horizon, it’s time to give Amdahl Hearing a call and make your appointment for a check-up today.