Tips for Better Hearing in Noise

Tips for Better Hearing in Noise

If you have hearing loss, it is likely that you could have first realized it while trying to communicate amongst noise. It may have been in a crowded restaurant, party, or even busy grocery store. Sometimes even the hum of loud appliances like the fridge or air conditioner can create so much racket that it is a challenge to hear. Isolating and prioritizing sounds in a crowded environment is a common challenge as hearing declines. Even if you have taken the leap to invest in hearing aids you may still have issues differentiating sounds amongst noise. While hearing aids can help significantly, there are certain strategies you can employ to make it easier to hear in a sea of competing noises. 

Challenges with Background Noise

When you suffer from hearing loss, complex sound environments can make it difficult to create hierarchies of important sounds. If someone is having a conversation while you are attempting to have a completely different conversation nearby, it is a common struggle to separate the two. Even if you find that you are able to hear, it may still be hard to comprehend what is being said.

Use Binaural Hearing Aids

No matter how advanced a hearing aid technology is, or how long the person has used their hearing device, it can still be difficult to hear. However, the use of two hearing aids can make a significant difference in making sure this is less of an issue. This is because we use both ears, known as binaural hearing, to decipher where sounds are coming from, how fast and how close. It is common for one ear to not hear as well as the other. This is often referred to as the “bad ear”. However, it is very rare that hearing loss is unilateral. Amplifying both ears, even if the loss is slight in one, can improve your brain’s ability to distinguish front and background noises and improve localization of sound. This can also help you stay more alert in listening environments and prevent accidents that can potentially occur. 

Style Matters

If you have been enjoying hearing aids for years this is wonderful news. Using hearing aids improves your ability to communicate amongst friends, family, and co-workers. It helps you stay independent, socially active and protects your brain from cognitive decline due to a lack of audio and social stimulation. However, hearing aid technology is rapidly changing and there are more and more features available to make hearing easier than before. This is particularly true of hearing amongst background noise, which has been a complaint of many hearing aid users for years. The latest technology in hearing aids has background suppression which prioritizes conversation in front of you, by pointing a microphone towards the speaker you are facing. This is called directional microphone systems (DPS): single or dual microphones, which capture and process sounds coming from the front of the device differently than those from the back. 

DPS also provides wind and background suppression to minimize ambient noise which could interfere with your hearing experience. This is achieved by preserving signals that can fluctuate, such as speech, in which the patterns of high and low frequency as well as loud and soft sounds can quickly shift. In addition, many hearing aids are now compatible with Bluetooth and Telecoil technology, which can send sound wirelessly to your hearing aids so you can hear media more clearly in a noisy auditorium or another crowded space. 

Training Yourself to Improve Your Listening

While hearing aids can make a world of difference, there are several ways that you can train your brain to hear sharper and clearer. This is especially essential for those who may have gone without hearing aids for years. There is a real need to train yourself how to hear again after potential decades of not hearing these sounds. There are several programs designed to help people hear sound amongst other competing noises. Some of these are complementary while others require a paid subscription or one time purchase. These programs employ games and memory strengthening activities to help people to prioritize sounds. The Listening and Communication Enhancement (LACE) program has been found to enhance ability to hear speech in noise significantly based on a 2011 study. 

Dealing with Your Hearing Loss

If you notice that you are having issues with hearing in noisy places, it’s time to have your hearing tested. Even if you are already using hearing aids, it may be worth your while to explore what options there are for you to hear even better. Schedule a hearing test today and find out what the world of hearing enhancements can do for you, to hear through all the noise.

Musicians’ Concerns with Hearing Loss

Musicians' Concerns with Hearing Loss

Are you a musician? Have you been struggling to hear the sounds you love, or having difficulty hearing all the subtleties in the music you listen to and play every day? Hearing loss among musicians is more common than you might think, since many artists and musicians have exposed their ears to dangerously loud noises for many years without realizing the risks to their hearing health.

The Magic of Music

Have you experienced the magic of music? It has the power to transport you to a favorite memory, like an amazing show you saw, your first kiss, or your first heartbreak. Music can connect you with your loved ones, change your mood, and remind you of important moments in your life. Music is also a great motivator, and we listen to an upbeat playlist at the gym, or to keep us company on the commute to work. It can even reduce stress, and a slow song can help you relax before bed. Plato famously said, “music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything,” and many of us can relate to that feeling.

Has your hearing loss come between you and the music you used to love? Hearing loss strips music of it’s full, rich sound, leaving it sounding empty or hollow, and lacking the vibrancy you enjoyed so much. While this is a heartbreaking experience for everyone, musicians with hearing loss lose their art and their livelihood as well.

Musicians’ Concerns with Hearing Loss

A recent article in the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology explained how hearing loss has a huge effect on music perception, and showed some of the concerns musicians have with hearing loss. The study examined ensemble instrumentalists who played a variety of instruments, from percussion to wind, brass, and string instruments. Musicians with hearing loss had a much harder time hearing in rehearsals, whether hearing the conductor speaking, talking with fellow musicians, or hearing their own and others’ instruments.

Not only did they have more difficulty hearing speech and communicating, they also reported far less enjoyment of the music and the performance, and complained that the music has lost it’s full, rich sound they used to enjoy so much.

Hearing Devices for Musicians

Hearing aids are designed to enhance hearing, help wearers follow speech, and reduce background noise to make it easier to focus on important sounds. Hearing aids help you communicate with your friends and loved ones, enjoy social events, and be productive at work. However, musicians with hearing loss aren’t just concerned with hearing well during family dinner. They want to hear all the subtle sounds in the environment, from the birds singing to the laugher of children, and all the soft sounds in music that give music it’s warmth, depth, and emotion.

Can hearing devices help musicians hear? Musicians with quality devices, made with musicians in mind, report that the hearing aids helped restore the overtones and undertones in the music, giving it a rich sound, and helping them enjoy the music once again. They’re able to hear the soft sounds in the music as well as the loud, and experience a balanced sound quality.

The ensemble musicians in the study also reported that wearing hearing devices not only helped them appreciate the music once again, but the hearing aids also helped them hear during rehearsals, hear instructions from the conductor, and perform better.

Hearing Consultants

If you’re a musician or a music lover, and haven’t been able to enjoy music because of your hearing loss, then visit us today at Hearing Consultants to ask about the devices that will help you hear better. From devices made for musicians, to programs and settings designed for every music lover, you’ll be able to enjoy music once again. Don’t let your hearing loss stop you from enjoying a concert by your favorite band, or give up on your career.

At Hearing Consultants, we have a number of devices with special programs that enhance music, increase the volume of soft sounds, help you hear the subtleties, provide clarity, and give music it’s full, rich sound so you’ll be able to hear music in the most natural way.