Tips for Hearing in Noisy Environments

  • By pugetsound
  • 30 Jun, 2017
Along with moisture and dirt, background noise is one of the greatest foes for people with hearing aids. While most hearing aids are equipped with features to help you cut through background noise to access clear sound, you may still find yourself in situations where the background noise may be too much. Here, we provide tips for hearing in noisy environments.

Public Spaces

The American with Disabilities Act requires businesses and institutions to provide accessibility for people with hearing loss. Art spaces such as theatres or galleries may provide portable assistive listening devices (ALDs), which provide you access to amplified sounds. Hearing loops are another form of assistive listening technology; they are often available in theatres, houses of worship, or conference rooms. A copper loop is installed into the floor or ceiling of a space and delivers amplified sound from a PA system through electromagnetic waves directly to the telecoil in your hearing aids. Not all hearing aids are equipped with telecoils; ask us at Puget Sound Hearing Aids and Audiology if you are unsure. This technology is very easy to use; simply switch your hearing aid to “t-coil” and experience immediate access to clear, amplified sound. If your hearing aids are compatible with your smartphone, you may use your smartphone’s microphone as your own personal ALD. Most iPhone or Android-friendly hearing aids link up through a smartphone app that allows you to stream amplified sound directly to your ears. Airports and public transportation hubs are quite loud. If you’re in a rush, it may be difficult to hear announcements over the PA. Sign up for text alerts to notify you of any changes in your scheduled trip.

Restaurants and Bars

Most of us socialize with our friends and loved ones at restaurants and bars. When people experience hearing loss, the tendency to withdraw socially might occur in part due to the noise levels of restaurants and bars. In the past decade, food critics have discussed the rise in noise levels in contemporary restaurants. Between the open kitchen design of restaurants to minimal “industrial chic” interior design, the auditory experience of a restaurant can be quite daunting. However, a little bit of prep beforehand can make your dining experience enjoyable. When selecting a venue, try to pick a place that is quiet and well-lit. This allows you to both hear your dining companions and read their facial expressions with ease. Call ahead of time and ask the staff to seat you on the perimeter. Seats on the outer edges, against walls, tend to be better acoustically. If a booth is available, snag it! The padded cushions of booths provide a nice, soft surface for enhancing sound. Avoid sitting near open kitchens or the restrooms, as the activity in these spaces create a lot of noise. For an extra boost, place your smartphone near your companions and stream amplified sound to your hearing aids.

At the Dinner Table & Parties

Dinner parties, or parties in general, may be daunting as well. Speech recognition may be tough, if there are multiple speakers talking over each other – which tends to happen at the dinner table! Before a dinner party, talk to the hosts and ask about seating arrangements. If you have a preferred dining buddy who can help you keep up with the conversation, ask to sit near them. Parties might pose difficulty with communication if there is loud music or big crowds. If you become overwhelmed with background noise at parties, take a moment and step away to a quiet place. Hang out with one or two people, rather than in a big group. If you’re throwing a party, turn the speakers to face the walls and set up circular seating arrangements to facilitate easier hearing.

In the Car

Is your hearing aid equipped with Bluetooth technology? For car rides, you might find it easier to have hands-free conversations on your phone with Bluetooth. Stream phone calls directly to your hearing aids! If you like to drive with the windows down, turn on your hearing aid’s wind protection feature to preserve speech sounds.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

Your hearing aids are incredible instruments, providing you access to the rich sounds of your environment. From improved speech recognition to background noise cancellation, as well as accessibility through your smartphone, your hearing aids are equipped with a number of awesome features to help you hear in any environment. Contact us at Puget Sound Hearing Aids and Audiology to learn more about the most advanced hearing aids on the market.

Puget Sound Hearing & Audiology

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