About Hearing Loss in Noisy Situations

Time to Read: 5 minutes

  • High frequencies
  • Context cues
  • How can hearing aids help you hear better in noise
  • Directional microphones
  • Binaural synchronisation
  • Accessory microphones

You know your hearing is not quite right, but you’re not sure.

After all, you can hear just fine at home and in the great outdoors, but get a group of your friends together at a restaurant or in a shopping centre and it becomes difficult to hear through this wall of noise.

And it may be true that under specific circumstances that your hearing is adequate, but it’s all the other circumstances in your life where hearing support is needed.

That’s why we here at Value Hearing we place such a strong emphasis on how well you hear in noise.

Everybody copes with conversations in a couple of different ways.

High frequencies

High frequency sounds - typically consonant sounds - help provide context. Words that begin with soft sounds  - heat, wheat, seat, feet, for example can be commonly confused if you cannot hear it well.

Contextual cues

We use a number of different tools to understand speech in noisy environments. We look at body language, we listen to the whole of the conversation and ‘fill in the gaps’ and infer the meaning.

We’re very good at it and, in most cases we can manage. However, doing a lot of listening relying on contextual cues requires a bit more brain power to process. This slows your understanding and creates fatigue.

So, what are the signs of high frequency hearing loss to watch out for?

  • Regularly having trouble following conversations in noisy places
  • Finding it hard to understand phone calls and teleconferences
  • Having to turn up the television in order to effectively hear what’s going on (also finding films difficult to follow at the cinema)
  • Understanding women’s voices and young children’s voices
  • No longer enjoying listening to music because it sounds distorted
Crowded shopping centres make it difficult to hear and hold conversations. Crowded shopping centres make it difficult to hear and hold conversations.

How can hearing aids help you hear better in noise

Innovations are happening all the time and new technology is designed to help you make the most of your hearing in the widest range of range of circumstances.

Here are a few of the important features:

Directional microphones: Most hearing aids have more than one microphones which help differentiate sound and prioritise the one you want to listen to.

Binaural synchronisation: This simply means your hearing aids are ‘talking’ to each other and adjusting their settings dependent on the environment.

Accessory microphones (FM): Sometimes your hearing aids need a little assistance. These take the form of discreet little microphones that transmit sound directly into your hearing aids. These are perfect for places like restaurants or board meetings and it gives you a front row seat without the distractions. A good example of this is the Roger Pen by Phonak.

Further reading


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