Hearing loss is never easy to deal with. Understanding what other people are saying in busy, noisy situations can be especially difficult. Environments with poor acoustics can also be challenging.
Let’s take a look at how you can overcome background noise with the right tools.
For many people who suffer from hearing loss, the inner ear structures have been damaged. This can be further complicated by the impact of aging or auditory deprivation. Inner ear damages causes difficulties more complex than just the loss of loudness sensation. It is more difficult to detect the differences in pitch and timing, for example. That degrades the signal while also making it tough to separate noise from speech.
That inability to discern between the noise and speech is referred to as Signal to Noise Ratio, or SNR, loss. SNR loss refers to the need for the speech signal to be significantly stronger and louder than other noises. The average person with hearing loss needs the speech signal to be 30 decibels louder.
These days, hearing aids can address SNR loss in a variety of ways.
Despite advancements technology, hearing aids are far from equal to a functioning auditory system. Some situations will require more than hearing aids for proper communication.
Another way to improve SNR is by using assistive listening devices. These devices bring the desired speech signal directly into the hearing aid when background noise is present. Using wireless connectivity, modern hearing aids receive signals from a variety of remote microphones.
Hearing impaired can use Bluetooth technology to pair their hearing aids to any enabled device. In addition, many landline telephones can wirelessly connect to hearing aids.
Some hearing aids are equipped with telecoils. These can be used in public places, providing a looped assistive listening system.
All of these systems are extremely valuable in improving communication in difficult hearing environments.
In addition, some patients deal with the effects of a damaged auditory system and a reduced cognitive ability.
If that is the case, these kinds of auditory environments can remain challenging.
But those issues can be mitigated by the following coping and repair strategies: