It can be difficult to follow conversations in busy environments like cafes and restaurants. Luckily the right hearing aid can make all the difference, by isolating background noise and focusing in on speech.
The Challenge of Hearing Conversations in Busy Areas
Enjoying a good conversation over a spot of lunch is a treat that most of us take for granted. However, when you suffer from poor hearing health, it can be difficult to clearly ascertain what your companion is saying when the background noise is too distracting. Many people who struggle to hear normally find that being in crowded areas without the support of a hearing aid is disorientating because of too many distracting sounds. Here are some tips from our expert audiologists to help you manage the problem and enjoy spending time out and about with your loved ones.
Control Your Environment
In a crowded environment, there are many sounds across the frequency spectrum that compete with one another. Background noise — for instance, glasses clinking, people walking and cutlery scraping — occurs at a lower frequency range and can make it difficult to discern speech, which operates at a higher frequency level.
Try to sit with your companion in front of you rather than beside you, so that you can lip read for better clarity of communication and so that the sound of their voice is directed straight at you. Don’t sit near the door of the restaurant or cafe if you can help it — or the entrance to the kitchen or toilet — as these are high traffic areas where more background noise can be heard. If there is a table further away from other diners, opt for this. When choosing whether to sit indoors or outdoors, it’s a good idea to sit indoors away from road noise and other distractions.
Remember, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for background music to be turned down, as this is often one of the major causes of sound confusion in busy areas.
Choose a Hearing Aid with the Right Features
Fitted correctly, a hearing aid with directional microphones can help to isolate speech and make it possible to hear conversations in busy areas. Adaptive noise reduction technology allows your hearing aid to eliminate background noise from several directions so that you can enjoy clear, comfortable sound even in busy areas like cafes and restaurants. Enhanced speech perception allows your hearing aid to isolate speech in your close vicinity, improving the sound so that you can enjoy clear conversations in crowded places. Reverb reduction technology helps your hearing aid to manage reverberating signals, making noise-heavy environments more comfortable. Most hearing aids don’t offer all of these features — just a selection of them. However, certain aids are more optimised for speech perception than others. We recommend the best new hearing aids with the latest features in a recent Transform Hearing blog post.
Our Independent Audiologists Recommend These Hearing Aids for Improved Speech Perception in Busy Areas:
- Bernafon Viron 9 — premium technology for natural sound in even the most challenging listening situations, with functionality to help you focus on conversations and music, reducing listening effort
- Oticon Opn S — designed to provide speech understanding that is on par with normal hearing. It can tackle the most difficult of listening environments, providing a 360° sound experience that gives your brain access to the relevant sounds around you.
- Phonak Audeo Marvel — Phonak Audeo Marvel provides a clear, rich sound experience for better speech understanding in noisy environments with less listening effort required.
- Signia Styletto — The revolutionary Signia Nx platform provides Own Voice Processing for true fidelity and natural sound quality.
- Starkey Livio AI — The world’s first hearing aid to feature a brain and body health monitor that tracks your health and can even detect when you’ve had a fall and offer assistance.
Personalise Your Listening Experience
Fine-tuning your listening experience will allow you to tune into natural sounds and speech, dynamically managing noise and adjusting settings to your liking. Many hearing aids can connect to your smartphone and allow you to control sound settings and features via a free and easy-to-use application.
Ready to Choose a Hearing Aid?
Let one of our fully-qualified and truly impartial audiologists transform your hearing and transform your life. We will recommend the right hearing aid based on your individual needs, budget and lifestyle. Contact Transform Hearing to book your free at-home or in-clinic hearing test and find the right solution for you.