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What is ''background noise'' and how do I deal with it?

Virtually all patients wearing hearing aids complain about background noise at one time or another. There is no way to completely eliminate background noise.

Remember, when you had normal hearing there were times when background noise was a problem. It is no different now, even with properly fit hearing aids! The good news is there are new digital technologies which reduce (or minimize) background noise and other unwanted sounds. In fact, there are research findings that clearly show that digital hearing aids with particular circuits, FM options, and directional microphones can effectively reduce background noises. Please speak with your audiologist or hearing instrument specialist about this.

Newer ways to reduce background noise are based on timing and amplitude cues and other complex noise processing strategies. These methods work, but are not perfect. Noise reducation algorithms will reduce noise levels so the noise is at a tolerable level which will increase listening comfort. Directional microphones are available and are useful as they help to focus the amplification in front of you, or towards the origin of the sound source. Directional hearing aids can offer a better signal-to-noise ratio in difficult listening situations by reducing the noise from the sides or behind you.

Discuss these advanced features with your audiologist or hearing instrument specialist. They will assist you in determining which technologies are right for you and the listening environments you are often in.

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