Tips and tricks: hearing in noisy environments
Hearing with background noise is one of the most challenging humps to get over for people with hearing aids - and it's even difficult for people with normal hearing. There are many hearing aid features and settings that can help you deal with loud background noise that may be distracting, but there are also strategies that will make the process easier. Wearing two hearing aids instead of one, using a directional microphone and having a hearing aid with directional processing are all great ways to ensure that you are hearing to your utmost capabilities. Here are a few strategies to consider as well:
People with hearing loss use lip reading as a vital resource for communicating. Lip reading can help you improve confidence, avoid social isolation and minimize the effect of hearing loss on your daily life. You might be thinking: How am I going to lip read? You can attend lip reading classes taught by qualified teachers in an informal setting. Teachers go over the basics of the different shapes that sounds make on the lips as well as skills that will help you fill in the gaps.
Pick a well-lit area:
When you are going out with friends and family, make sure that the area is well-lit, so that you can read written text and use your lip reading skills. Since you cannot rely on your hearing capabilities, you must be able to trust your eyes to get you through a conversation. If you are at a restaurant or public gathering, make sure to ask to be seated in an area with a lot of light.
Ask for non-verbal cues:
Body language and hand gestures can guide a conversation and serve as a backup for when you cannot hear the words being spoken. For instance, if someone points to their wrist, you know they are talking about the time. Others can also use gestures to illustrate if something is large or small, tall or short, far away or close.
Consider the time and place:
If you go out to dinner at the hottest new restaurant on the scene at 7 p.m., chances are it is going to be difficult for you to hear. This is when the crowd is at its peak and the noise is possibly at its loudest. If you have trouble hearing in loud environments, make sure that you consider the time and place of your meeting. It may be best to go to a restaurant during non-peak hours, such as between the lunch and dinner rush.
If you are still having difficulty hearing in noisy environments, ask your audiologist for advice. There is a possibility that the settings on your devices are not as they should be, in which case your hearing healthcare professional can make some adjustments. He or she may also be able to guide you in the right direction to purchase new devices.