Ask the Expert: Background Noise

Last update on Oct, 02, 2017
Dr. Tom Tedeschi

Dr. Thomas Tedeschi, Au.D.

Chief Audiology Officer, Miracle-Ear

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“I’ve always had trouble hearing conversations at large gatherings with family and friends. The background noise can be overwhelming! What can I do?”

This is one of the most common issues we hear from people who come into our offices. Your Miracle-Ear hearing care specialist may be able to make adjustments to your hearing aids and/or help you take full advantage of technologies that enable easier listening in difficult environments.

Remember that even the most advanced technology cannot completely eliminate background noise. Even people with “normal” hearing can experience difficulty hearing conversations in noisy situations. Following are seven tips for everyone — hearing aid wearer or not — to make it easier to hear conversations in large gatherings, restaurants or wherever background noise is a problem:

  • Sit closer to the person you want to hear — ideally within six feet. In addition, try to find a place where the speaker’s face is well illuminated.
  • Move as far away as possible from competing noises.
  • In groups, choose a spot where you can see as many faces as possible.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask others to speak more slowly and to avoid covering their mouths while speaking.
  • Confirm details— repeat what you thought the person said, and then ask a follow-up question.
  • Make sure your hearing aids are set to the correct listening program (if equipped with multiple programs).
  • If you can, continue longer conversations in a quieter location.
  • Lastly, ask your “communication partners” to be part of the solution. For example, they should speak clearly and pause between phrases. After providing direction, they might ask “Does this make sense?”

Call your Miracle-Ear hearing care specialist for assistance with your individual situation. We’re committed to maximizing your hearing ability in all of your social activities and wherever life happens to take you.

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