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Can’t Hear With Background Noise? Here’s the Solution

A common concern from patients is that while they can hear, they are not able to understand what people are saying. This is due to background noise, a common occurrence that can be quite inhibiting when trying to have a conversation. Learn more about what to do when you can’t hear with background noise.

Background Noise: The Rundown

Before we talk about how to hear with background noise, let’s first define what background noise is and how it can interfere with your understanding of speech.

What is it?

Background noise is any noise that interferes with the ability to hear, pay attention and understand the signal you want to hear.

What causes it?

Causes of background noise can be from several people talking at once, music, reverberations, laughing, and traffic noise, just to name a few.

Why can’t you hear with background noise?

Background noise can drown out speech and can make understanding what someone is saying impossible because the noise is louder than the signal you are trying to focus on. This noise can also be a problem because it diverts your attention and disrupts your concentration from what the person is saying.

Some Solutions to Try

Background noises can distract you no matter how loud or soft they are, even if you have been using a hearing aid. Thankfully, there are strategies you can implement in your life to be able to better understand speech. Here are our recommendations of ways to hear better with background noise:

Communication Strategies

Using effective communication strategies can help the effect of challenging listening environments. Some examples of communication strategies include:

  • Plan for a quiet space when you think the least amount of background noise will be present. 
  • Choose a small number of people to speak with in a well-lit area to better focus on what is being said, as this allows for better context clues with body language and reading lips. 
  • Think of what situation you will be in and how to best position yourself to hear better.

Check out our article about communication strategies for noisy environments for more solutions when it is difficult to reduce background noise.

Two Hearing Aids

Wearing two hearing aids gives the advantage of being able to hear sound from either side, which gives you the ability to locate where sounds are occurring and increase the focus on a signal. The advantages of binaural fittings are well documented—reduced head shadow effects, binaural processing benefits such as improved speech in noise, superior localization ability, binaural squelch, binaural summation and more. Newer hearing aids have the ability to reduce background noise and can help increase your ability to focus on a person speaking.

Check out our hearing devices to see which hearing solution is best for you.

Directional Microphone Hearing Aids

Some hearing aids have the option to use a directional microphone. This function allows the choice to have the hearing aid pick up only sound from a single direction. Using this function will allow you to focus on the sound in front of you and will therefore reduce background noise. 

With our custom hearing aids, we create a personalized sound fit for your individual hearing needs, which could include directional microphone options to optimize your hearing with background noise.

Although it can be difficult to hear better with background noise, these solutions can work – we are here to help you every step of the way. Click here to get started with your improved hearing journey with The Hearing Place. 


Have additional questions? Contact your local office today!