Maximizing speech understanding in noise conditions

November 19, 2015 by Nicole Tourigny

Maximiser la compréhension de la parole dans le bruit

The difficulty to understand speech properly in noisy environment is one of the frustrations most frequently expressed by hard-of-hearing people.

Even people with normal audition sometimes have trouble conducting a conversation in noisy locations, and they suffer from the fatigue caused by the high level of concentration required for such exercise. Now, imagine what hard-of-hearing people have to face! This is a major challenge!

Impact of poor understanding in noise conditions

The impact of poor speech understanding issues in noise can be serious for hard-of-hearing people and their relatives, and might lead to:

  • Isolation and distress;
  • Lack of interest for social interactions;
  • Impatience, stress, anxiety and fatigue;
  • Conflicts generated following misunderstandings with relatives;
  • Depression.

Wearing hearing aids to maintain a healthy social life

It is essential to stay in touch with people despite the hearing loss. Wearing hearing aids will allow a hard-of-hearing person to drastically increase the quality of his/her interactions and relationships.

Besides, the possibility to connect some hearing aids models to TVs, digital music players or smartphones through Bluetooth technology will eliminate the effect of distance and allow the wearer to improve his/her understanding of speech in noisy conditions.

Tips to facilitate communication in noisy environment:

  • Make sure to choose hearing aids equipped with noise reduction technology, and which performance is tailored to your lifestyle;
  • Let the people you are speaking with know about your hearing loss;
  • Position yourself near light sources, to allow for speechreading;
  • At the restaurant, ask for a table near the wall (to reduce background noise) or a bench (to reduce noise coming from behind). If possible, avoid rush hours;
  • During a gathering in a house, eliminate disturbing noise sources like the dishwasher, TV, radio or ambience music;
  • Ask people that are with you to speak one at a time.
To determine which hearing aids are best for you, consult an audioprosthetist.