Hear Well For Fun & Travel

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By Jessica M. Bell, Au.D.

Now that we have officially welcomed summer, make sure you’re taking the right steps to be an active participant in the activities that come with it!

Activities such as walks along the beach, road trips, and backyard barbecues should be fun events in the summer. However, for people with hearing loss, these events could be stressful because of these challenging listening environments. Did you know that new hearing aid technology offers features which allow people with hearing loss the ability to enjoy the sounds of summer without compromising their ability to communicate? The new technology also focuses on reducing background sounds such as wind and party noise that could be bothersome.

Background Noise

It is normal to hear all the sounds around us. Hearing technology is designed to focus on audibility of speech to give you the best opportunity to communicate normally. Not all background sounds can be completely filtered out, nor should they be. New noise reduction features allow hearing aid users the ability to experience comfort while experiencing an improved speech signal from the person of interest. So enjoy that backyard barbecue or intimate conversation at your favorite restaurants. How is this possible?

Digital hearing aid technology can control background noise in a variety of different ways while adapting to each new environment. Many new, more sophisticated digital hearing devices can do all this in the startup automatic program leaving you free to enjoy your day without the need to make manual adjustments. Automatic features can adjust the hearing aid microphones to enhance speech audibility while reducing background noise differently for different listening environments. For example, at a party, the microphones may be directed toward the person you are listening to while decreasing the volume of the conversations beside and behind you. Additional “behind the scenes” noise reduction features also work in conjunction with the automatic program. These features specifically look at very soft noise (i.e. hum of the air conditioner) and impulse sounds (i.e. dishes clanging).  All of the noise reduction features in the hearing aids can be applied accordingly to optimize the speech signal while also improving listening comfort in most noisy situations.

Wind Noise

Hearing in the presence of wind noise can be particularly challenging, especially for hearing aid users. New hearing aid technology is more accommodating for people who are in the presence of wind noise. Wind noise reduction features are designed to handle wind from all angles. The hearing aids automatically analyze where the wind is coming from and then significantly reduces it. This allows for improved understanding, and better sound quality while in windy conditions. More importantly, it reduces the chance that hearing aid users will need to remove their hearing aids when they are outdoors!

Car

Road trips can be a fun event during the summer! However, if you have a difficult time understanding speech in the car this seemingly fun event can become an isolating experience. Fortunately, certain hearing aids have a feature which automatically adjusts the microphones when the hearing instruments detect that they are in a car situation. The microphones are so sophisticated that the hearing aids are able to pick up speech from any direction in the car. This is particularly important because it reduces listening effort for the hearing aid user in order to optimize speech, regardless of which direction it’s coming from. So, go ahead and enjoy your car ride conversation from any seat in the car!

Water Resistance

Summertime is HOT! And with heat, comes sweat. Hearing aid manufacturers have begun to place a special coating on the hearing instruments called “nano coating”. The nano coating is designed to protect the chip processor and other internal parts from becoming damaged by dirt and water. With that said, it should be noted that hearing aids are considered water resistant NOT waterproof. Additional steps can be taken if moisture is a concern for you. Please ask your audiologist for different solutions that would be appropriate for you!

The Riddle Experience

The audiologists at Riddle Hospital, part of Main Line Health, share the same goals that you do – to improve hearing and understanding even in your most difficult listening environments.A comprehensive audiological evaluation followed by a listening needs assessment and live hearing aid demonstration will allow the audiologist to make the best recommendations for a hearing treatment plan tailored to your listening needs.

Catherine M. Marino, Au.D., Doctor of Audiology/Director

Jessica M. Bell, Au.D., Doctor of Audiology

Denise E. Stewart, M.S., Clinical Audiologist

Lisa C. Mackenzie, M.S., Clinical Audiologist

For an appointment with a Riddle Hospital audiologist, call 484.227.3200 or visit www.mainlinehealth.org

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