Tips for Better Hearing in Noise

Tips for Better Hearing in Noise
Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A
Latest posts by Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A (see all)

If you think back to the last time you struggled to hear in a noisy environment, you might recall a perfect storm of difficulties. Some of the places we congregate not only have many people speaking at once, such as a restaurant, but they also play music in the background at the same time. In the worst cases, they have echoing, reverberant architecture that amplifies both the sound of voices and music. 

Add to these factors the human tendency to talk louder when noise poses a challenge, and the problem of noise can even have a tendency to escalate. What can you do in a noisy environment like this to be able to hear more clearly? 

In some cases, you are faced with circumstances beyond your control, but in other cases there are practical steps you can take to make your hearing potential greater. Often you will need to work in collaboration with others to be able to hear more clearly, so you will also need to develop the willingness to talk about your needs and ask for accommodation from others. 

If you are ready to take these steps, then you will find that many noisy environments pose less of a challenge to your hearing. 

Take Simple Steps

If you find yourself in a noisy environment, the simplest step you can take is to reorient yourself in the space. In a restaurant or seated situation, you might want to sit further away from other people who are speaking loudly or the speakers that are playing background music. When you find yourself in the middle of a one-on-one conversation that is difficult to understand, you can simply ask this person if they wouldn’t mind moving to a place in the room where you can hear easier. 

Standing near the periphery of a party can help you isolate the sound of the person speaking to you rather than hearing all the voices in the room at once. If you are going to a noisy restaurant, you can even take preparatory steps to avoid awkward encounters. For example, take a look at the menu prior to dinner in a noisy restaurant, making your choice and avoiding a back-and-forth with the server about the daily specials. 

Recruit Your Team

When you find yourself posed with an event that you expect to be difficult for hearing, enlist a friend, family member, or loved one to help you make it easier. If you take some steps prior to the event, you might be able to change the environment to suit your needs. For instance, when making a dinner reservation, you can ask to be seated in a quiet part of the room, and don’t forget to remind the host when you arrive. If the venue is particularly noisy, such as a bar known for playing loud music or noisy audio from sporting events, you can even suggest a different location to the group that would make it easier to hear. 

Once you find yourself in a noisy environment, your support team can be quite helpful, as well. These loved ones can act as a relay system to you, rephrasing questions or comments while sitting beside you, and this act of translation might even come naturally to them without your asking. Make sure to remind your closest loved ones in the noisy environment that it can be difficult to hear, because they simply might forget what it feels like for you. 

Seek Treatment for Hearing Loss

Although these tactics can help you work around noisy environments where it is difficult to hear, none of these steps will make hearing loss go away. Inevitably you will find yourself in a noisy environment that can’t be accommodated with these steps, and durable treatment for hearing loss is the only sustainable approach to your future needs. The latest hearing aids are even able to emphasize the voice of a speaker standing in front of you while also reducing background noise. 

Why not take the opportunity of the new year to make an appointment for a hearing test with us? Once you have a diagnosis of your needs, we will help you embark on the path toward lasting solutions. 


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