“Can You Hear Me Now?”

How ‘bout now? Do you have trouble hearing in certain situations? We always say even with the best hearing aid technology there are always exceptions and circumstances beyond our control. And, of course, there will be differences from one person to another.  Some thoughts to keep in mind:

#1 – It depends on who’s talking. There are certain voices that may be difficult to hear or understand. This can be for many reasons, including lower volume, speed of speech, pitch of voice, or the talker’s accent. All of these things mean the brain has to work harder to decipher what is being said. 

#2 – It depends on where you are. Large rooms, auditoriums, theaters – poor acoustics are everywhere. Reverberant rooms – or rooms where the sound seems to bounce around – make it difficult to understand what’s being said. 

#3 – It depends on what’s going on around you. Difficulty hearing in background noise is the most common concern we hear at ACA. Processing what you want to hear is much more difficult when there is competing noise. It’s also important to remember that everyone has more trouble hearing in noise.  

#4 – The earlier, the better! As audiologists, we know that the earlier you address any sort of change in your hearing the more likely you are to be successful.  This is true for hearing in background noise as well.  Unfortunately, most people wait far too long to address changes in hearing.  The average person waits 8-10 years.  This is far too long!  Would you wait 10 years to address a change in your eye sight?  Probably not.  Address your hearing now to ensure your best hearing now and in the future.  

Something else that’s important to keep in mind is that there are amazing hearing aid technologies available to help! We want you to be able to hear to the best of your abilities. Sometimes, hearing aids alone are not enough. We do not want you to disengage from the things that you enjoy! There are apps, remote microphones, TV streamers, and other assistive listening technologies that may be helpful. 

Most of our hearing aid manufacturers have apps that can be downloaded onto your smartphone. With a compatible hearing aid, you can use your phone as a remote control, as a personal microphone, or to turn your hearing aids into wireless headphones. In addition, there are other great apps and accessibility devices that can help with your hearing. For example, Tunity can transmit the sound from the TV to your smartphone, which can often then be transmitted wirelessly to your hearing aids. Regal Theatres have glasses that show captions for most of their movies. Finally, though not fully utilized, some places in Atlanta have hearing loops installed. If you have a telecoil in your hearing aid – a feature present in many of the hearing aids we dispense at our office – you can utilize a telecoil program to get improved clarity through a hearing loop. For example, at the Fox Theatre, you can request a personal loop, which is worn around your neck.  

Ask your audiologist what is available to help you hear to the best of your abilities! 

Kelli Smith

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