As you get older, your hearing can often diminish, and one of the first signs of hearing loss is the inability to hear clearly in crowded places or where there’s a lot of background noise. This can result in people becoming frustrated and too embarrassed to go out in public and socialise with friends, so they decline invitations and start to feel lonely and isolated at home.
However, all that can be prevented by visiting your local hearing clinic and getting the help you need. You’ll also have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re doing everything you can to improve and retain your hearing.
What Causes It?
Often the person can hear well in quiet situations but cannot pick up the softer parts of speech with noise in the background, which means the brain can’t properly translate the sounds into something meaningful. This is because the tiny hair cells in the inner ear become damaged over time and die, which reduces your ability to pick up certain sounds, and filtering out background noise is a complex process that requires both ears to be working precisely.
Even if we don’t always hear clearly what others are saying, our brains can usually fill in the gaps for us, which is why it sometimes takes a few seconds to understand what’s been said.
Background noise tends to be at a lower frequency and can block out many of the important speech sounds you need to make sense of what you’re hearing.
What is SNR Loss?
The signal to noise ratio (SNR) is the gap between the other’s person’s speech (the signal) and the noise (the background noise), and people with perfect hearing are able to deal with a lower SNR.
This means if your hearing is impaired, you need a higher SNR to hear clearly. The bigger the gap, the easier you can understand what’s being said – the signal is much louder than the noise.
How Hearing Aids Can Help
If you struggle to hear with background noise, it’s likely you have some signal to noise ratio hearing loss, and hearing aids can help. Hearing aids can determine the difference between speech and noise and separate the two so that the speech signal is amplified and the noise is suppressed, allowing you to hear much better.
Book a Free Consultation
It’s important to see a professional about any concerns you have with your hearing, especially if you’re struggling to hear with background noise, or you notice any sudden changes to your ability to hear. At Health and Hearing, we have more than 30 years of experience working with veterans, seniors and working Australians, and we’re here to help you with any questions you have with your hearing.