Senior Audiologist, Tammara Stender, recently contributed an article to the November 1st issue of the ASHA Leader, in which she discussed the challenges of improving speech intelligibility in background noise.
It is no surprise that use in noisy situations is listed as one of the top 10 factors pertaining to hearing aid user dissatisfaction (Kochkin, 2010).
In this article, Stender discussed approaches for increasing hearing aid function in noisy situations, including strategic microphone placement in non-directional devices and the use of wireless accessories that stream the speaker’s voice directly to the listener’s hearing aids.
Strategic microphone placement taps the natural physical characteristics of the external ear to improve speech intelligibility. Outer ear structures have been shown to contribute to greater directivity toward the front than the rear (Ricketts, 2000; Shaw, 1974), which may translate to better speech understanding in noise in situations where the listener is facing the speaker.
Using a wireless hearing aid and accompanying accessories can also reduce the difficulties of hearing in background noise. A clip-on mini microphone can be given to a speaker/companion to stream sound directly to the hearing aid and improve the signal-to-noise ratio for the listener. The same is true of a wireless phone clip accessory that sends sound directly from the user’s mobile phone to their hearing aid.
Read the full article: “Improving Hearing Aid Function in Noisy Situations“.