Hints To Get Rid Of Unwanted Noise
Noise is a part of life – whether it be man-made, natural, wanted, or unwanted. The problem with noise, apart from sometimes being dangerous, is that if you have a hearing deficit, your brain has lost some of the ability to block it out. This makes hearing difficult, even when things are turned up louder to be heard over the noise, as the signal may be unclear.
There are many things you can do to improve what is known as the signal-to-noise ratio to augment your hearing in these trickier environments. Hearing aids can assist, as can simple hearing tactics. But there are also apps for your smartphone or computer that can assist in blocking out the background noise, particularly if you’re using virtual communication methods.
Hint: turn off the noise
If you’re in your own home or travelling in a car – you can turn off the background noise. Are you having difficulty conversing with your communication partners in the home environment?
If so, check to see if there’s any interfering background noise. This could be the radio or TV in the background. It could be a fan or air-conditioner that might be inhibiting the conversation.
Turn off the offending noise or move to another quieter space. In the car, if you’re travelling with a companion, again, turn off the radio and put the windows up. This will eliminate any outside traffic or wind noise that could be competing with the speech signal, making communication more difficult than it should be.
Hint: ask others to reduce the noise
Dining out or having a coffee with friends in the local café should be an enjoyable event. If there is background noise, such as a radio or music, you can ask the manager to turn down the source of the noise. Or you can ask to be seated in a quiet corner, with your back again a wall.
Having a solid surface behind you can help eliminate some of the difficulties when talking in a noisy environment.
Hint: use a noise cancelling app
If you’re having a virtual meeting or catch-up with friends and family, sometimes there is unexpected noise in the background.
The dog might bark, or a truck might drive past the house. This type of noise can interfere enormously with the conversation flow. A microphone or speaker can also create ‘hissing’ or other static noises, which can be annoying. There are a number of noise cancelling apps that can help in this situation.
Neutralizer is an app for Android devices that helps with noise reduction and through its hearing test function, it is individualised to your own hearing levels.
Krisp is an app that helps to rid background noise and echo when you’re in online meetings. All you’ll hear is the other attendees’ voices.
Noise Blocker is another application which is useful in getting rid of all unwanted microphone noise.
Hint: wear your hearing aids
Your hearing aids are prescribed to match your needs and most have good noise reduction technology.
Perhaps your clinician has set up a specific program for you to hear better in noise. If so, make sure you use this program when in noisier listening environments.
If you’re still having trouble hearing in background noise, talk to your Audiologist or Audiometrist to see if your hearing aids can be programmed for you to have a better signal-to-noise ratio when in complex listening environments.