Hearing Better in Special Listening Situations

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A wide range of devices can be used with or instead of hearing aids to help you hear better in special listening situations. These devices can assist you with watching television alone or with members of the family, communication over the telephone or going to public places.

Special hearing devices or a special setting of your hearing aid may be used when you need an extra boost for a difficult listening condition. Here are some examples:

  • Watching television. A wide range of devices are available to help you hear the television more clearly. Some of these devices work with your hearing aids, others do not. One excellent alternative to hearing aids are special, infrared headphones. They will not interfere with the television volume, so the whole family can watch television together at a comfortable volume.

  • Using the telephone. Using the telephone while wearing hearing devices can take some practice. You may find you hear better using one style of phone over another. Many phones now have volume controls. When selecting a cell phone be sure to ask for one that is compatible with your hearing aid and be sure to try it out before you purchase it.

  • Driving your car. You can tone down the amount of road noise by raising the windows in the car. Or, if you wear two hearing aids, you can take off the one hearing aid that is closest to the window (and road noise), and use only the hearing aid that is away from the window. This still allows you to hear conversation in the car while softening the road noises.

  • Eating out. When you make reservations at a restaurant, ask for a table in a quiet location with good lighting. If possible, sit with your back to most of the noise. Hearing aids with directional microphones help you hear better what is in front of you than what is behind you.

  • Attending lectures, meetings, church etc. If your hearing is the same in both ears, sit close to the person speaking. If your hearing is better in one ear, sit with the better ear closest to the speaker. Ask an usher if they offer any special equipment to help hearing impaired people hear well.

  • At home. Always use your hearing instruments. The more you wear them, the better your brain will become at separating speech from noise. Tell friends and family that you have a hearing problem and tell them how to speak so you can understand them. Have them get your attention by speaking your name before they start talking to you. Ask them to not speak to you from another room.

  • At work. Be your own best advocate. Tell you co-workers that you have a hearing loss so they can talk clearly and face you.

  • Theatres, banks, airports, schools. Many of these buildings offer special services for hearing impaired individuals including Loop, Infrared and FM Systems. These special systems take the sound and bring it directly to your ears so you can hear it more clearly.

External Source

Better Hearing Institute. Tips for Hearing in Noise. Accessed March 2008. Available at:

Author: Dr. Tomi Browne

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