Time to Read: 7 minutes
People who are new to wearing hearing aids are often amazed at the sounds they hear - conversations with friends at a cafe, the delightful laugh of grandchildren.
They’re the good sounds you want to hear, but some odd noises that your hearing aids will pick up which are not so pleasant. In fact, they’re downright annoying!
Let's look at:
- What are those sounds?
- Why does this happen?
- Are hearing aids worth it?
- How to overcome these strange sounds
- Sounds your children (or grandchildren) have never heard
What are those sounds?
Your voice - have you ever listened to a recording of your voice and thought it didn’t sound like you? With hearing aids, the effect is even more pronounced.
When you listen to your own voice, you’re getting the sound in a couple of different ways - through your ears and via your skull, as sound from your vocal chords travel up into your head and is also picked up by your ear drum.
The sound of eating - there’s not a lot you can do about that except to learn to ignore those sounds
Your hair - yes, even your hair can make a sound, especially if you have long hair that brushes against the microphone of your hearing aid.
Your clothes - the sound of slipping a jacket over a shirt, the clunk of heels on tiled floors, all of those subtle sounds you’ve been missing will now become more clear.
Household sounds - you might be surprised how loud household sounds are - ticking clocks, clanking of dishes as you put them in the sink, the woosh of a dishwasher, the whine of a high spinning washing machine. The sounds have always been there, but your brain considers them to be novel.
Traffic - after a while, sounds like passing traffic just fades into the background. Rest assured, this will happen again as your brain gets used to processing sounds it’s been missing out on.
Wind - of all the ‘new’ sounds our clients report being most sensitive to, is the wind. On a breezy day, wind rushing across the microphones can be intensely annoying. Some people find relief by donning a hat or wearing their hair a little longer over their ears.
However leading hearing aid manufacturers are well aware of the issue and have created programs to overcome it:
- Widex: Widex has the Wind Noise Attenuation System. With this system in place, hearing aids can automatically detect wind noise – and react immediately.
- Oticon: Wind Noise Management (WNM) is part of the state-of-the-art noise management that works in parallel with OpenSound Navigator. It comes into effect when the hearing aid microphones detect wind noise. WNM receives an accurate signal input after calibration in 64 channels.
- Phonak: WindBlock is Phonak’s wind management program.
Why does this happen?
Properly fitted hearing aids don’t just crank up the volume on everything, they increase it in those areas where you have a hearing loss. Think of them as your own personal graphic equaliser, increasing the volume where you need it most.
If they’re sounds you’ve not heard for a while, your brain is going to focus on them because they’re novel. Once your brain works out what those sounds are and they’re safe to ignore, they’ll fade into the background once again.
Are hearing aids worth it?
Despite the learning curve, wearing your hearing aids are most certainly worth it. Researchers have found that maximising your hearing can:
- Improve Quality of Life
- Manage Depression
- Maximise Your Memory
- Reduce The Risk Factor For Dementia
How to overcome these strange sounds
Practice and patience are two of the important things you can do to get used to wearing hearing aids and dealing sounds.
Start by sitting in a quiet room and observe and make a list of the sounds you can hear. Do that again in a few weeks time. When you refer back to your list, you’ll find those sounds don’t bother you anymore.
Try the same thing at your local park. Sit down on the park bench and close your eyes. Concentrate on one type of sound - the sound of a bird in the trees, a dog barking, the rustling of the leaves, the sound of children playing on the swings, the tick-tick-tick of the wheels of a bicycle as it goes by. That will help you to isolate sounds and correctly identify them.
It will also help you learn to filter out general background noises that you can now hear, but don’t need to pay close attention to.
We have some great tips here that are worth looking at whether your hearing aids were fitted yesterday or whether you’re an old hand with these devices.
You can also use audiobooks to help with your auditory rehabilitation.
Sounds your children (or grandchildren) have never heard
But it’s not just mature folk who are missing out on particular sounds. Have you every considered how changes in technology means there are certain sounds we never hear any more?
The lifestyle site, Mental Floss has come up with 11. Do you agree? Can you come up with more? Let us know in comments.
- Rotary Dial Telephone
- Manual Typewriter
- Coffee Percolator
- Flash Cube
- TV Channel Selector
- Record Changer
- Gas Station Driveway Bell
- TV Station Sign-off
- Cash Register
- Film Projector
- Broken Record
Speaking of typewriters, no one can beat the incomparable Jerry Lewis and the typewriter skit from his 1963 comedy Who’s Minding The Store.