Why do I have a hard time hearing in noisy situations?

If you have a hard time hearing in noisy situations you’re not alone nor is it surprising. We live in an increasingly noisy world. Noise levels in workplaces as well as restaurants, bars, concerts and even shops can reach dangerous levels. For example, studies show that noise levels in some New York bars regularly reach 100 dB and that the average sound level in Toronto nightclubs hits 96dB–well over the safe limit for unprotected noise exposure.

And for those with hearing loss even moderate background noise levels in common social settings can make it very hard to hear. For these people the question why do I have a hard time hearing in noisy situations often grows out of painful frustration and social isolation.

The good news is there are some things you can do to make life a whole lot easier. But first of all let’s look at some reasons why you might be struggling to hear in noisy situations.

Loss of high frequencies

One reason we find it hard to hear in noisy settings comes down to our inability to hear high frequencies. In order to distinguish words we need to be able to hear those high frequency consonants such as s, t, k, p and so on. Not only does background noise tend to cover those sounds but the upper hearing frequencies are often the first to be affected in hearing loss making it doubly difficult to hear words clearly.

Inability to detect direction of sounds

You might also be having a hard time hearing in noisy situations because your brain can’t work out where sounds are coming from. Hearing loss makes direction location even harder. In noisy social settings the conversation or sounds you want to focus on frequently get lost in a chaotic jumble of distracting background noises.

The problem is the brain struggles to work out whether that sound was someone speaking to you from your side or behind you or maybe it wasn’t someone speaking to you at all—it’s exhausting.

Loud noises are painfully distracting

You might also find it very difficult to hear in noisy situations because background noises are painful and distracting. Hearing loss is sometimes associated with heightened sensitivity to certain sounds. For example, the clatter of plates or the whistling of the espresso machine in the restaurant can be extremely unpleasant.

Not only do these noises distract your attention from the sounds you want to focus on but they can make some social settings tiring and unpleasant.

Hearing in noisy situations made easier

If you’re struggling to hear in noisy settings here are some ways you can make life easier for yourself. You might also want to share these nine tactics with your friends and family to make conversation with you easier.

Research shows that hearing aids can make an enormous difference to your life if you are struggling with noisy situations. Hearing aids can help by:

  • Enhancing speech recognition
  • Improving direction location
  • Protecting against sudden noises
  • Filtering out background noise such as wind

The House of Hearing mission is to help make it easier for you to hear in noisy settings. Talk to us today and take back your social life.

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