Do you find it more difficult to hold a conversation in a station than in the quiet of your own home? 

A busy setting such as a station has lots of sounds competing for your attention. This makes it difficult to concentrate on what’s important, such as the ticket inspector’s directions.

However, to help you hear clearly in all situations there are different settings on your hearing device. Here’s how to make the most of those settings.

1. Different environments

Your hearing needs vary depending on where you are. For example, reading quietly at home is less challenging on the ear than following a conversation in a crowded restaurant. This is largely due to noise intrusion such as the clatter of plates, buzz of conversation or hubbub of laughter. All of these compete for your auditory attention making it more difficult to focus in on what your partner is saying at the same table.

Most hearing aids have different settings so as to optimize your hearing depending on where you are. Typically these programs are designed to cope with background noise in public places, public auditoriums or places of worship, a speaker directly in front of you, outdoor settings and normal household noises. 

These all require subtly different use of the microphone in your hearing device. For example, when outdoors the wind blowing across a hearing aid’s microphone makes for an unpleasant whistling sound. But selecting for the outdoor program reduces this effect and makes for clearer hearing.

How you select for them will depend on your device, but may mean pressing a button on the hearing device or using a remote control.

2. Directional microphones

The reason we turn our heads to listen is to angle our ears towards the speaker so as to hear them more clearly. One problem hearing aid users can struggle with is they find background noises are amplified just as much as a speaker, making it harder to hear the person in front of them. Directional microphones can make all the difference, because you can select from which direction the sound is amplified. For example, in the noisy restaurant select the option for the microphone to pick up those sounds directly in front of you, thus aiding holding a conversation.

3. T-Coil

Most hearing devices have a T-coil function, which you either select manually with a switch or button, or it clicks in automatically when you hold a phone to your ear. T-coils make speaking on the phone much easier as they take the magnetic phone signal and turn it into amplified sound in your hearing aid.

4. Programing

Your hearing test gives the audiologist information about your specific hearing needs. This makes it possible to program the hearing aid to maximize its effectiveness for you.

If at any stage you are unhappy with your devices performance, then contact your audiologist who will be able to fine tune the hearing aid to improve the listening experience.