Every person living with hearing loss experiences it differently. One patient may have a different level of severity or a different type of hearing loss than another. And no matter the level, hearing loss has a unique impact on each individual’s life. But there’s one thing that most patients find difficult: speech in noise. We’ll explain what that means and why speech in noise testing is essential!
What is Speech In Noise?
Hearing loss does not often manifest all at once. Most patients find the loss of their hearing to be a gradual process. And the first time many of them realize they have a problem is when they can’t understand speech in noise.
When you are in a loud environment like a restaurant, a social gathering, or a park, your brain can selectively focus on the sounds you want to hear. This ability allows you to carry on a conversation with someone and hear what they are saying despite loud background noise. You’re effectively “tuning out” other sounds, like the babble of other conversations, the wind in the trees, or noisy traffic, and focusing instead on the words being spoken by your conversation partner. Often you may not even realize you’re doing it!
However, hearing loss removes some of these abilities. While you may be aware that you are in a loud environment, you might find it more difficult to understand a conversation that you would normally have been able to hear.
Why It Matters
When you lose your ability to parse speech from background noise, it becomes difficult to maintain conversations. You may only be able to hear people speaking in quiet environments. You might feel isolated from the people around you, which is one of the reasons hearing loss can contribute to depression and cognitive decline.
The problem that brings many patients to The Hill Hear Better Clinic is the inability to hear speech in noise. That’s why we make it a central part of each hearing evaluation. Hearing loss can impact your life in many different ways, but regaining speech-in-noise hearing is one of the key ways we can improve your quality of life and ensure your treatment plan is working.
How Speech In Noise Testing Works
At your evaluation, we’ll test your hearing abilities in noisy situations. There are many different Speech In Noise or SIN tests, but they all require you to identify sounds over a loud background. They simulate a sentence being spoken over the babble of ambient conversations or other noisy situations. By measuring your ability to identify speech in noise, we can tailor your treatment plan to your specific needs.
Your treatment plan may call for hearing aids or other audio assistant devices like external microphones. Many of today’s hearing aids include directional audio and other features that can help improve your recognition of speech in noise – just one of the many benefits of new hearing aid technology.
SIN testing can help us find the right device for your needs. It can also demonstrate how your device will function in different hearing situations so that you’re prepared for what you’ll hear in the real world. And by performing SIN testing at your annual evaluations, we can track your level of hearing loss and the quality of your treatment over time, which gives us the chance to make adjustments and improvements.
Ready to see the difference speech in noise testing can make in your hearing care? Contact us today to book your hearing evaluation at The Hill Hear Better Clinic!