Fall is here, and the blustery weather it brings is just around the corner. If you are like many other people who use hearing aids, this kind of weather may not be welcome. As advanced as hearing aids have become, wind can still make hearing a little more difficult.
Wind and hearing aids
Hearing aids come in many styles and offer many features, but how they work to help those with hearing loss hear remains pretty consistent:
- The hearing aid microphone is where it all starts. The microphone takes in sound and translates it into a digital code. This code can also specify pitch and tone. Your hearing healthcare provider may make adjustments to personalize settings.
- The digital code then sent to the amplifier and speaker.
- Finally, the speaker changes it back into sound energy for the inner ear to “hear.”
It is in the very first step in the process, the microphone, where wind can pose a problem. Just like trying to talk on a phone outside while the wind is blowing, the microphone “hears” the wind and creates a rushing sound that can make it difficult to hear other sounds and conversation.
Managing the wind
While it’s not possible to stop the wind on a blustery day, it is possible to minimize it for better sound quality. If you see wind in the forecast, follow these tips to limit its effect on your hearing during the day:
- Protect your ears – Cutting down on wind noise can be as simple as grabbing some extra gear before you walk out the door. A hat or scarf can help shield your ears and hearing aids from the rush of the wind. These are also a must when the wind is accompanied by rain or drizzle to protect hearing aids from getting damaged by the water.
- Opt for a hearing aid add-on – Wind on hearing aid microphones interfering with hearing is such a common problem that some companies have created add-on solutions. Windscreens, windshields and even Ear Gear are examples of devices that can be attached to or slipped over your hearing aid to minimize wind’s effect.
- Consider changing settings – In some cases, hearing aid programming can be adjusted to account for wind noise. Discuss options with your hearing healthcare provider.
- Upgrade your hearing aid – Depending on your budget, you may want to upgrade your hearing aid. Newer hearing aids often have more robust capabilities and features to manage background noise such as wind while still bringing important sounds like a conversation to the forefront. Many of the newer hearing aids come with technology that helps reduce background noise while increasing the volume of speech. Smaller in-the-canal hearing aids are also less likely than behind the ear hearing aids to be affected by the rush of wind over the microphone.
Do discuss options with your hearing healthcare provider to determine what may work best for your needs and lifestyle. If you have questions about your hearing health, how to hearing better in windy weather with hearing aids or would like to schedule a hearing evaluation, call our office to schedule an appointment.