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What can be done about an inability to pick out speech from background noise?

(15 Posts)
TimTamTerrier Sat 01-Oct-16 17:16:44

I've had very sharp hearing all my life, and I can still hear very well but I find that I can't hear speech in a busy pub with lots of people talking and music playing in the background. It's really annoying as a lot of social stuff happens in a particular pub that is very busy and noisy. Last year I went to parents' night out for DD's class and I could only have a conversation if the person was right next to me. I don't want to go to another one because it was just so awkward.

Is there anything I can do to solve this? I'm still ok with regular background noise like a restaurant or moderate traffic or having the radio on in the car, it's just the very loud places that I can't cope with anymore.

ooerrmissus Sat 01-Oct-16 17:22:10

OP I don't have an answer but I hope someone does, I've had this problem for 20-plus years, since my late teens, and it's just infuriating. I end up looking like a loon in noisy pubs cos I just smile and nod at people, no idea what they've actually said, it could be some terrible news and I'm smiling and nodding like they've commented on the weather. I avoid those sorts of places now. I can never hear anyone on the phone if there's a noisy background, whether at their end or mine. And yet I am, strangely, fine at concerts! Work that one out!

Branleuse Sat 01-Oct-16 17:22:49

i find this really difficult too. Youre not alone. Not much to be done except picking where you socialise. I cant have a conversation with the radio on or television on either. Can only process one thing at a time

Brontebiscuits Sat 01-Oct-16 17:23:30

There might not be much that can be done. Except as you're doing, speaking to one person at a time or moving to a quieter area to talk. It's very isolating. I wear hearing aids for severe hearing loss and noisy pubs/places are just hell for me.

However if your hearing loss isn't as bad as mine hearing aids might help you as you can get ones that help filter out background noise a bit. Go and get your hearing tested as a start.

Forgetmenotblue Sat 01-Oct-16 17:24:08

I'm the same. I've just got hearing aids, as I work in a school and need to be able to hear speech clearly over background noise. I went privately and got really good ones that are entirely designed for picking up speech. It's been hard to get used to them, but at least once a day I'm so pleased that I did, as I can really focus and hear what someone is saying.

SpeckledyBanana Sat 01-Oct-16 17:24:53

I have trouble with this too. I have a bit of high frequency hearing loss, which seems to relate to me struggling to hear my DC against traffic noise recently.

Brontebiscuits Sat 01-Oct-16 17:26:28

Forgetmenot- can I ask what kind you got and how much they were?

Forgetmenotblue Sat 01-Oct-16 17:29:31

I got Phonak v90s from Boots. They were about 3000 (!). But I'm doing interest free payments monthly as that's the only way I could afford are very customisable to your needs. I've had mine adjusted (electronically tunedto certain frequencies, blotting out others) several times, and I'll go back again in a couple of weeks for another fine tune.

Brontebiscuits Sat 01-Oct-16 17:34:56

Ah okay. Are the in the ear or behind the ear? I have pretty severe hearing loss and have to have behind the ear. I have digital NHS ones at the moment and they're OK but wondering if private would make that much difference. (Sorry for hijack OP blush)

Forgetmenotblue Sat 01-Oct-16 17:37:25

Behind the ear. I only didn't do NHS cos my mum has some NHS ones and they haven't helped her at all.

StealthPolarBear Sat 01-Oct-16 17:38:05

I struggle with this as well, good hearing but background noise I really struggle wih

TimTamTerrier Sat 01-Oct-16 17:47:03

No problem hijacking Bronte. I think I might go and get a hearing test then. I'll only need to wear them for nights out (for the time being anyway) as I otherwise have no difficulties at all.

BatSegundo Mon 03-Oct-16 15:24:45

A hearing test is a good idea. There are also noise-cancelling earphones that can dramatically reduce background noise. They are obviously not the most subtle thing to wear on a night out, but ear buds that do the same job are now being developed:
www.informationsociety.co.uk/nuheara-iqbuds-are-a-lot-more-than-just-wireless-earbuds-treehugger/
Not cheap, but a lot cheaper than many hearing aids.

TimTamTerrier Tue 04-Oct-16 22:42:41

Interesting, I can't wear things in my ear though. My ear canals are small and easily irritated.

DaniSecker Wed 05-Oct-16 14:46:44

I have this problem but I've always thought my hearing was bad! I find it really hard to understand people when there's background noise, and if they have strong accents. Add that to wearing masks (I work in operating theatres) and it's annoying for everyone who speaks to me. But I can hear perfectly fine, I've just never thought that maybe my hearing is to do with picking up conversations out of background noise!

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