How to help yourself hear better with background noise

Does background noise stop you hearing properly?

Do you find that conversations going on at the same time interfere with each other, so that you can't really understand what anyone is saying? Do you find background noise tiring? Are you not always sure of the direction of a sound?

Understand the cause as a first step to managing in background noise

All these problems are due to unbalanced hearing. So before trying to cope with them, you need to understand their cause. So first read the page about unbalanced hearing. Also accept the fact that anyone with unbalanced hearing is necessarily deaf to some extent in one or both ears. So also read the page on coping with deafness.

How to help yourself with your unbalanced hearing

I have found the following tips help with my unbalanced hearing, and I offer them in the hope that they may help you too.

  • Positioning is important where lots of people are talking at the same time. With my hearing problems, I seem to find background noise and other people's conversations somewhat more bearable when they are in front of me rather than behind me and when they are not reflected directly back at me from a nearby wall. So indoors, the edge of a gathering is preferable to the midst of it. With my back to an open door or archway is better still. Outdoor gatherings are ideal where I can move between small widely spaced groups.
  • Stake an indoor venue out in advance. A few minutes is usually enough. While everyone else is in a cloakroom or having a drink, I always find out where the dining area is and 'reserve' a suitable seat by putting a jacket or whatever on it.
  • If seating places are likely to be allocated in advance, have a word with the host or venue manager in advance to ensure a suitable place. I have never found any response less than helpful and pleasant in this respect.
  • If the background noise is likely to be very bad, it is worth locating a quiet room or corridor to retire to at intervals to recover - as coping with background noise is extremely tiring for someone with unbalanced hearing. Depending on the venue this too can involve a few words in advance with the venue's manager.


Disclaimer: The information on this site is for a lay audience and I cannot be responsible for errors or omissions. The views, strategies, advice and suggestions etc are based on my personal experience and are not necessarily appropriate for anyone else. They should, hopefully, stimulate individuals to develop their own strategies.