Background noise used to be the main complaint by hearing instrument users: they could hear well in quiet situations but not in noisy ones. However, improved performance in background noise has been the main contribution of recent hearing instrument technology. Today, many modern hearing instruments can provide dual microphones, multiple memories, and special digital noise reduction systems that cut down the background noise quite significantly, making communication a lot easier even in noisy situations.
Another important aspect which improves listening in background noise conditions is the use of hearing instruments in both ears instead of just one. In fact, to alleviate problems with background noise it may even be preferable to have two “not so sophisticated” hearing instruments rather than only one “top of the line” instrument.
One or two hearing instruments? We have two ears for a reason – they enable us to localize sounds in space and to improve the signal to noise ratio, crucial in background noise situations. Ideally, if there is a hearing loss in both ears, both ears should be aided. However, this may not be possible for everyone. The hearing test results and personal needs must be taken into account in the decision. Your audioprosthologist will recommend which ear to fit if only one hearing instrument is to be worn.