What? You Can't Hear them Say: "On Your Left" When on Your Snowboard?

November 15, 2016


Autumn is in Full force and Winter is coming. (Well, Eventually it will get to Northern Colorado)


It is time for Thanksgiving, Holidays and spending time with our friends and family around the fireplace or out in the great outdoors on some fresh powder.


Though, in addition to the walking hazards of wind, sleet and snow, being outdoors can pose some other challenges to our hearing aids as well. 




Hearing aids can return your ability to hear and communicate with those around you. 


However, as I like to remind new hearing aid users (and sometimes experienced users too) that "They are hearing aids and not hearing cures".


There always will be some challenges with using hearing instruments even after they are fit appropriately. 


Two of the most common issues mentioned after getting hearing aids is how they perform in background noise and outdoors in wind. 


I have touched on the performance of hearing aids in noisy and loud situations in the previous entries "Aren't all hearing aids the same?" and "A Night out in Scottsdale." 


Whether you enjoy skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or just a stroll around the block with someone on brisk fall day, all of these scenarios are opportunities for wind to interfere with your ability to hear and to communicate by covering up or masking, the sounds or conversation you are trying to hear. 



Hearing in wind can be a challenge for many and not all hearing aids approach handling the negative effects of wind equally.


Some hearing aids may adjust the pattern and performance of the microphones and also the noise reduction features to try to reduce the negative effects of wind.


Other hearing aids may utilize input from both hearing aids to try to eliminate wind, while another hearing aid may utilize input from the two microphones on one hearing aid.


Some may have a physical wind screen on the microphones and use it in conjunction with one of the processes mentioned above. 


In addition to these features and processes, one could decide to have special program in their hearing aid for windy situations. There are several ways a wind program could be setup depending on how one would like to use it, so communicating with your hearing healthcare provider working with your devices is key.


With hearing aids trying to tackle the negative impact wind can have on communication and comfort in different ways, knowing what the technology is trying to accomplish and which scenarios it is most effective can go along way towards understanding its abilities and providing good solutions.


Last but not least, even though it can be cold out there, always remember to use a drying kit for your hearing aids to help deal with moisture and sweat. Even simple activities can get sweat going and hearing aids are electronic devices that even with their IP ratings are not immune to the effects of nature so plan accordingly! 




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