Background Noise – Do Hearing Aids Eliminate It?


Susan L Fenrich, BC-HIS*

The answer to this is:  No. Hearing aids do not eliminate background noise.

I saw an advertisement recently from one of the many franchised hearing aid companies.   It read: “Imagine eliminating background noise.”    Almost every hearing aid wearer complains about background noise, and eliminating it is part of every hearing aid engineer’s imagination.

If you remember when you were younger, and your hearing was normal, there were times when background noise was a real problem for you. As your hearing declined, communicating in noisy environments has gotten more difficult.  Even with properly fit hearing aids people still have trouble understanding the conversation in a noisy environment.

Early hearing aid technology filtered out low-frequency sounds to reduce background noise.  The noise seemed quieter, but so was speech. Today’s digital hearing aids constantly analyze the sound around you.  The sound processing is based on timing, amplitude cues and other complex noise processing strategies rendering them more effective in noise than ever before.  Multi-focus and Adaptive directional microphones are used to focus the amplification in front of you, or towards the origin of the sound source. This offers a better signal-to-noise ratio in difficult listening situations by reducing the noise from the sides or behind you. Made for iPhone® hearing aids by ReSound, offer direct streaming of phone calls, and other audio files, and the ReSound Smart App that you can use to control the direction of your microphones the way you like it.  Signia’s technology offers a reverse focus that is automatic or controlled with their touchControl™ App.

Recently, Oticon introduced the Opn™.   “The extreme processing speed of Velox™ ensures Oticon Opn™ provides the brain with more accurate information about the soundscape. Users can then locate and separate speakers more easily and focus on what they find important. The key to an open sound experience.”  (quote from

Although the Opn™ is Oticon’s best technology to date, it does not necessarily mean that it is the best technology for you and your situation.  Purchasing hearing aids from an independent hearing care provider who offers all the main manufactures technology will ensure that you are receiving the best technology available. The “Big Six” are ReSound, Oticon, Signia (formerly Siemens), Starkey, Widex, and Phonak. Company and franchise stores only offer one product line—it is best to go where you can compare.

When your biggest frustration is hearing in noise keep these things in mind:  It is always harder to hear in noise than in quiet. If you wear “open-fit” hearing aids the background noise will travel directly into the ear as it bypasses the hearing aid and the ear-tip.   You should buy the best hearing aid technology that you can afford. Using an additional mini-mic puts others speech directly in your ear.

At Welsch Hearing Aid Company, we do our best so you hear your best! Call us today at 920-547-4743 for all your hearing aid needs!  Schedule your FREE Ear Exam, Hearing Screening and Demonstration today!   If you really want to make the elimination of background noise more than a figment of your imagination—-we offer custom earplugs to keep out the noise too!

The content contributions of Welsch Hearing Aid Company should not be considered by anyone as a substitute for medical or other hearing health professional diagnosis, treatment, advice, or recommendations.