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Why Can't You Hear People Very Well with Mild Background Noise?

a man cupping a hand to his ear

If you are struggling to understand conversation when there is mild background noise, then you may be struggling with some hearing loss. You may have even been tested at one point, and your hearing test came back as normal, but you know that this is not the case. If you do have hearing loss, then your ears are not working in the same way as those who hear normally. Your inner ear is generally working harder to make sense of the stimulus. If you do struggle to hear ordinary conversation, then you may have one of a number of problems.

What is auditory process disorder?

Auditory process disorder (APD) is a problem where the brain cannot deal with the input of auditory sounds in s normal way. It is a problem that can affect people of all ages, but generally speaking, the problem starts when you are a child. 

What are the symptoms of APD?

APD can manifest in many ways, such as:

  • Finding speech hard to understand: This is especially true when there is background noise. Or, if there is more than one person talking.
  • Having problems distinguishing sounds from one another: This is especially true with similar-sounding words like shoulder and soldier. 
  • You can’t concentrate with background noise: You may struggle with listening to instructions, and even speaking clearly.
  • You may not be able to listen to music.

What is high-frequency hearing loss?

People with high-frequency hearing loss are unable to hear higher-frequency sounds. It is a type of sensorineural hearing loss where damage has occurred to the ears. Usually, this happens when the little hairs in the inner ear fall out or are damaged in some way.   

What are the symptoms of high-frequency hearing loss?

If you have this type of hearing loss, you may find it very difficult to heat conversation even in a relatively low background noise environment. However, if this background noise escalates, where everyone seems to be talking at once, you will find it next to impossible to understand what anyone is saying. When someone suffers from this type of hearing loss, they tend to disappear off and isolate themselves away from lively social engagements. This can happen to anyone.

The symptoms of this type of hearing loss are:

  • Having difficulty in keeping up with a conversation in either quiet or busy environments. You may be able to hear, but you have difficulties in understanding.
  • When the volume is turned up on the television, you cannot understand it anymore.
  • You may have issues understanding female voices and children's voices. 
  • Music sounds distorted, especially when it is turned up to a high volume. 
  • Listening can become a chore and can tire you out.

What is attention deficit disorder (ADD)?

ADD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can also mean that you have issues hearing in a room that has background noise. People who have either of these issues have extreme problems concentrating and have impulses and hyperactivity issues. They may experience social situations. In this case, there is probably no actual hearing loss, but a hearing aid may still be useful to bring attention back round to the speaker, teacher or whoever. 

Not being able to hear in a noisy room can have many side effects. It may hinder your ability to get a job at an interview. It may cause you to appear slow, and over time, affect your mental health. The best thing you can do if you do struggle with any of the problems listed above is to go to the audiologist and invest in a hearing test. If you can get some health care that can improve your ability to find work, socialize and generally be a normal person, then it is worth it. All it takes is a simple and painless hearing test. Then you can purchase the right hearing aids and be on your way. Anyone who has been living with hearing loss will not believe the difference a hearing aid can have, especially now with all the new features. Some of them can filter out background sound and others can play your smartphone through it  

So, if you struggle with hearing in a room where this is little to mild background noise, you should be looking to get some assistance. Why not call the Speech & Hearing Center at 423-622-6900, now and discuss your hearing with one of the friendly and helpful staff members who will be able to book you in for your hearing test?