Silverstein Institute
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Listening Environments, Group Listening, Distance and The Best Hearing Aids for You

Written by Silverstein Institute
Published: 27 Sep 2016

AdobeStock_67773403_4.jpegIf you or a loved one would like to get the most out of your hearing aids, there are a few important considerations to evaluate. Several factors such as distance, environment and group listening will have an impact on the effectiveness of your new hearing aid. Take a few moments to examine some of the obstacles those with hearing aids must confront in listening situations and how you can solve these problems.

Related Blog: How Does Hearing Loss Occur?

Group Listening

In an environment with several speakers present, it’s essential to ensure no more than one speaker is active at any time. Those with hearing loss are able to watch one speaker at a time, making it challenging to keep up with multiple voices. For best results, ask for notification when topics are changed or when a new speaker begins talking to make discussions easier to follow.


Locations with few distractions or a low amount of background noise are a perfect listening environment for those who rely upon hearing aid devices. To improve acoustics, elect to meet in a smaller room. In cases where a large room must be used, sit near the wall to better reflect sound and amplify the voice of a speaker.  Rooms fitted with carpet are also well suited to enhance sound. It’s also important for the environment to be well lit. Listening isn’t just about hearing but also depends upon being able to see the speaker and his or her facial expressions.

Hearing Loop

Check to see if the location has a hearing loop.  A hearing loop is a special type of sound system that works with hearing aids through a magnetic, wireless signal that sends sound through the Telecoil within a hearing aid. If your hearing aid has a Telecoil, there will be an obvious "T" setting on the program switch. If a room is Looped, simply switch on your Telecoil and the speakers voice will be transmitted directly to your hearing aid through their microphone. If you are unsure whether your hearing aid has a Telecoil, check with your audiologist or hearing instrument specialist.

Distance from Speaker

The further away you are from the speaker the less you will be able to hear clearly. In fact, doubling distance from the speaker will cut the sound volume by half. A space of about 3 to 6 feet is estimated to be the most optimal distance for listening. When listening to a speaker, try to be in the same room and facing the speaker directly. The person speaking should not have anything in their mouth or have their mouth covered in any way.

Type of Hearing Aid

Depending on your hearing needs, it may be time to consider upgrading to a more advanced hearing aid. For those with only one hearing aid, consider purchasing another one for your other ear, in order to make sounds sharper and make it easier to locate the source of noises. If you have been using the same hearing aid for years and continue to have problems hearing, you should have your hearing tested again and then take some time to discuss the newest options available with an audiologist or hearing instrument specialist to learn more.

Hearing Loss Guide Download


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