Anyone who has ever tried to speak into a microphone in a windy situation will know that they do not work very well together! The wind on the microphone can cause a very unpleasant roaring sound and distortion. This can happen and has traditionally been known to happen, in hearing aids too. For many, many years, hearing aid users had to remove their instruments when they were out in the wind. This was really upsetting for people who enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking! Luckily, hearing aid technology has improved, and there are also some tips and tricks that you can try to hear better with your hearing aids in the wind.
How the manufacturers try to fix it:
- Special microphone covers and placement
To try and overcome wind noise on hearing aid microphones, hearing aid manufacturers think very carefully about where their microphones are placed, and how they are covered. Microphones are placed so that they are not exposed to the worst of the wind, and usually, they avoid a cavity where the wind could ‘catch’ the microphones. Microphone covers are also chosen with care. The covers need to protect the microphone from wind without altering how well the mic can pick up the sounds around you. With these structural changes, the microphones ‘see’ as little wind as possible.
- Attenuation system
Even with the best possible microphone placement and covers, it is inevitable that some wind will still reach them. This is where the software algorithms kick in. The latest hearing aids are so smart that their software can identify wind noise and reduce it. Sometimes this also leads to a reduction in the sound of speech and other sounds you want to hear, but they are getting better and better at reducing noise without affecting speech. These systems are highly advanced, and some hearing aid users even find with the top technology that they are not bothered by the wind at all anymore.
Tips and Tricks for using hearing aids in the wind:
- Wear a hat or a cap
Keeping the wind off the microphones is the best way to avoid microphone noise. The cheapest and quickest way to achieve this is to wear a hat or a cap that shelters the hearing aids. A wide brim can help to keep the wind away from the microphones and can also help to keep your hearing aids safe and secure while you are out and about. Consider keeping a hat or cap in the car just in case you find yourself in a windy situation.
- Hearing aid cover/ Ear Gear (link)
Some hearing aids can have special wind covers added to protect them from the wind. These more extreme microphone covers might reduce your hearing ability slightly, but they will also help to protect the hearing aids from the wind. Another option are Ear Gears, which are special covers from Behind-The-Ear hearing aids that protect them from wind, dust, and moisture. You can order them online here.
- Better technology
If you try these tips and still find wind noise unbearable, it might be time to consider upgrading your hearing aids. The advanced wind noise management systems mentioned above are relatively new and are sometimes only available in the higher technology levels. If the wind is a big concern for you, or if you spend large portions of your life in windy environments, make sure you mention this to your audiologist so that they can take it into account when recommending hearing aids.
Do you have any tips and tricks to help deal with hearing aids in the wind? Contact us, or comment below. If the wind is a big problem for your hearing aids, we would love to help you find a better solution.