The BEST Way to STOP Hearing Aid Wind Noise

As an experienced audiologist, I've heard countless patients express frustration with wind noise interfering with their hearing aids. Whether you're an avid golfer, enjoy long walks, going to the beach, or simply live in a breezy area, wind noise can be more than just an annoyance—it can significantly impact your ability to hear clearly. The good news? Recent advancements in hearing aid technology are offering promising solutions to this long-standing problem.

Understanding the Wind Noise Challenge

To appreciate why wind noise is such a prevalent issue, it's important to understand the design of modern hearing aids. Over 80% of hearing aids dispensed in the United States are Receiver in Canal (RIC) models. These devices are popular for good reason: they're not very visible, can address a wide range of hearing loss from mild to profound, and come packed with advanced features.

However, the RIC design places two microphones behind the ear, which inadvertently makes them more susceptible to wind interference. When air moves across these microphones, it creates a physical disturbance that results in noise. This isn't unique to hearing aids—any device with external microphones, from smartphones to professional video equipment, can suffer from similar wind-related issues.

The Impact on Hearing and Communication

Wind noise doesn't just create an unpleasant sound; it can seriously interfere with your ability to understand speech and engage with your environment. The human voice produces sounds (called phonemes) that mostly fall between 250 Hz and 8,000 Hz. Interestingly, our ear canal has a natural resonance at around 2,700 Hz, which is particularly important for speech comprehension.

Wind noise affects different frequency ranges depending on its speed:
- Light breezes (less than 3 meters per second) typically impact lower frequencies up to about 1,500 Hz
- Moderate winds (3-5 meters per second) can interfere with mid-range frequencies up to around 3,500 Hz
- Strong winds (above 5 meters per second) may disrupt all frequency ranges

This means that even a gentle breeze can start to mask important speech sounds, while stronger winds can make communication nearly impossible without intervention.

Solutions for Wind Noise

In my experience, there are several approaches to dealing with wind noise:

1. Avoid wearing hearing aids outside
This is not a practical solution for most people, as it would mean missing out on many activities and potentially putting yourself at risk by not being able to hear important environmental sounds.

2. Use in-the-canal hearing aids
Devices that place the microphones inside the ear canal naturally shield them from wind. While effective, this style may not be suitable for all types of hearing loss or user preferences.

3. Choose RIC hearing aids with advanced wind noise reduction technology
This option allows users to enjoy the benefits of RIC devices while minimizing wind interference.

The Latest in Oticon Technology

While I previously highlighted the Oticon Real as a standout solution for wind noise, Oticon has since introduced an even more advanced model: the Oticon Intent. This latest iteration builds upon the success of the Real, offering enhanced wind noise reduction capabilities.

Key features of the Oticon Intent:
- Utilizes an improved wind and handling noise stabilizer
- Further reduces wind noise across all frequency ranges
- Employs AI-driven sound processing for better speech clarity in windy conditions
- Maintains the ability to keep both microphones active at low wind speeds, with advanced noise reduction systems

For those who prefer in-the-canal options, Oticon continues to offer the Oticon Own. This model provides excellent wind noise protection due to its placement within the ear canal, while also featuring high-quality sound and connectivity options.

Proven Performance

The effectiveness of Oticon's latest models isn't just based on my personal experience. Rigorous testing, including wind tunnel simulations, has shown that the Intent outperforms its predecessors and competitors in several key areas:

- Further improved signal-to-noise ratio in windy conditions
- Enhanced speech clarity across a wider range of wind speeds
- More natural sound experience, even in challenging outdoor environments

Real-World Benefits

For you as a hearing aid wearer, these technological advancements translate to real-world benefits. Imagine being able to have a clear conversation while walking on a breezy beach, or fully enjoying a round of golf without constant audio interference. The reduction in wind noise not only improves hearing clarity but can also reduce listening fatigue, allowing you to engage more fully in outdoor activities.

Embracing Outdoor Living with Clear Hearing

While wind noise has long been a challenge for hearing aid wearers, new technology is making it possible to enjoy clearer hearing outdoors. If you're struggling with wind noise, you don't have to settle for compromised hearing or avoid outdoor activities. Advanced options like the Oticon Intent for behind-the-ear wearers, or the Oticon Own for those preferring in-canal devices, offer effective ways to address this issue.

Finding the Right Provider

To truly benefit from these technological advancements, it's crucial to work with an audiologist who follows best practices in hearing care. That's why I recommend seeking out a HearingUp provider in your area.

HearingUp providers are committed to delivering the highest standard of hearing care. They follow a comprehensive set of best practices, including:

  1. Performing Real Ear Measurement (REM) to ensure your hearing aids are programmed correctly for your specific hearing loss.
  2. Conducting thorough hearing evaluations to understand your unique hearing needs.
  3. Offering a wide range of advanced hearing aid options to suit different lifestyles and preferences.
  4. Providing ongoing support and adjustments to optimize your hearing experience.

By choosing a HearingUp provider, you're not just getting a hearing aid; you're getting a partner in your hearing health journey. These professionals have the expertise to help you select the right technology for your needs and ensure it's optimized to address challenges like wind noise.

Take the Next Step

Don't let wind noise keep you from enjoying the sounds of life. To find a HearingUp provider near you, use our provider locator tool located here. These audiologists are equipped with the experience and technology to help you overcome wind noise and other hearing challenges.

With the right technology and a skilled provider, you can face the breeze with confidence, knowing that your hearing aids are working to keep your world clear and audible. Take the first step towards better hearing in all environments by connecting with a HearingUp provider today.

Video transcript

Video transcript

Don't like the sound of wind noise when you go outside wearing your hearing aids? Well, don't worry because this might be the solution to your problem. Receiver in canal hearing aids are extremely popular. In fact, the last time that I checked, they accounted for over 80% of all hearing aids dispensed in the United States. Not only are these hearing aids nearly invisible, but they can treat a wide range of hearing losses all the way from a mild hearing loss up to a profound level of hearing loss, and they are typically loaded with all of the latest and greatest features. However, placing these hearing aids behind your ears comes with one major drawback, and that is wind noise. A receiver in canal hearing aid typically has two microphones that sit behind your ears. And while there are benefits to having these microphones behind your ears, it does make them more susceptible to wind noise.

In fact, anything that uses microphones is susceptible to noise generated by wind. This includes microphones on your smartphone while you're on a phone call outside, the microphones that newscasters use while conducting an interview in the field in inclement weather, or the microphones on a video camera that a videographer would use to record an outdoor wedding. The reason that wind is such a problem for the microphones on your hearing aids is that the slow and fast-moving air particles cause a physical disturbance of the microphones. And not only is this annoying, but it interferes with what you're trying to actually hear. You see the majority of sounds called phonemes that make up human speech mostly fall between 250 hertz and 8,000 hertz like you see on this audiogram. Fun fact for you here, the typical ear canal resonance is 2,700 hertz, which is very interesting because it is this frequency range that is extremely critical to understanding human speech.

All right, so back to wind noise. So wind speeds that are less than three meters per second typically impact the lower frequency ranges up to around 1500 hertz. Wind speeds between three and five meters per second, typically interfere with the mid-frequency ranges up to around 3,500 hertz, and wind speeds above five meters per second will typically interfere with all of the frequencies. And like I mentioned before, any of the scratching sound that you hear caused by wind noise not only is extremely annoying, but it interferes with speech, which is why it's such a big problem. This is why a lot of golfers hate wearing receiver in canal hearing aids while they're out on the golf course, especially if they're racing along in their golf cart because the wind noises so much louder. This problem becomes even more apparent if you happen to live in a windy state like my home state of Illinois.

The good news is there is a simple solution to this wind noise problem, but before I tell you what that solution is, if you could do me a huge favor, click that like button, really helps out my channel. And if you are not yet subscribed to the channel with notifications turned on, go ahead and do that as well because that ensures that you never miss one of my newly released videos and I release multiple new videos every single week. That being said, I really appreciate it. Now let's get to that solution. All right. To get rid of wind noise, the only thing that you have to do is wear a dead cat. That's right. All you have to do is put one of these over your ears is going to block all of that wind from interfering with your microphones and you're gonna be good to go.

Of course, I'm just kidding. What you should really be doing instead is getting yourself a pair of Oticon Real hearing aids from Oticon, today's video sponsor. Hearing aid manufacturers have been trying for years to try to get rid of the problem of wind noise, and most manufacturers have not been successful at this. Oticon took this complaint from hearing aid users very seriously when developing the technology inside of their Oticon Real hearing aids, which were designed to significantly reduce the impact of wind noise and handling noise. Now, I've tested a ton of hearing aids over the years, and I can tell you that the Oticon Real hearing aids are some of the best when it comes to reducing the negative effects of wind noise, and they didn't have to harm any cats in the process. And yes, this is known as a dead cat. During my several week review of the Oticon Reals, it happened to be really windy where I live now, which is Phoenix, Arizona, and it was the first time that I can remember that wind did not interfere with speech understanding when on walks with my wife Ashley and my dog

Charley. Oticon's approach to developing their wind and handling noise stabilizer was to shut down the microphones in the specific frequency ranges that it identifies wind noise at very low wind speeds of around two meters per second and below. Oticon was able to keep both microphones active and just use their noise reduction system to get rid of the wind. Now, most traditional wind noise management systems are very good at eliminating wind noise at 1500 hertz and below. However, not only was Oticon successful at reducing wind noise by up to 30 decibels from 1500 hertz and below, but they were also successful in reducing wind noise above 1500 hertz by up to 20 decibels. Now that is huge because every 10 decibels that you reduce that is cutting the amount of noise in half. During wind tunnel testing in Denmark, they were able to see how well the new Oticon Real hearing aids performed at moderate and stronger wind speeds compared to their previous Oticon

More hearing aids. As you can see across the board, the Oticon Real hearing aids were able to significantly outperform the Oticon More hearing aids in both moderate and stronger wind speeds for each frequency range tested and overall, the Oticon Real hearing aids were able to provide an additional signal to noise ratio improvement of 4.3 decibels over the Oticon More hearing aid, which is huge. Meaning that even when reducing wind noise, the Oticon Real can give you better access to speech compared to Oticon's previous generation technology. Not to mention when compared head-to-head with its competitors, the Oticon Real hearing aids outperformed both when it came to the loudness of wind noise and the clarity of speech in wind. Overall, if you're one of the 80 plus percent of individuals who struggle to understand speech when you're outside on a windy day, now you know why. The way I see it is that you've got a few options when it comes to getting rid of wind noise. The first option is to stop wearing your hearing aids outside. And let's face it, that is not a very good option. Option number two is to use a hearing

aid that goes all inside of your ear canal like the Oticon Own because that gets rid of the microphones from behind your ears and puts them in a protected position inside of your ear canals. Option number three is to use a dead cat, which let's face it, this was a joke anyway, so that's out of the question. And option number four is to use a receiver in canal hearing aid that takes care of this problem for you. Honestly, all of these options are probably better than what you're doing right now, so the choice is up to you.

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