Today’s #1 hearing challenge is understanding speech in noisy environments.
People with normal hearing and cognitive processing are able to isolate the source of a single sound in the presence of background noise. However, those who have trouble focusing on a single voice among many others can be said to suffer from the Cocktail Party Problem.
The Cocktail Party Problem is most common among people with hearing loss – whether they wear hearing aids or not – but can also be found among those with clinically normal hearing (a situation called “hidden hearing loss”). Regular hearing aids, which amplify sound overall but don’t isolate individual sources well, are not only ineffective, they can actually make the Cocktail Party Problem worse.