It was about 2003, I was working in Oxford city centre and was walking into town at lunch with a friend. On the way back to the office I was talking away about something or other and, whilst still talking, I turned to my friend and saw he had a really weird look on his face, kind of half embarrassment and half WTF, so I carried on talking anyway. As we walked on I noticed a few other people turning to look at us. I wasn't sure what was going on but it was strange.
We got back into the office and my friend was all, "uh.......mate, why were you shouting your head off out there?".
It had been windy out and my hearing aids were doing a reasonable job of blocking the noise out but were also making everything else quieter, so I really was shouting my way down Oxford high street and I thought I was talking normally.
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Wind noise is a real problem for hearing aid wearers, it sounds exactly like the noise when you blow hard into a microphone because that is exactly what is happening: the wind is blowing hard on the aid's microphone. Depending on what hearing aids you have this can be a very loud noise that more or less makes your aids unusable on windy days. Back in 2003, and for some years afterwards, the roar of wind noise on the microphone was enough to give me a headache pretty quickly.
So how can you reduce the wind noise problem and hear better on windy days?
Wear a hat
Yep, pretty simple fix. A hat pulled down over your ears is going to protect your hearing aids from a lot of the wind.
Ear Gear is basically a sock for your hearing aid and it works amazingly. The idea is that you pull a thin, elasticated cover over your hearing aid and wear the aid as normal. The material of the Ear Gear blocks out the wind noise but does not alter your everyday sound quality at all - so you get very little wind noise but perfect speech listening as you would normally do.
Ear Gear is also great for keeping sweat and other moisture out of your hearing aids.
I have been wearing Ear Gear for a few months, I use them when I am out running to stop my sweat getting into my aids and also to cut out wind noise as I am moving (not moving all that fast but hey).
Ear Gear is around $25 for a pair and is completely worth it in my opinion.
Upgrade your hearing aids
A slightly more expensive option! Modern hearing aids do a great job of reducing wind noise whilst still allowing you to hear speech clearly. When I talked earlier about the incident in Oxford, my old hearing aids were blocking out a lot of wind noise for me but also blocking out everything else - modern hearing aids do a better job of only blocking out the wind noise but leaving other sounds intact. You can still hear a lot of wind coming through the mic, they don't block it out completely, but voices are still understandable over the top.
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