How Does Noise Reduction Work in Hearing Aids?

How Does Noise Reduction Work in Hearing Aids?

Frank Cote


Uncover how noise reduction in hearing aids works to enhance speech comprehension in noisy environments. Discover its challenges and future.

One of the main challenges people with hearing impairment face is understanding speech in noisy environments. Hearing aids are equipped with technology to counter this: noise reduction systems.

This feature aims to enhance speech comprehension by minimizing the impact of surrounding noise. But how does this essential function operate in practice?

Let’s get into it!

Auditory Assistive Devices and Sound

To understand noise reduction, it's crucial to grasp how auditory assistive devices process sound. These devices capture sound using a microphone, which is then converted into a digital signal. This digital signal is processed and amplified before it's delivered to the ear.

This sound processing includes various steps like:

  • Filtering
  • Amplification
  • Compression
  • Noise reduction

Take note: Each step works in conjunction to provide the user with the clearest, most comprehensible auditory experience.

The Science Behind Noise Reduction

Noise reduction operates based on the principle that speech and noise have distinct properties. Speech often fluctuates in volume, while most noise sources produce a constant sound level. This difference in properties helps the noise reduction algorithm to differentiate between speech and noise.

Here’s how it works:

When the device picks up a sound, it is analyzed in real time by the digital signal processor. The processor segments the signal into various frequency bands. By comparing the level of sound in these bands to a long-term estimate of the noise level, it can distinguish speech from noise.

Using a hearing aid in noisy environments
Using a hearing aid in noisy environments

Once the processor identifies noise, it can suppress it. It does this by reducing the gain or volume in the specific frequency bands where noise is present. This reduction only happens when speech isn't detected in that band, ensuring the device doesn't inadvertently suppress speech.

Challenges in Noise Reduction

While the principle sounds simple, it's not without its challenges. First, noise isn't always constant. For instance, competing speech from multiple people can be particularly tricky for the noise reduction system. These sounds aren't steady and can overlap with the frequencies of the desired speech, making them hard to suppress.


The device has to act incredibly fast. It must analyze and process sound in real time to provide the user with an uninterrupted listening experience. Ensuring this fast response while maintaining sound quality is a significant technical feat.

Noise Reduction and User Experience

The primary aim of noise reduction technology in auditory assistive devices like hearing aids is to enhance the user's comfort while listening. The intricate algorithms within these devices work to reduce the level of background noise. This function gives the user the ability to concentrate more on speech, making interactions with others not just more enjoyable, but also less mentally exhausting.

Here’s a FACT:

Noise reduction technology operates on the understanding that comprehension of spoken words is more than just hearing the sounds; it's about clarity and minimizing distractions. By dampening background noise, the technology facilitates easier and clearer conversations, even in environments with considerable ambient noise.

The Jabra Enhance is one of those brands that are using this technology and based on our extensive review, it really helped in improving the sound quality as their devices are capable of focusing on specific sounds.

Setting Your Expectations

It's crucial, however, to manage expectations about this technology. While noise reduction is indeed a significant step forward in auditory assistance, it doesn't entirely eliminate background noise. It reduces the intensity of unwanted ambient sounds to an extent, but in heavily noisy environments, understanding speech can still pose a challenge.

In addition...

The performance of noise reduction can vary based on the complexity of the noise environment and the sophistication of the auditory assistive device. The noise reduction capability has its limitations, but it undeniably improves the listening experience significantly, making conversations in a noisy world more accessible and enjoyable.

Hearing care professional
Hearing care professional

To know more about this technology and if it can indeed used to your advantage, it would be best to consult with a hearing care professional or audiologist.

The Future of Noise Reduction

Noise reduction technology is continually evolving. With advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning, future auditory assistive devices are expected to have even more effective noise reduction capabilities. These could potentially adapt more precisely to various environments and types of noise, providing users with an even better listening experience.

The bottom line?

Noise reduction in hearing aids is a sophisticated technology designed to improve speech comprehension in noisy environments. While the process has its challenges, it significantly enhances the user's listening comfort. With ongoing advancements in technology, this feature is set to become even more effective in the future, further enhancing the listening experience for those with hearing impairment.

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A hearing aid is a device that amplifies sound waves to make them louder so they can be heard better with pure and refined quality if you’re experiencing hearing loss. Usually, it has one or more tiny microphones inside that picks up the sound, an amplifier that does the job in increasing the sound volume, and speakers that will send this improved and amplified sound to your eardrums so you can hear them better. This may be worn in or behind the ear, depending on the design and style.

The price of a hearing aid may vary and this would greatly depend on several factors such as the hearing aid type, the technology being used, and the available features. On average, a basic pair of adult hearing aids may cost around $2,000 and $3,000, while the advanced models with more features and better technology may have higher price tags.

There is no definitive answer to which hearing aid brand or model is the best, as it all comes to your specific hearing conditions, preferences, needs, and budget. Every hearing aid manufacturer may offer their devices with different kinds of features and this could significantly affect their prices. Some of the most popular hearing aid brands include Jabra, Eargo,, Audious, MD Hearing, and Audien, so it’s worth checking out their products.

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