Turn an ear to hear
Our research showed that listeners in a noisy situation benefit from facing slightly away from the person they are listening to – turning one ear towards the speech.
This benefit was demonstrated in normal-hearing listeners and cochlear implant users.
In particular, cochlear implant users typically struggle in noisy social settings such as restaurants, but turning an ear to hear can enable these listeners to engage in conversations, and not become isolated.
This graph shows a 4-decibel improvement to intelligibility of speech in noise experienced by normal-hearing listeners and cochlear implant users in our laboratory. A 4-decibel improvement can be the difference between understanding nothing and perfect understanding. The speech was in front of the listener and interfering noise behind.
For more details, our scientific reports can be found here:
Grange, J.A., Culling, J.F., 2016a. The benefit of head orientation to speech intelligibility in noise. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 139(2), p.703–712.
Grange, J.A., Culling, J.F., 2016b. Head orientation benefit to speech intelligibility in noise for cochlear implant users and in realistic listening conditions. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 140(6), p.4061–4072.