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image of wind storm blowing trees and person trying to hold umbrellaDo you ever have problems hearing when you are in a car? People with hearing loss and hearing aids often complain of their difficulty hearing in their cars. Road noise can drown out understanding of other people in the car. This is especially true in Denver and Colorado where the winter snows can make the toad surface excessively pitted and noisy.

There are at least two issues that affect hearing and understanding of speech when you’re in a car.

As you might guess, the first one is the presence of a hearing loss. Even a slight, seemingly insignificant hearing loss in most situations, can cause significant problems in background noises such as road noise. Reduced hearing affects how easily it is to hear very soft speech sounds. Louder noises, such as road noise, mask or cover up the very soft speech sounds that convey great amounts of speech information. Many people have a problem hearing only in noisy places. This is a common type of hearing problem.

An example: the very soft sounds of “s”, “f” and “t”  (as in the word “soft”). These sounds may be heard in quiet, but when you get into a noisy place, they become inaudible. So what you may hear instead of the word “soft” is “_o__.” You may say, “I can hear, but people mumble.” If this sounds like you, please have your hearing checked. Hearing better works wonders.

Using appropriately selected and fitted hearing aids is the first step for easier, comfortable hearing. Hearing aids can’t make the road noises go away, but they can help you hear speech more easily.

Road noises include noises from tires, the engine and wind noise. The amount of soundproofing of your vehicle affects the intensity of the noises and the ease of having a “quiet” conversation. It may be difficult to make changes in the noise-proofing of the car’s cabin. but there is one area that can make a difference for you.

Tires. Tread design and size effects road noise. Spending a little bit more on a selection of tires that provide greater noise control may be worth the improved ease of a quieter conversation.

Below is a list of tires identified by a tire survey* by TireRack.com as the quietest all-season passenger touring tires for cars. The rankings were based on a 10 point scale. The higher the score, the better.

  • Michelin Primacy MXV4     8.8
  • Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring      8.6
  • Michelin Primacy MXM4             8.6
  • Bridgestone Turanza Serenity    8.7

This is the ranking for crossover/SUVs all-season touring tires.

    • Bridgestone Dueler H/L 422 Ecopia    9.0
    • Continental CrossContack LX20 with EcoPlus Technology    8.7
    • Dunlop Signature CS                 8.7

By considering one of these tires products, you may be able to see immediate results in noise levels and more comfortable conversations in your car.

For more information or an appointment about hearing better in difficult-to-hear situations, please contact Lakewood Hearing & Speech Center at 303-988-7299 or send us an email.

*Accessed Sep 28, 2012

Tags: hearing loss, hearing aids, quietest tires, quiet tires, passenger tires, quiet ride, Michelin tires, Goodyear tires, Bridgestone tires, Continental tires, Dunlop tires, new tires, hearing comfort, better hearing, Lakewood CO, Denver CO, Littleton CO, Golden CO