Last week I went to Sofi stadium for the first time. The 5 billion dollar NFL masterpiece is home to the Chargers, Rams, and (eventually) the Olympics. I went for a Sunday Night Chargers game, but his article isn’t about Sofi Stadium.
It’s about my hearing aids.
I debated whether I should wear them to the stadium. It’s hard to imagine a more chaotic soundscape. Roddy Ricch pumping through the loudspeakers, fans cheering, the announcer calling the plays.
I decided to give them a try. My go-to set of hearing aids is ReSound OMNIA 9. OMNIA replaced my previous generation ReSound ONE hearing aids, and I’ve been happy with the improvements.
Improved handling in background noise is one of the big promises in ReSound OMNIA…but was this asking too much?
As we entered the stadium, I could detect some background noise suppression kicking in. My hearing aids sorted through the scene and turned down the background noise. My football buddy made a comment behind me, and I heard it clearly.
Wait…was this actually going to work?
We found our seats, and I was surprised that the speech from the people around me stayed clear despite the music, announcements, and crowd noise.
I pulled out the dB app on my phone (because I’m a nerd 🤓). We were hovering around 95 decibels and later in the game, the dB counter hit 115.
On several critical third downs (when it gets especially loud) I turned to my football buddies and realized that I understood our conversation better than they did.
The game had a great final drive and hit 110+ dBs one more time. My hearing aids kept delivering.
As I walked out of the stadium with my friends and the background noise returned to a normal level, I could detect some more automatic adjustments in my hearing aids, and as we got in the car for the long wait to leave the parking lot, I was back to normal settings.
After a full night of thunderous background noise, I never felt like I was missing out.
What was happening behind the scenes?
ReSound OMNIA has a new Front Focus feature meant for restaurant use, but that wasn’t the feature in play during the game. I never changed the controls in the app, and sound was coming from every direction.
From what I can tell, credit goes to OMNIA’s new beamforming technology and 360 All-Around directionality which scans any environment for speech. OMNIA not only figured out which voices to elevate in a noisy crowd but also kept the soundscape open enough that I could still hear the music and enjoy the NFL ambiance.
I wear and review many hearing aids, including some of the leading OTC devices that cost one-fifth of a pair of OMNIA’s.
Some of those devices are very effective in everyday settings, but last week gave me first-hand experience of how far ahead premium hearing aids are in complex environments. Maybe this will change over time, but I don’t know of an OTC device that could have handled Sofi stadium.
ReSound OMNIA made quick and precise decisions about the voices to feature, and the hearing aids reduced the noise without closing me off from the exciting feeling of the game. The best part, I never changed a program.
Patrick Mahomes played great, but I’m giving my hearing aids MVP.