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Ear Hear. 2013 Jul-Aug;34(4):470-81. doi: 10.1097/AUD.0b013e31827aaa95.

Effects of venting on wind noise levels measured at the eardrum.

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Department of Communicative Disorders and Allied Health, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA.



Wind noise can be a nuisance to hearing aid users. With the advent of sophisticated feedback reduction algorithms, people with higher degrees of hearing loss are fit with larger vents than previously allowed, and more people with lesser degrees of hearing loss are fit with open hearing aids. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of venting on wind noise levels in the ear canal for hearing aids with omnidirectional and directional microphones.


Two behind-the-ear hearing aids were programmed when they were worn on a Knowles Electronics Manikin for Acoustic Research. The hearing aid worn on the right ear was programmed to the omnidirectional microphone mode and the one on the left to the directional microphone mode. The hearing aids were adjusted to linear amplification with flat frequency response in an anechoic chamber. Gains below 10 dB were used to avoid output limiting of wind noise levels at low input levels. Wind noise samples were recorded at the eardrum location in a wind tunnel at wind velocities ranging from a gentle to a strong breeze. The hearing aids were coupled to #13 tubings (i.e., open vent), or conventional skeleton earmolds with no vent, pressure vents, or 3mm vents. Polar and spectral characteristics of wind noise were analyzed off-line using MatLab programs.


Wind noise levels in the ear canals were mostly predicted by vent-induced frequency response changes in the conventional earmold conditions for both omnidirectional and directional hearing aids. The open vent condition, however, yielded the lowest levels, which could not be entirely predicted by the frequency response changes of the hearing aids. This indicated that a wind-related vent effect permitted an additional amount of sound reduction in the ear canal, which could not be explained by known vent effects.


For the microphone location, form factor, and gain settings tested, open fit hearing aids yielded lower noise levels at the eardrum location than conventional behind-the-ear hearing aids.

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