By nature, humans are social creatures. We crave companionship and take pleasure in sharing experiences with others. For many, this means going to crowded restaurants or noisy pubs to catch up with friends, family, or co-workers.

However, for a surprisingly large percentage of the population, the experience of loud gatherings is more negative than positive. The cause is a condition that columnist John Davidson coined as “pub deafness” in a 2017 article for the Australian Financial Review. Pub deafness describes the phenomenon of having difficulty understanding speech and conversation in noisy environments, such as crowded pubs or restaurants.

What Does it Mean to be “Pub Deaf”

Many adults suffering from mild hearing loss don’t understand or willingly accept their own struggles with conversations in noisy environments. While the decision-making process is largely sub-conscious at times, those with pub deafness will alter their lifestyle and even cease going to favorite locations because of the challenges created by background noise.

Consider the following questions. If you find yourself consistently answering ‘yes’, you’re probably part of the growing percentage of the pub deaf — in need of a hearing boost in specific situations, but perhaps not ready for a full-fledged hearing aid:

  • Are you uncomfortable at restaurants with hard floors or high ceilings due to the echo effect on surrounding noises?
  • Do you have a preference for booths or tables backed up against walls, where walls or seat cushions can dampen ambient sounds?
  • Do you become irritated or angry when seated near kitchens, bars, or other high volume areas of a restaurant?
  • Has noise level become a major consideration in your choice of entertainment locations?
  • Have you stopped attending sporting events and concerts due to struggles with noise?*Nuheara is not designed to be an alternative to all day wear hearing aid.

Causes of Pub Deafness


In most cases, the cause of muffled speech is associated with high frequency hearing loss. High frequency hearing loss is typically associated with sounds in the 2,000 to 8,000 Hertz (Hz) range. According to Healthy Hearing:

Adults with high-frequency hearing loss may have trouble understanding female voices more than male voices and difficulty hearing birds sing or the high-pitched beeping coming from their microwave oven. Speech may seem muffled, especially when using the telephone or in noisy situations.

With high frequency hearing loss, you might enjoy easy conversations in quiet settings. However, with background music or crowd noise, suddenly “this beer” becomes indistinguishable from “yes dear” or “his beard.” You might soon find yourself silently nodding along to a conversation, smiling but entirely unsure of what is being said.


In recent years, there’s been a growing awareness of “hidden hearing loss“, another leading cause of the “pub deafness” phenomenon. Undetectable by a standard hearing test or audiologist’s exam, hidden hearing loss stems from the nerve cells that connect the cochlea in the inner ear to the brain. Long-term noise exposure causes damage to these nerves cells, disturbing their connections with hair cells in the inner ear and ultimately the brain.

According to Hear-It, this condition becomes most evident when trying to hear in loud places.

Hidden hearing loss doesn’t normally affect a person’s ability to hear quiet sounds, but it makes it harder to hear sounds when there is competing background noise.

A New Solution for Clearer Conversations

Give your hearing a boost at noisy pubs or restaurants

If you’re in the range of pub deaf, but not quite ready for a hearing aid, IQbuds2 MAX may be the affordable and accessible solution you’ve been waiting for.

Need a little boost in the high frequency range? Just pop the lightweight and stylish IQbuds2 MAX earbuds in and enjoy a broader range of sound.

Trouble processing the words of people you’re speaking with in noisy environments? Activate the “Focus” feature and enhance speech coming from directly in front of you while dialing back ambient surrounding noise.

Whether it’s a St. Patrick’s Day pilgrimage to your local Irish pub, or a trip to you and your spouse’s favorite (but noisy) restaurant, try IQbuds2 MAX. Enhance your hearing and enjoy clearer conversations in the places you love once again.

March 13th, 2019