Dr. Gil's Hearing-In-Noise Test
Well-tuned directional microphones in hearing aids are the most effective feature to help you understand people in noisy places. Here's how you can test them.
Go with a friend to any noisy restaurant. Sit at a normal distance (about 4-6 feet) across from each other. Close your eyes.
With a voice slightly louder than the surrounding noise, have your friend ask you questions or ask you to repeat simple sentences. You should be able to accurately understand your friend's speech.
Next, look over your shoulder and have your friend say other questions or ask other sentences.
You should have great difficulty understanding your friend when you look over your shoulder. If it doesn't seem like your friend moved at least twice as far away from you as he or she is sitting... then the directional microphones in your hearing aids are not helping you in noise.
Today's hearing aids are able to deliver whispered speech in moderately noisy places, and a significantly separated speaker's voice at a loud party, even for people with severe hearing loss.
If you did not understand your friend when their voice was slightly louder than the noise... if your friend did not become unintelligible when you looked over your shoulder... then you need to learn more about the capabilities your hearing aids or more about your hearing impairment.