Re: Background noise too loud
I have exactly the same problem. From what I've read on here, this is one sign of having some high-frequency loss. Being presently underemployed, I don't have the insurance coverage to see a specialist about it, so I just have to live with it for now.
There is also a condition which has this as a symptom. Its name escapes me now, but the idea of it is that there isn't any hearing loss, but it is a problem with your brain not being able to process all of the noice correctly, and the noise you want to hear gets confused with the background noise.
I don't know how bad your problem is, but I'm at the point where it is annoying and almost but not quite debilitating. A couple examples:
If you're a passenger in my car and want to talk to me, the windows all need to be up or I can't hear you over the wind noise, even at slow speeds.
If we're in a moderately noisy room, I need to turn my head so the person I want to hear is taking directly into my ear.
If I'm in the kitchen and the microwave is on or the water is running, I can't quite make out what someone in the next room is saying.