Following a discussion in a busy restaurant and following someone speaking in a quiet room are two completely different situations. Many digital hearing aids have various listening programs to help compensate for variations in listening environments. Having access to multiple listening programs ensures that you can hear at your best no matter what atmosphere you are in.
After you receive your hearing aid, your hearing care professional will use a computer running specialized software to program it based on your unique needs. This device allows him or her to fine-tune a number of individual processing characteristics into several distinct programs. Once you begin using your hearing aid, these programs may be selected manually or automatically (depending on the your particular device and its configuration) to suit your listening environment.
There are many different types of listening programs that can be accessed through your hearing aid. There are programs that help block out distracting background noise, programs that reduce feedback, programs that can shift high frequency sounds into lower, more comfortable frequencies, and programs that can make speech patterns clearer in quiet environments. These are just a few of the programs you can take advantage of – talk to your hearing professional to find programs that are most relevant to your situation.
The way you activate one of these listening programs can vary from hearing aid to hearing aid. Some models include a small fob (much like a remote control) that allows the user to choose a program or to select or adjust other features of the hearing aid. You may be able to switch from program to program via a small switch, or your device may determine the best program for the situation without requiring your input.
Having multiple listening programs available may be particularly helpful for younger children with hearing issues. These programs allow parents to quickly change their child’s listening settings to find the most comfortable choice. This can help audiologists determine what settings will lead to the best hearing experience for the child.
The additional flexibility and convenience that come with multiple listening programs helps hearing aid wearers achieve a more comfortable listening experience.