Listening to a person who is sitting next to you in a silent room is not the same thing as following a spirited discussion around a busy restaurant table. Many digital hearing aids are equipped with a number of listening programs to help adjust to variations in listening environments. Having the ability to use various listening programs makes it convenient to hear better in many different situations.
When you first receive your hearing aid, your hearing professional will program your device with an external computer. The software will give him or her the ability to “fine-tune” the way your hearing aid processes sound and to create a series of distinct listening programs for different scenarios. When you start wearing your device, these programs can be accessed manually or automatically to match whatever situation you find yourself in.
You may be surprised at the variety of listening programs your hearing aid is able to run. You can access programs that reduce feedback, help shift high frequencies to lower ones (making them more comfortable to hear), help block out unnecessary background noise, and help make speech patterns in quiet environment clearer. These are just a few of the possibilities–your hearing care professional will work with you to choose which ones are most appropriate based on the condition of your own hearing and the situations you encounter most often.
The method you use to access these different programs varies from device to device. Your hearing aid may include a small external device (similar to a remote control) that allows you to change programs and access additional features. 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.
Young children with hearing issues may be good candidates for hearing aids with multiple listening programs. These programs allow parents to quickly change their child’s listening settings to find the most comfortable choice. This helps audiologists narrow in on what settings will give the child the best listening experience possible.
A hearing aid with multiple listening programs can help you enjoy a more comfortable and natural listening experience.