The programming of a hearing aid is only recommended by a professional audiologist. This is because there are many different factors that are involved, which we will discuss here. You wouldn’t wear generic lenses in your frames, right? So why would you use a hearing aid that hasn’t been programmed to your hearing loss needs? You need your hearing device to work to the best of its ability. Just like no two people are the same, not all degrees of hearing losses are the same. Some people react differently to certain factors than others. You can then troubleshoot which features work and which ones don’t.
Programming Hearing Aids
Did you know that real ear measurements, visual mapping and environmental simulations all contribute to the customizable features of a hearing aid? Visible speech mapping (VSM) tells the doctor how various sounds of speech hit the eardrum, which is a good alternative to traditional measurements. The hearing aids of today can now help with noise reduction and feedback reduction algorithms. Real-ear probe microphones can detect how much sound is reaching the eardrum so the doctor can be the most accurate in his programming. During the actual programming process, many doctors use a surround sound system to simulate real noise from the outside world and make adjustments based on real-time feedback. Surround sound systems can mimic crowd noises to determine how they will go about noise reduction. This is a helpful feature because so many people with hearing aids say they work great when all is quiet but not in a crowded place where there’s lots of background noise. The process of programming a hearing aid requires the use of the right hardware, software and cables to connect to the hearing aid. Many people learn to program their own hearing aids but the equipment can get expensive and the level of accuracy goes down. Always rely on a qualified audiologist to perform this crucial task.
What Factors can be Adjusted?
Many factors come into play when programming a hearing aid. Depending on the model type you have, along with the software contained in it, an audiologist can adjust elements such as volume, frequency, intensity levels, compression ratios, max power output, noise reduction, microphone parameters and the like. If one setting is too sensitive in regards to noise, it can be changed to accommodate the user’s comfort level. Many can be adjusted to filter out certain levels of background noise as well.
The trouble shooting method to programming is what’s so great about digital hearing aids. Most hearing aids manufactured today are digital in nature. Older devices used to be adjusted with a simple screwdriver. Today, hundreds of elements can be fine tuned within digital hearing aids to better meet the hearing needs of someone with hearing loss. Programming takes place as a result of a complete hearing evaluation with the user on his or her subjective preferences. Also, once a hearing aid is programmed, this doesn’t mean it can’t be adjusted again in the future. In fact, most people come back to their doctor with suggestions on how the device could work better or complaints about what the device can’t do for them. Why? The brain needs to process adjustments over time to the new sounds emitted by the device, which can only be determined from various listening situations in real life.