Listening to an individual speaking in a quiet room is extremely different from attempting to hear a conversation in a busy restaurant. Most digital hearing aids can adjust to distinct conditions like these by using an assortment of “listening programs”. Being able to select various listening programs makes it convenient to hear better in a variety of different conditions.
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 process allows a number of individual processing characteristics to be fine-tuned into a number of distinct listening 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.
You may be surprised at the variety of listening programs your hearing aid is able to run. 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 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.
Depending on your device, you may access these programs several different ways. 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. Other hearing aids are equipped with a small manual switch, and some may actually choose the most appropriate program for you automatically.
Young children with hearing issues may be good candidates for hearing aids with multiple listening programs. Parents can more easily switch between programs to find the most comfortable settings for the child. 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.