Hearing a conversation in a busy restaurant and listening to an individual speaking in a hushed room are two very different situations. Most digital hearing aids can adjust to different environments like these by using a variety of “listening programs”. Having the ability to use various listening programs makes it easy to hear better in many different situations.
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. When you start wearing your device, these programs can be accessed manually or automatically to match whatever situation you find yourself in.
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 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. Some hearing aids are sold with a small external controller that allows you to switch from program to program as well as access other features. Other devices may be controlled by a small switch, while still others may automatically determine which program is best suited for your situation.
Hearing aids with multiple listening programs can be especially useful for young children. These programs allow parents to quickly change their child’s listening settings to find the most comfortable choice. This in turn gives hearing care professionals additional insight into which settings will produce the best results for the child.
The multiple listening programs feature in hearing aids can play a significant role in allowing the hearer to enjoy a more natural listening experience.