Hearing a person speaking in a hushed room is very different from trying to follow a conversation in a crowded diner. So that you can keep up with changes in your listening environment, the majority of digital hearing aids come with a variety of listening programs. The ability to access 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. 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. These programs can be accessed manually when you start wearing your device, or they may automatically change to match your current listening situation.
There are many different types of listening programs that can be accessed through your hearing aid. 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.
Depending on your device, you may access these programs several different ways. 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 hearing aids are equipped with a small manual switch, and some may actually choose the most appropriate program for you automatically.
Hearing aids with multiple listening programs can be especially useful for young children. Having a number of available programs allows parents to quickly find a setting that is most comfortable for their child. This helps audiologists narrow in on what settings will give the child the best listening experience possible.
The multiple listening programs feature in hearing aids can play a significant role in allowing the hearer to enjoy a more natural listening experience.