Hearing a conversation in a busy restaurant and listening to someone speaking in a hushed room are two very different scenarios. In order to keep up with changes in your listening environment, most digital hearing aids come with a variety of listening programs. Being able to use different listening programs makes it convenient to hear better in a variety of different situations.
Your hearing professional will initially set up your multiple listening programs by using an external device. 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.
Today’s hearing aids are quite powerful, and many are capable of running a wide variety of listening programs. 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. Your hearing aid may include a small external device (similar to a remote control) that allows you to change programs and access additional 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. Parents can more easily switch between programs to find the most comfortable settings for the child. 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.