Hearing someone who is seated next to you in a silent room is not the same as following a spirited conversation around a crowded restaurant table. Many digital hearing aids come with a number of listening programs to help compensate for changes in listening environments. The ability to access multiple listening programs ensures that you can hear at your best regardless of the situation you are in.
When you first receive your hearing aid, your hearing professional will program your device with an external computer. This process allows a number of individual processing characteristics to be fine-tuned into a number of distinct listening programs. When you start wearing your device, these programs can be accessed manually or automatically to match whatever situation you find yourself in.
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. Your hearing professional can work with you to help determine which programs are most appropriate for your individual situation.
The method you use to access these different programs varies from device to device. Your hearing aid may include a small external device (similar to a remote control) that allows you to change programs and access additional features. You may be able to switch from program to program via a small switch, or your device may determine the best program for the situation without requiring your input.
Having multiple listening programs available may be particularly helpful for younger children with hearing issues. These programs allow parents to quickly change their child’s listening settings to find the most comfortable choice. This can help audiologists determine what settings will lead to the best hearing experience 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.