Listening to an individual speaking in a hushed room is extremely different from attempting to hear a conversation in a packed diner. So that you can keep up with variations in your listening environment, most digital hearing aids come with a variety of listening programs. These listening programs give your hearing aid the flexibility to help you hear at your best in a wide range of 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 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.
Today’s hearing aids are quite powerful, and many are capable of running a wide variety of listening programs. 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.
The way you activate one of these listening programs can vary from hearing aid to hearing aid. 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. 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.
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 multiple listening programs feature in hearing aids can play a significant role in allowing the hearer to enjoy a more natural listening experience.