Hearing a conversation in a busy restaurant and listening to someone speaking in a hushed room are two completely different situations. In order to keep up with changes in your listening environment, the majority of digital hearing aids include 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.
When you first receive your hearing aid, your hearing professional will program your device with an external computer. This device allows him or her to fine-tune a number of individual processing characteristics into several distinct programs. 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. Some programs work to reduce background noise, eliminate feedback or shift higher-frequency sounds into a more comfortable range, while others are designed to make speech patterns easier to identify. 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.
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 additional flexibility and convenience that come with multiple listening programs helps hearing aid wearers achieve a more comfortable listening experience.