Following a person speaking in a hushed room is very different from attempting to hear a conversation in a busy diner. So that you can keep up with changes in your listening environment, the majority of digital hearing aids are equipped with several different listening programs. Having access to multiple listening programs ensures that you can hear at your best whatever atmosphere you are in.
Your hearing professional will initially set up your multiple listening programs by using an external device. 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.
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 method you use to access these different programs varies from device to device. Some models include a small fob (much like a remote control) that allows the user to choose a program or to select or adjust other features of the hearing aid. 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.