Listening to an individual speaking in a hushed room is very different from trying to hear a conversation in a busy diner. Many digital hearing aids are equipped with a number of listening programs to help adjust to changes in listening environments. Having access to multiple listening programs ensures that you can hear at your best regardless of the situation you are in.
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 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.
The way you activate one of these listening programs can vary from hearing aid to hearing aid. 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.