Hearing a person speaking in a quiet room is extremely different from trying to hear a conversation in a packed diner. So that you can keep up with changes 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.

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. 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. Your hearing professional can work with you to help determine which programs are most appropriate for your individual situation.

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.

Having multiple listening programs available may be particularly helpful for younger children with hearing issues. 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.

A hearing aid with multiple listening programs can help you enjoy a more comfortable and natural listening experience.