Following a conversation in a busy restaurant and following a person speaking in a quiet room are two very different situations. In order to keep up with variations in your listening environment, the majority of digital hearing aids include a variety of listening programs. Having the ability to select various listening programs makes it easy to hear better in a variety of different situations.

Your hearing professional will initially set up your multiple listening programs by using an external device. The software will give him or her the ability to “fine-tune” the way your hearing aid processes sound and to create a series of distinct listening programs for different scenarios. 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. There are programs that help block out distracting background noise, programs that reduce feedback, programs that can shift high frequency sounds into lower, more comfortable frequencies, and programs that can make speech patterns clearer in quiet environments. These are just a few of the programs you can take advantage of – talk to your hearing professional to find programs that are most relevant to your 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.