Healthcare professional talking about programmable hearing aids with a group of people

Benefits of Programmable Hearing Aids

Published: October 20, 2021

Updated: July 22, 2022

What are programmable hearing aids?

When hearing aids were first developed, the technology could not be tailored to the wearer’s individual preferences and needs. Instead of a variety of options, a hearing aid only had one hearing aid programming setting. The same setting was used to process information regardless of your environment or listening preferences. The hearing aid programming would be set by your hearing healthcare practitioner. Afterward, there would be little-to-no fine-tuning that the wearer could make to their hearing aid programming. While having one hearing aid programming worked for certain individuals, it was especially challenging for people that moved from one listening environment to another. As a person moved to and from different environments, there was nothing they could do to fine-tune the hearing aid to their preferred settings. This created friction between the hearing aid’s programming and its user’s lifestyle. However, as time progressed, people developed technology that could address people’s individual listening preferences.

Why do we need programmable hearing aids?

Everyone experiences life differently. While some would say that their lifestyles are fast-paced and complex, others would describe theirs as quiet and slow. In fact, lifestyle differs significantly from person to person. How a person lives can largely depend on their age, activities level, family structure, social engagements, work demands, etc. Thus, it is unlikely that any two people would have the same lifestyle and experiences.

Differences in lifestyle also mean vastly different listening environments. For hearing aid users, adapting to different listening environments can be a challenge. However, programmable hearing aids have provided an effective and flexible solution for many different people. Programmable hearing aids accommodate different lifestyles and listening environments by allowing their users to customize their hearing aid programming to fit their listening needs.

3 Benefits of Multiple Hearing Aid Programs

New possibilities with programmable hearing aids

The emergence of programmable hearing aids allowed for greater freedom and flexibility in hearing aid programming. Notably, newer programmable hearing aids allowed users to set and choose from a selection of different hearing aid programs that fitted their needs. These hearing aid programmings allow the user to control how the hearing aid operates based on what they want to listen to. Specifically, each hearing aid programming allows you to define your listening preferences and fine-tune the hearing aid to how you would like it to process information. Many recent programmable hearing aids include a default automatic program and the option to add three additional hearing aid programs. These could be specifically tailored for speech-in-noise, the television, for music, for crowds, meetings, etc. With new programmable hearing aids, the options are endless.

Accurate and clear communication

A hearing aid programming isn’t only personalized for someone’s environment. They can be set to filter for specific types of sounds in a complex environment, such as speech-in-noise, or music. For instance, if you are having a conversation in a restaurant, your programmable hearing aid can filter out the restaurant’s music and focus on the speech. Alternatively, if you want to enjoy the restaurant’s music, switching to another hearing aid program can filter out the conversations around you to let you focus on the music. This process of tailored noise reduction can be achieved by simply switching between multiple hearing aid programs. A programmable hearing aid means you can listen to what you want without visiting the audiologist. This development in programmable hearing aids has given users the power to customize their hearing aid programming to their changing needs.

Listen to what you want

All hearing aids have a default automatic program, which automatically picks a different hearing aid programming based on the environment it detects. However, the default automatic hearing aid programming is not perfect. It may assume you want to hear speech over the music, when you actually want to listen to the music, or vice versa. The addition of other hearing aid programs eliminates the frustration of the default automatic hearing aid programming. Programmable hearing aids allow the people who use them to decide what they want to hear, not the machine. Having access to multiple hearing aid programs can be life-changing for those who experience changing listening environments. This has been especially valuable to people with active lifestyles or those who experience complex listening environments. If you are specific about what and how you want to hear, programmable hearing aids will offer you the flexibility and control you need to match your needs.

How many hearing aid programs do I need?

Programmable hearing aids are meant to meet individual listening preferences. Therefore, the number of hearing aid programs you need is up to you. For some, one may be enough. For others, more is better. Some people may feel that their hearing aid works well in certain situations, but not in others. This likely means that your hearing aid’s default programming may be making the wrong assumptions about what you want to listen to. In that case, a programmable hearing aid will offer you more control over the hearing aid programming and allow you to correct the hearing aid in these situations.

Personalizing your hearing aids with multiple programs

Everyone has different listening needs and preferences, so the best way to work through your lifestyle and listening needs is in consultation with a hearing healthcare practitioner. A professional would be able to help you navigate through what you need from a hearing aid and what environment programs can meet those needs. Once these hearing aid programmings are created and fine-tuned, you may find that your programmable hearing aid is more in tune with your listening expectations and preferences. This way, you can switch between hearing aid program to match your listening environments and needs. No matter your lifestyle, programmable hearing aids will help your listening experience adapt to you. For more information on Lexie, Lexie hearing aids, and our hearing solutions, contact us today.

Image of post writer Marcellé Swanepoel.

Written by Marcellé Swanepoel

B. Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology


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