It’s critical to have your hearing aid programmed by a professional for the best results. Your hearing aid should conform to your ears and your existing hearing capabilities. You can’t just buy a set of hearing aids one day without having them programmed. Just like glasses without the lenses, a hearing aid won’t offer you any good without programming by a certified audiologist. This is why no two hearing aids are the same because everyone has different requirements. How your hearing aid is programmed depends on your degree of hearing loss, comfort level and other personal considerations.
Once a hearing aid is programmed, it can always be adjusted again in the future. In fact, most people come back to their doctor with suggestions on how the device could work better or complaints about what the device can’t do for them. This is because the brain has to take time to adjust to the new sounds emitted by the device, which can only be determined over time in various listening situations. The audiologist can then fine tune the device based on those recommendations. This trouble shooting approach is what’s so great about digital hearing aids. Most hearing aids manufactured today are digital, in contrast with older devices which only required a simple screwdriver to tweak settings. You got what you got – there weren’t too many adjustments available. Now, hundreds of elements can be fine tuned within digital hearing aids to accommodate the hearing needs of someone with hearing loss. Programming takes place as a result of a complete hearing evaluation with the user on his or her subjective preferences.
Programming Hearing Aids
Through high-tech processes such as real ear measurements, visual mapping and environmental simulations, a hearing aid can be customized to the individual user. During the actual programming process, many doctors use a surround sound system to simulate real noise from the outside world and make adjustments based on real-time feedback. Real-ear probe microphones can detect how much sound is reaching the eardrum so the doctor can be the most accurate in his programming. Visible speech mapping (VSM) tells the doctor how various sounds of speech hit the eardrum. This is a great alternative to traditional measurements because today’s hearing aids can now help with noise reduction and feedback reduction algorithms. This surround sound system can simulate crowd noises to determine how they will go about noise reduction. This is a helpful feature because so many people with hearing aids say they work great when all is quiet but as soon as they are in a restaurant, or even at a train station, they have to work hard to compete with all that background noise. The process of programming a hearing aid requires the proper hardware, software and cables to connect to the hearing aid. You should always have a qualified audiologist handle this technical task for your own good. Many people learn to program their own hearing aids but the equipment can get expensive and the level of accuracy goes down.
What Factors can be Adjusted?
Programming a hearing aid involves many factors. Depending on the model type you have, along with the software contained in it, an audiologist can adjust elements such as volume, frequency, intensity levels, compression ratios, max power output, noise reduction, microphone parameters and the like. If one setting is too sensitive in regards to noise, it can be changed to accommodate the user’s comfort level, plus you can adjust settings to filter out certain levels of background noise.