What are programmable hearing aids?
All digital hearing aids are programmable. Some analogue hearing aids have programmable options too.
What does programmable mean?
It means that an audiologist can modify a hearing aid’s settings for your personal hearing loss – it also means that they can set the aid up so that you can hear the sounds that you want to hear in your everyday environments.
There will default options for common situations such as: at home, at a party, at the theatre, listening to music, and so on. You can ask your audiologist to modify these to suit your needs.
What is a programme?
Hearing aids are worn in many different environments, some are quiet, some are very noisy, some have lots of people talking to you from many directions at once, etc. You want your hearing aid to be able to let you hear well in all of these situations and being able to do that is hard.
To give you the best chance to hear in all situations, digital hearing aids have a number of programmes (sometimes called settings or defaults) that you can select yourself while you are wearing your aid. So, you might ask your audiologist to install the music programme, the party programme and a telephone programme on your aid – its up to you to decide which programmes best fit your lifestyle.
How you select a programme varies from aid to aid – many have a small button on the shell, some have a pocket-size remote control, some let you use your mobile phone and other have touch sensors.
In most cases a hearing aid will switch automatically to its telephone setting when you put the phone’s receiver to your ear.
Do I need all these different programmes?
That’s up to you! Personally, 99% of the time I use my hearing aids on the default setting – I wore analogue hearing aids for many years and am used to having the same sounds all the time, so I keep the same programme on.
If you work in a library and party a lot at night then you will probably find you can hear much better with a programme for the quiet library and another for the noisy party.
Modern aids have the ability to be configured exactly how you want them.