How Does an Audiologist Program Your Hearing Aids?
Today’s assistive hearing devices are sophisticated pieces of equipment with a plethora of features and settings. Part of the role of an audiologist, therefore, is to help patients set up and program their hearing aids.
How you calibrate your hearing aid depends on your lifestyle and the nature of your hearing loss. The appropriate set up for you may be entirely different from that of another person, requiring a personalized approach.
Take a look at the following ways in which audiologists can help you program your hearing aids to get the best results.
Connect your hearing aid to software
Most hearing aids come with software tools that audiologists can use to translate the results of hearing tests and patient feedback into settings on the device. The basic idea is simple: take the information from the hearing test and then use this data to program the hearing aid in the best way for the user.
Systems for programming hearing aids change with the technology, but typically the process goes something like this: first, the audiologist will connect the hearing aid to a “programmer” via USB, and then connect their programmer to their PC. The programmer is just an intermediate device that audiologists need to provide instructions to the hearing aid.
The next step is to use software tools that take the results from your hearing test and convert them into settings on your device. Once you’ve established the parameters, the audiologist will then ask you how it sounds. You’ll then tinker around with settings until you achieve a calibration that you’re both happy with.
Some audiologists use wireless programming solutions, such as WiFi or Bluetooth, to change settings on your device, doing away with cables altogether.
You can attempt to program hearing aids without software by adjusting settings via trial and error, but this can be a time-consuming and challenging process. Settings tend to interact with one another, making finding an optimal solution without the assistance of software nearly impossible.
Calibrate the channels on your hearing aid
Modern hearing aids, especially premium models, come with a range of “channels.” Channels allow you to adjust the amplification of your hearing aids by frequency and, sometimes, the type of sound. So, for instance, if you find it hard to hear women and children because they speak at a higher pitch, then you may need to increase the amplification of the channel which covers that particular range.
An audiologist is a perfect person to help you do that. Not only do they understand what channel settings mean, but they also have detailed data from your hearing test that they can use to calibrate your devices. Your audiologist can customize your hearing aids to provide greater amplification in the ranges in which you have the most hearing loss and less amplification in those with the least.
Set up other features
Audiologists don’t just program your hearing aids; they also can help you set up other features. Many hearing aids, for instance, come with new technologies, like directional microphones, noise-cancellation, the ability to focus on a single voice in a crowded room, and automatic setting changes, depending on your environment. All of these features require additional settings which you may be comfortable doing yourself.
Hearing aid manufacturers know that many people who wear hearing aids regularly transition from one noise environment to another as part of their daily lives. If you work in an office, for example, you may find yourself in a noisy bar over lunchtime with a very different noise environment to the quiet work environment of the office. Because of this, modern hearing aids come with the ability to switch between settings, depending on the type of sounds coming through the microphone.
Creating one setting profile is difficult enough, but creating many is an even greater challenge. Audiologists, however, have the experience and knowledge to develop multiple profiles, taking away the need for you to adjust settings manually.
The benefit of using an audiologist to program your hearing aids is that they have substantial experience in software. They can quickly create near-optimal settings, allowing you to use your hearing aids straight away. Finding the right settings is a process of discovery, so there’s nothing wrong with going back to your audiologist after a fitting and asking them to change something.
If you would like to know more about the settings on your hearing aids or arrange an appointment to program settings, then get in touch with Grace Hearing and Language Services today. You can call us at 770-485-3522 to book an appointment.