Real Ear Measurements
In the past, hearing aid fittings were much less scientific and required audiologists and hearing aid practitioners to make a lot of assumptions about how the hearing aids were functioning. Today, hearing healthcare specialists are equipped with new technologies and methods to make the hearing aid fitting process more accurate, ultimately leading to more successful hearing aid fittings.
One of the most advanced technologies available today is called Real Ear Probe Tube Verification, often referred to as Real Ear Measurements (REM) or Live Speech Mapping. This is an exciting method of fitting hearing aids that ensures the hearing aids are set to each client's specific amplification prescription. REM is considered a vital part of evidenced-based hearing care when fitting hearing aids.
What Are Real Ear Measurements?
Real Ear Measurements are a hearing aid fitting method used to ensure that your hearing aids are programmed for your individual needs and your unique hearing loss prescription. With this method, small microphones placed in the ear canal are used to measure how sound is reaching your eardrum. A hearing aid fitting is is not considered to be accurate unless real ear measurements are completed. Without REM, the hearing loss prescription that is set in the hearing aids is more of a guess.
Research suggests that approximately 40% of hearing aids are fit using Real Ear Measurements (Mueller, 2005; Mueller & Picou, 2010); however, many experts believe this number is likely no higher than 30% (Mueller, 2014). In other words, only 30% of hearing aid users are currently using hearing aids that are accurately set to their hearing loss prescription.
100% of hearing aids fit at Acoustic Audiology use real ear measurements.
Benefits of Real Ear Measurements
Most people assume that the manufacturer sets the prescription in the hearing aids before they arrive at the audiology clinic, similar to the way glasses are manufactured. This is not true. Hearing aids cannot be set properly unless the sound is measured direction in someone's actual ear (or their "real" ear - this is where the term "real ear measurements" comes from).
Ears come in all shapes and sizes, and every little twist and turn changes the way sound travels through your ear. Sound is also influenced by a vast array of factors: size of your ear canal (diameter and length), your skin, your ear’s cartilage, the size and shape of your head, your shoulders, torso, etc. It all changes how sound arrives at your ear and is ultimately processed by the hearing aid. The only way we can account for all of these unique variables is by measuring and adjusting the hearing aids while they are in your ears (i.e. Real Ear Measurements).
Real ear measurements also creates a much more positive fitting experience by allowing both clients and their families to see the immediate results of amplification and their positive impact on communication. Both clients and families will be engaged in the fitting process.
If you have a hearing loss, you may not be able to fully understand what you can and cannot hear, and therefore, you may not understand everything you are missing. When we use Real Ear Measurements we can accurately gauge how the hearing aids are working for each individual patient.
Additional Benefits Real Ear Measurements:
- Essential part of evidence based practice for fitting hearing aids
- Increases successful outcomes of fittings
- Ensures hearing aids are set to your hearing loss prescription
- Ensures proper functionality of hearing aids
- Focuses on the important function of being able to effectively hear human speech
- Engages both you and your family in the fitting process
- Provides immediate and tangible results
- Increases your confidence and comfort in using your new hearing aids
Real Ear Measurements are a truly wonderful new technology for audiologists, the hearing-impaired individual, and their families alike. Call Acoustic Audiology at 780-875-9711 or use our Contact Form to find out how real ear measurements can provide you with a more enjoyable hearing aid mapping experience.
If you currently wear hearing aids and this process does not sound familiar, it is likely that your hearing aid prescription has not been set properly. Please contact us to see if we are able to assist you with your current hearing aids.