What could be better than hearing the voice of a loved one or birds singing in the morning? Every day thousands of different sounds surround us. They shape our perception of the world around us. We hear, communicate, learn and live a happy life thanks to our hearing! Many people take the ability to hear for granted.
However, many factors harm hearing organs. Regardless of the cause, they all lead to the same result. A person gradually loses his hearing and experiences difficulties in life. In addition, psychological problems are added to the physiological ones after a while.
Fortunately, progress and medicine do not standstill. Today there are effective methods of treatment. They restore lost abilities. Daily wearing of hearing aids is the best solution. These little digital assistants really work wonders. Many Americans who have already given up hope of hearing the voices of their loved ones are starting to talk to them again. The environment is alive again. To achieve this success, the hearing care provider must fit the hearing aid correctly. Real ear measurement is the best way to achieve the desired result!
What is real ear measurement?
About 13% of Americans over the age of 18 suffer from hearing problems. According to statistics, this is more than 40 million citizens! At the same time, this number is growing every year. Along with it, the number of hearing aid users is also growing.
Today, the manufacturer offers many different devices. They differ in models, design, and the presence of additional functions. You can choose the model you like best from those selected by the audiologist. But after that, it is necessary to carry out a real ear measurement.
Real ear measurement (REM) is a test. It shows the correctness of sound amplification given your unique hearing profile and ear canal resonance. The study verifies that your hearing aid settings reproduce soft and loud sounds with the correct amplification. If necessary, the hearing care professional changes the device settings until the desired result is obtained.
Why is it important?
Most Americans are happy with their devices. They use them every day, clean them on time and monitor their work. At the same time, people use one model for a long time, occasionally tuning them and replacing consumables. However, some people are dissatisfied with their devices. As a rule, they stop wearing hearing aids and continue to suffer from hearing problems. Why is this happening?
Hearing aids are sophisticated electronic multifunction devices. There are different types of hearing aid design. The choice of a particular model depends on many factors. A hearing care professional analyzes the audiogram performs additional tests and takes into account the wishes of the patient. Thus, the audiologist selects the most suitable device model. But this is only the first step.
The next important task is hearing aid fitting. The audiologist adjusts the hearing aids to the patient’s individual needs using real ear measurements. Each ear has a unique structure and features, it has an individual size and shape of the auditory canal. These parameters are different even between your ears! Therefore, you cannot use stock hearing aids settings. They will not give the desired result.
Each person is unique, as is their history of hearing loss. Therefore, you won’t be able to use your hearing aid 100% out of the box. Hearing aid settings allow the audiologist to customize the device for each case, letting the patient use the device to its fullest.
Your hearing aids are equipped with many features, they all enhance the sound quality. The hearing care professional should measure the hearing aids to make sure the device is working properly. With real ear measurement (REM), your hearing care professional checks that your hearing aids are applying the correct amplification for different sounds according to your hearing loss and individual needs. If something is wrong, the professional will make the appropriate adjustments, individualizing the fit of the hearing aid. According to research, REM results are accurate for any type of hearing aid, including instant fit coupling systems. Thus, maximum efficiency and usability of the devices are achieved.
How to do a real ear measurement?
Real ear measurement is simple and painless hearing testing. It shows accurate data. The study excludes subjective factors of the patient or the audiologist that may affect the results. Testing takes place in a quiet room using specialized medical equipment.
First, the hearing care professional will examine the ear canal with an otoscope. The specialist must ensure that earwax or other debris does not interfere with the placement of the silicone probe tube
Next, the audiologist will place the probe into the ear canal about 1/4 inch from the eardrum. Proper placement of the transducer is critical for further investigation
The hearing care professional puts on the hearing aids. Thus, you will have both a sensor for measurement and your devices in your ears
Measurement time. The REM system typically generates a test stimulus from a speaker placed 12 to 15 inches from the patient’s head. At the same time, it measures the output signal in the ear canal to determine how much amplification the hearing aid is providing
Depending on the test result, the audiologist makes changes to the hearing aid. Thus, the doctor changes the settings of the software that will be downloaded to your devices, increasing their efficiency
As you can see, a real ear measurement is a painless hearing test. It does not take much time. On average, the process takes 10-20 minutes. But sometimes it can take longer. The time depends on the number of settings to be changed. In any case, it’s worth spending some of your time to continue enjoying the excellent performance of your devices and the sounds of the world around you!
About Dr Stella Fulman
Dr. Stella Fulman, AU.D., CCC-A received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Audiology from Brooklyn College in 2004 and her Doctorate of Audiology from Salus University in 2008. [ Learn More ]