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Why Real Ear Measurement Is Important in Hearing Aid Fittings
You can think of ear canals in the same way that you think of fingerprints: no two are the same. Depending on the person, their ear canal may be larger, narrower, shallower or deeper than others, and there are also plenty of other little variances that ultimately impact the shape and function of the ear. Even one ear to the other can be different in the same person. So as should be clear, there’s a lot of variation when it comes to incoming sounds and acoustics.
This makes finding the right hearing aid something of a science. When it comes to a hearing aid fitting, many factors are taken into account. And one of the tools that an audiologist will use while making their assessment is a real ear measurement.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at everything that you need to know about real ear measurement, including what it is, why it’s important, the process and the benefits that it can bring.
What is Real Ear Measurement?
A real ear measurement is an instrument that audiologists use to determine how well a hearing aid is functioning at a variety of volumes in relation to both frequencies and pitches. It’s sometimes called a probe microphone measurement and looks like a little probe tube, which is then placed inside the ear canal.
Why is It Important?
A hearing aid is a useful device, but only if it’s calibrated. If it’s not, then the sounds that the wearer hears might be too low or too loud. The real ear measurement will help to calculate the settings for the device. It’s obvious to see why this is important – after all, any who finds a solution for their hearing loss will want it to be as effective as possible.
The device is especially useful because it works under the premise that every ear is unique. And for that reason, treatment needs to be as specific as possible. If a standard measurement is used in place of a specific measurement, then it’s possible that the person wearing the device isn’t receiving the correct level of volume; it may be too quiet or too loud.
This helps to improve the hearing aid experience for the wearer. Studies have shown that people who had their hearing aid fitted using this method had a more positive experience than those who had a hearing aid fitted without real ear measurement.
The Real Ear Measurement Process
So, what exactly is the real ear measurement process like? You’ll be happy to know that it’s completely painless – and doesn’t take too long, either. The process involves the following steps:
- The small and soft tube is placed in the ear canal, resting in between the hearing aid and the ear drum. The external part of the tube is plugged into the real ear measurement device.
- The hearing aid is placed in the ear.
- As you remain silent, some speech is played into the equipment.
- The equipment will indicate the volume of the speech as it is heard in the ear. This will determine whether the settings are correct and that they produce the right volume of frequencies and pitches.
- If the hearing aid needs some modification, then the audiologist will do this.
The process is extremely quick and ultimately results in the person’s hearing aid being set at a level that works best for them.
But is the real ear measurement process really worth it? We think so. Here are just a few of the benefits that it brings:
- Understand the sound level: It takes the guesswork out of the sound level and uses data to make sure it’s at the right volume.
- Limiting the volume of loud sounds: No one likes loud noises. This technique helps to limit loud external noises.
- Helps with behind the ear hearing aids: It’ll show whether an earbud or a custom molded earpiece is best for your behind the ear hearing aid.
If you think that you or a loved one may be experiencing hearing loss, then it’ll be important to get it checked out by an audiologist as soon as possible. Here at Audiology and Hearing Aid Center, our team of audiologists will be happy to perform a test and then direct you towards the right treatment solution, if necessary.
To book an appointment, simply pick up the phone and give us a call at 920-969-1768. Alternatively, you can click the schedule online button at the top of this page and make an appointment using the internet. We look forward to hearing from you.