Real Ear Measurement

Why perform Real Ear Measures? 

The purpose behind Real Ear Measurement testing is for accuracy of the fitting of the hearing aids that you, as the consumer, purchase. 

One thing to consider when being fit with hearing aids is: What is the hearing aid actually doing in your ear?  You may not realize this when you purchase hearing aids, but just as a fingerprint is unique to each individual, your ear has a unique ear canal resonance that is unique to the size and bending of your ear canal, the length of the ear canal and how wide and how narrow your ear canal is at various points of your ear canal. This very unique resonance is utilized in the fitting of your hearing aids when probe measurement testing is utilized. 

The test consists of putting a very small probe tube in your ear canal which measures the unique resonance of your ear. Then your individual hearing aid is placed in the ear canal, alongside the probe tube and there is a series of algorithms that add and subtract decibels at very specific frequencies to exactly match your unique hearing prescription. This is completed through a very complicated computer and with adjustments in the hearing aid fitting by the Audiologist. This is further filtered and adjusted for noise reduction, directionality and fitting formula that is used for your unique needs. 

If you are fit with hearing aids and there is no probe measurement fitting being completed, it is like wearing a wedding gown right off the rack with no seamstress to fit the dress to your particular body style and frame. The dress will have gaps in some areas, be too tight in other areas and overall not look as stylish and beautiful as a dress that has been altered for you. A hearing aid that is not precisely fit to your hearing loss, ear canal resonance and personal fitting preferences is incomplete in its final adjustment and will never be able to function as well as hearing aids that go through the Probe Microphone, Real Ear Measurement fitting process. 

Are real ear measurements necessary?

Real Ear Measurement is 100% necessary with every hearing aid fitting. Not only should the Real Ear Measurement be completed at the delivery of the hearing aids, but on an annual basis to make sure the aids are working well for your audiological needs and also in the case of a decrease in your hearing. 

Real Ear Measurement testing is something that makes sure the aids are aligned exactly with your hearing loss. Imagine if you went and had your tires rotated on your car and they never balanced the tire to make sure it was on the rim accurately. If they were not balanced, the end result is a wearing away of the tire that is not accurate because the tire was never balanced.

The same result happens with hearing aids. If they are not evaluated for the fit, sound quality, verification of hearing aid features like directionality and compression technology, there is no way to know if the hearing aid is fit to your ear as accurately as it could be when this technology is used. 

What is Real Ear Measurement Speech Mapping? 

Real Ear Measurement can be just a single insertion gain curve where the Audiologist will measure one particular input level to see if the aid is meeting the target gain for that specific input level.   Speech mapping is like a single gain curve on steroids. It looks at the dynamic gain of the hearing aid for soft, average and loud sounds at one time. 

It makes sure the hearing aids are giving enough gain for soft sounds and average sounds. It is also making sure the hearing aid is not exceeding your uncomfortable loudness level (UCL) where you can no longer tolerate volume with the hearing aid with louder inputs. Hearing aids have compression technology wherein the hearing aid will compress sound that exceeds your UCL. 

In the past, hearing aids would have something called peak clipping where the loudest output of the hearing aids was clipped off, which created distortion. The newer hearing aids all have compression technology where this does not happen. Speech mapping allows for a very precise fit of the hearing aids to the user, without going too loud and making sure it is also providing enough gain for soft sounds. 

What is the basic process of REM?

The test consists of putting a very small probe tube in your ear canal which measures the unique resonance of your ear. Then your individual hearing aid is placed in the ear canal, alongside the probe tube and there is a series of algorithms that add and subtract decibels at very specific frequencies to exactly match your unique hearing prescription. This is completed through a very complicated computer and with adjustments in the hearing aid fitting by the Audiologist. This is further filtered and adjusted for noise reduction, directionality and fitting formula that is used for your unique needs. 

Probe Tube Measurement, Real Ear Measurement, Real Ear and Aided Testing are all synonymous terminologies that signify that your hearing aid is fit 100% accurately to your hearing loss.