Not everyone who gets fitted with hearing aids has a great experience with them. This is because most hearing aid specialists don't consider the shape of each person's ear when they fit them with hearing aids.
If you're not happy with the quality of your hearing aids' output, the way the audiologist fits them could make a big difference.
That's why we use Real Ear Measurement at our clinic.
What is Real Ear Measurement (REM)?
In the same way that a guitarist wouldn't use the same amplifier at a stadium concert as they would practicing in their bedroom, hearing aid programming needs to consider the size and shape of each ear.
When it comes to fitting hearing aids, REM is the gold standard among hearing professionals. The goal of the technique is to see if the person being fitted has the right amount of amplification to get the best possible hearing gain at any frequency.
How does Real Ear Measurement Work?
A long, thin microphone is pushed down into the ear canal. It comes out about a half-inch short of the eardrum. While the hearing aid is in the user's ear, sounds are played through it.
We then check to see if the sound we're getting through the microphone is the same as the settings you need for your hearing loss. We'll keep working back and forth until the settings are as close to each other as possible.
Why do you need Real Ear Measurements?
Higher satisfaction rates
Research from the University of Washington in St. Louis found that four out of five patients preferred REM-fitted hearing aids over hearing aids that came with standard factory fitting instructions. The technique improved voice comprehension by 15% and made it easier to hear in background noise.
During a standard (non-REM) hearing aid fitting, the audiologist usually changes the hearing aid settings based on what the user thinks about each change. This method relies too much on the person's whims and isn't always accurate. But REM uses graphs to show the audiologist how well the patient's hearing aid settings are working. This way, they can ensure that the hearing aid's output is suitable for the patient's unique hearing loss needs. It's a more objective way to determine if the hearing aids settings are working.
Based on your unique ear shape
REM isn't just about the nature and severity of your hearing loss; it also takes into account the unique shape of your ear. Structural variables like the size of your ear canal can have a significant impact on the hearing aid output. A larger ear might require more amplification, for instance, than a narrower ear - standard factory settings don't account for these differences.
The standard hearing aid fitting method does not use actual sound measurements - it's just a trial and error approach. Real Ear Measurement on the other hand, is a painless way to measure true frequency balance and output – at the ear canal! It is proven to reduce problems and provide better outcomes for hearing care professionals and their patients.
Shockingly, studies show that less than 30 percent of hearing professionals use Real Ear Measurement when fitting their hearing aids. It's not the most straightforward procedure to undertake, but we think it's worth it.
Contact us today to set up an appointment.