It has been demonstrated that using real ear measurements improves the benefit that patients experience from hearing aids. It should be used during hearing aid fittings since it helps to guarantee that you have the greatest possible fit and experience with your hearing aids.

One of the many ways your audiologist may validate that your hearing aids are working properly during the fitting process is to perform a test known as real ear measurement (REM). REM is one of the most useful strategies available. Because it is based on the individual acoustic properties of your ears, it allows for a more exact and personalized fit. This article will explain what REM is, what it can accomplish for you and why it’s critical to have REM performed when getting hearing aids fitted.

Real Ear Measurement: What Is It?

An audiologist can certify that your hearing aids are providing the optimum sounds to your eardrum in a short period of time using REM – typically ranging from five to 20 minutes. After your hearing aids have been programmed and placed in your ear, your audiologist will insert a small silicone probe tube into your ear canal, close to the eardrum.

This probe uses a microphone to monitor the sound delivered to your eardrum at the position of your eardrum. It verifies that the hearing device is delivering the recommended gain across all frequency ranges. Then if any alterations are needed it is done exactly to your ear measurements meaning you get more personalized sound rather than something that is preset.

What Is Voice Mapping?

Voice mapping is a type of REM that involves testing with a speech or speech-like signal is included as part of the method. The hearing aid is adjusted so that speech is enhanced in accordance with preset targets that are beneficial in improving speech audibility. An audiologist adjusts each frequency channel and volume level as the patient is listening to a real-time spectrum display of the speech supplied through their ear canal.

The goal is to improve speech intelligibility while lowering the discomfort caused by loudness. Because real speech signals are utilized to test hearing aids, you will see many benefits. The benefits of using real speech signals include the ability to leave the hearing device’s speech enhancement feature in use, and the consequences of these capabilities in normal use are also included in the testing process.

What Are The Benefits Of Using REM Fittings?

The benefit of REM is that it allows for more precise and accurate hearing aid fitting. A satisfactory fit can be achieved whether or not a REM is conducted. However, scientific evidence supports the use of REM, which is considered best practice in the evaluation of hearing aid fitting.

When a REM test is performed by audiologists during the fitting process of hearing aids, you are likely to receive a more reliable and effective method of measuring the benefit delivered by the hearing aids. This improvement is most likely due to improved audibility as well as increased contentment with the overall fitting experience.

Real-ear measurements have been shown to not only improve the patient’s experience but also to result in a higher overall level of satisfaction. Nonetheless, in the vast majority of customers are fitted with hearing aids without first having their ears properly evaluated.

Why Is REM Testing Necessary When Getting Hearing Aids Fitted?

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) both advocate for using real ear measurements to evaluate hearing aid effectiveness whenever possible. When REM measurements are unavailable, an audiologist must rely on fitting software provided by the hearing aid manufacturer to predict the amount of gain that should be administered at certain frequencies.

When the device is installed and turned on, the software calculates gain settings based on the audiogram results and the fitting rule that has been defined, rather than taking an actual sound measurement at the eardrum. These settings are only based on the usual sound levels that most people perceive when listening to music in their regular ear canal

Several recent investigations found that less than 12% of the targets displayed on the fitting software screen corresponded to the actual measurements collected in the ear canal. Hearing aid fitting software, particularly at high and low frequencies, tends to overstate the true gain of the hearing aids being utilized.

If you want to learn more about real ear measurement or other hearing health services, call Your Hearing Connection at 626-538-9920.