Audibility improvement, or the ability to hear sounds and speech more clearly, is the goal of hearing aid fittings. So why do so many hearing aids that are dispensed end up in a drawer?
Whether or not Real-Ear Measurements were included as part of the hearing aid fitting process is usually one of the biggest reasons why hearing aids are worn or not. Perhaps the single most important procedure and verification method that could ever be performed on you and your hearing aids is Real-Ear Measurements or REMs for short. Real-Ear Measures, sometimes also called probe microphone measurements or Real-Ear Verification, is the only way to ensure that your hearing aids are programmed correctly to your hearing loss prescription. Sanders et al. (2015) reported that not only are Real-Ear Measures an important part of all hearing aid best practice guidelines, Real-Ear Measures are simply a necessary part of each fitting. Every professional organization affiliated with hearing health care considers Real-Ear Measures to be an integral part of clinical best-practice guidelines.
So, what exactly are Real-Ear Measurements?
Real-Ear Measurements are the gold standard used to determine whether or not a hearing aid user is receiving the precise level of amplification needed at every frequency in order to achieve the best hearing improvement possible.
Depending on the level of hearing loss, 100% improvement is not always possible, but the goal is to maximize the benefit to get as close to 100% as possible.
During Real-Ear Measurements, a thin probe microphone is inserted into the ear canal alongside the hearing aid. The audiologist obtains readings of the exact sound levels the patient is receiving from the hearing aid while listening to various recorded speech samples (live speech mapping). This part of the process doesn’t require a behavioral response from the patient and the audiologist can then precisely adjust the sound levels to match target amplification levels based on the hearing aid user’s hearing loss across the speech frequencies. You are able to “see” what you are hearing through your hearing aids on a screen in real-time.
Performing this verification during the initial fitting process helps ensure that you are receiving a “just right” level of amplification- not too much where everything is too loud and distorted, and not too little where you would have significant trouble hearing speech even with the hearing aids on because things are not loud enough.
Without performing Real-Ear Measurements, fitting a hearing aid is complete guesswork–it might be comparable to getting fit with a pair of prescription glasses, but the optometrist “guessed” the prescription of your vision and crafted the frames based on that “guess.”
Dr. Ivory is one of less than 30% of hearing care providers that routinely uses Real-Ear Measures when programming hearing aids and never “guesses” the prescription. Hearing aid fittings using real ear measurements result in superior outcomes, higher patient satisfaction, higher long-term benefit and usage, as well as, improved aided benefit both in quiet and in noise. La Cañada Hearing Aids & Audiology is proud of the fact that Dr. Ivory provides the best in evidenced-based care to bring you crystal-clear hearing results from hearing aids that actually work how they should.
Even if you have hearing aids from another clinic, Dr. Ivory can perform Real-Ear Measures on your current devices to see how they can be programmed better. This is just another way that Dr. Ivory can maximize your performance with hearing aids to help improve your quality of life through better hearing outcomes.