Why Are Real Ear Measurements Important for Hearing Aid Fittings?

Elderly man smiling during audiology appointment

A hearing aid fitting is the process during which a hearing care professional helps individuals suffering from hearing loss identify the correct hearing device for their auditory needs and sets it up in accordance with those needs.

As people’s ear canals are different in terms of depth and curvature, their acoustic properties also vary. This makes hearing aid fittings a tricky process. In order for optimal results to be achieved, the method that is used to perform the fitting needs to be as precise and efficient as possible.

What Are Real Ear Measurements (REMs)?

A real ear measurement is a process that helps audiologists determine the way in which a hearing aid functions at different volumes, taking into consideration the frequencies and pitches. It is performed using an instrument that looks like a small probe tube, which is why REMs are sometimes called ‘probe microphone measurements.’

The process is painless and takes a relatively short time. It is performed by inserting the small tube into the ear canal, with the external end of the tube plugged into a real ear measurement device. After that, the hearing aid is placed inside the ear and sound is played into it.

Audiologist performing a hearing aid fitting on elderly woman

The REM device then indicates the volume of the sound as experienced by the ear, allowing the audiologist to perform the necessary modifications to the hearing device’s settings so that it produces frequencies and pitches at the appropriate volume.

The Benefits of an Objective Measurement

The developments in the field of hearing instrument technology are many and ongoing. However, the need for objective measurements designed to help audiologists determine what exactly happens inside the patient’s ear while they are wearing their hearing aid is as relevant as ever. The insight that real ear measurements can provide into the specific auditory needs of each patient and whether their hearing aid is performing in accordance with them cannot be provided with the same precision by subjective measurements such as in-situ audiometry.

Adding REM to Your Skillset as a Hearing Care Professional

The ability to perform real ear measurements is an invaluable addition to any hearing care professional’s skillset. Real ear measurements are a gold standard procedure and are estimated to be the most reliable and efficient method of hearing aid fitting as they are able to objectively verify the ear’s frequency response. Learning how to perform REMs as a hearing care professional will provide you with the following benefits:

  • Ability to determine the precise volume: REMs provide access to precise data about the sound levels right next to the eardrum
  • Preservation of the patient’s residual hearing: hearing aids amplify sound and have the power to harm the patient’s residual hearing if not set up correctly; REMs provide data that can help hearing care professionals ensure that loud sounds are not being amplified
Consultation with an audiologist
  • Insight into which type of dome is most appropriate: REMs can indicate the ear’s reaction to open vs. closed-style domes when fitting behind-the-ear (BTE) style hearing aids, allowing for easier identification of the dome type that works best

Without the benefits of REM data, clients often need to book follow-up appointments due to requiring further adjustments on their hearing aids. Thanks to the precision provided by real ear measurements, the need for such appointments is reduced, resulting in saved time and happier, more appreciative clients.

Are you a hearing care professional interested in adding REM to your skillset? If yes, then it might be a good idea to look into our Real Ear Measurements course! Click here to register your interest today.

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