Real-Ear Measurements and Verification
At Apex Audiology, our hearing specialists perform real-ear measurements (REM) and verification during a patient’s hearing aid fitting appointment to ensure the patient is receiving the highest level of service in terms of his/her communication needs. This is the standard of care in our profession, as well as in our practice. During the hearing aid fitting appointment, your hearing specialist may use a hearing aid analyzer or probe microphone measurements to ensure a hearing aid is operating appropriately for you.
The primary objective of a traditional hearing aid fitting is to ensure that appropriate aided acoustic information (e.g., desired output across frequencies at different input levels) is being delivered to the tympanic membrane of the wearer in order to maximize the potential benefit of amplification. The use of a probe-microphone or real-ear measurement (REM) system is the only way to confirm the appropriateness of hearing aid gain and resulting output across frequencies for a range of input levels at the tympanic membrane.
Since hearing devices do not perform the same way for everyone, this verification process is necessary in order to meet your specific communication needs. The purpose of verification is, therefore, twofold:
- To collect objective information about the sound that the hearing instrument is producing in the ear canal of the individual client instead of relying on estimations of the performance of the hearing instrument in an average person’s ear.
- The measurements provide more personalized details and accuracy giving the hearing specialist the information needed to adjust the hearing instrument for the best benefit.
Quick-FIt vs. REM
Some audiology practices rely on manufacturers’ first-fit or Quick-Fit algorithms to provide appropriate aided gain and output. According to the research article “Real-Ear Measurement and Its Impact on Aided Audibility and Patient Loyalty,” the authors found that these quick-fit methods offered less aided gain, and reduced audibility (sound quality to the user) resulting in reduced speech understanding in background noise.
REM, on the other hand, ensures appropriate levels of audibility, improves hearing aid adoption rates, and provides appropriate aided gain and output per each patient’s prescription without deviation. The study findings also showed increased audibility resulting in increased speech understanding in background noise.
Furthermore, the researchers concluded that the provision of REMs positively improved patient psychology towards the practitioner, the standard of care provided by the profession, and self-perceived benefit towards the hearing aid through increased confidence with the product.
Hearing aid verification, as well as validation, are part of best practices guidelines from both the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Verification is an objective measure to determine if the hearing instruments meet a particular standard and are performing as expected. In running a probe-microphone measure, we are checking to see if we matched a prescription gain target–this is verification. Validation comes from patients directly where they acknowledge whether or not the hearing instruments have met their goals.
At Apex Audiology, the integration of clinical services such as real-ear measurements and verification just further highlights our dedication to our patients in providing the best hearing healthcare possible while also supporting our patients’ individual communication needs. If you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our hearing specialists, please call us at (719) 247-9000. You may also schedule an appointment online.