Real Ear Measurement

Sep 7, 2017 12:28 AM

How would you feel if you were on a commercial airline flight, wheels up, seatbelt sign off, and the intercom came on: “Good Morning Ladies and Gentleman, this is your captain speaking. Thank you for flying KindaSorta Airlines flight #007 to Pennsylvania.  We are ascending to an altitude of … Oh, I don’t know… really high. At cruising altitude we will be going really, really fast. We are scheduled to arrive in Pennsylvania early this afternoon. Arrival time depends on whether we have a headwind or a tailwind. Relax, and thanks for flying KindaSorta Airlines.” 

If you are like me, you would probably finally give the ‘Flight Safety Procedures’ card a thorough read. 

Sometimes you can get this kind of lackadaisical approach to fitting hearing instruments. According to all the major hearing instrument manufacturers, and all the industry’s professional organizations, hearing aid fittings should be validated using a technique broadly defined as Real Ear Measurement(REM). Sadly, it is estimated that only about 35% of clinicians use REM on a regular basis. 

“Too many hearing aids are fitted to patients using the  manufacturer’s ‘first fit’ algorithm.” said Dan Rochel, owner of Hearswell in Isanti.  These programs use the acoustic properties of a standard measuring tool, called a 2cc coupler. That would be fine if all ears resonated sound just like a 2 cc coupler. But they do not. Studies show that human ear canals very greatly in the way they resonate sound. 

So, the best way to make sure that hearing instruments are performing to their ‘prescription’ is to measure what is actually going on in the patient’s ear.  This is what REM does.  A very sensitive, and finely tuned microphone is attached to a silicone tube about 1mm in diameter (probe tube), and then the tube is placed in the ear canal very close to the eardrum. The patient’s hearing aid is then placed in the ear. A calibrated sound is played.  The probe tube picks up the sound at the eardrum and relays that information to a computer. In this way a practitioner can see exactly what the  patient is receiving from the hearing aid.  “there is no more accurate way to perform, or validate a hearing aid fitting” says Rochel

The equipment used for this procedure can be used on any type of hearing instrument, old or new.  At Hearswell,  all hearing evaluations, and hearing instrument assessments are done using industry ‘best practices’. This includes the latest in REM techniques. Give them a call to be sure you are getting the most up to date hearing health care.