Hearing Matters

It’s Audiology Awareness Month!

Are you aware?! October 2018 – Real Ear Measures

By Ryan Hill, Au.D.

October is Audiology Awareness Month, and instead of trying to increase public awareness of audiology and hearing protection broadly, we would like to help increase public awareness of one facet audiology and our practice that is deeply important to us.

Have you seen one of these 3 pieces of equipment used during your hearing aid fitting or annual appointment? Perhaps during a troubleshooting or adjustment appointment? Do you remember listening to a passage about a carrot over and over and over again?

If you are one of OUR patients, the answer is a definite yes!

If you are not one of our patients the likelihood of your answer being yes is around 25%.  That’s right, 3 out of 4 audiologists and hearing aid dispensers in the U.S. do not use this equipment! If you are the lucky 1 out of 4 people in the U.S., your hearing care professional uses Real Ear Measures and you should thank them for operating by best practice guidelines set by the governing bodies and professional organizations in hearing healthcare!  You probably also hear much better than your friends because using real ear measures guarantees maximum audibility for speech while maintaining comfortable listening.

In short Real Ear measures the Real Ear Response of the hearing aid in your ear. It is a measurement directly at the ear drum so that we know exactly what the hearing aid is actually doing instead of relying on the programming computer to guess what is happening. We know what the programming computer says the hearing aid is doing, but how do we know if it’s performing this way in the ear? That’s simple. We measure with REAL EAR.

Advantages of Real Ear:

  • More precise fitting = optimum hearing aid/patient performance
  • Takes out all guess work – measuring doesn’t rely on estimates! It’s actual! It’s real! It’s Real Ear!
  • Better speech intelligibility in noise
  • Better sound – tailored to your specific ear and hearing aid combination
  • Better all-around patient performance
  • Better patient satisfaction
  • Less follow up appointments due to precision of fit
  • Can help verify features such as noise suppression, directional switching, phone performance, and many others!
  • Can even help program a hearing aid to a specific person’s voice!
  • And many more!

Disadvantages

  • May take 10 extra minutes (can you feel the sarcasm?)
  • Probe tubes may tickle the ear during placement
  • Targets can be excessive for patients with hyperacusis (extreme sensitivity to sound)
    • This is very uncommon
  • For patients with conductive loss a percentage of target response is used

Moral of the story, get fit by using real ear measures! It’s as simple as that! And if you’re hearing aids cannot be adjusted to reach targets, your hearing care professional, especially those at The Hill Hear Better Clinic, can make recommendations to make sure you’re properly fit and can meet those targets!

If you feel like your hearing aid isn’t performing well, or that you want to get more out of it, call us at The Hill Hear Better Clinic and schedule your real ear measurement appointment today!

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