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Real Ear Measurement

For hearing aids to help people achieve better hearing, the sounds and speech must be amplified with clarity.  During a hearing aid fitting, audiologists use real ear measurements to ensure that the hearing aid is optimized to the highest possible level based on the hearing requirements of the patient.

Why perform Real Ear Measures? 

Hearing aids can make a big difference in hearing and speech comprehension. Real-ear measurements determine the amount of amplification the ears need to hear their best. Realistically speaking, the severity of an individual’s hearing loss may create challenges in how much benefit can be achieved from a hearing aid. However, real ear measurements greatly help maximize the potential benefit available through hearing aids.

The gold standard for determining whether or not a hearing aid user is getting the precise level of amplification they need at every frequency involves real-ear measurements. Also known as Probe Microphone Measurements, this process is the best way to determine if someone is able to hear at the most accurate level possible with their new hearing aid.

Performing real ear measurements during the initial hearing aid fitting process helps audiologists determine if the patient is receiving the correct level of amplification across all frequencies.

In a recent study conducted by the Hearing Review, results showed that only 34% of audiologists across the United States perform real ear measurements in their clinic. At Cary Audiology, we practice real ear measurements because of the superior results and clinically-based benefit of evaluating hearing aids in quiet and in noise. 

Measuring how well your hearing aids work is an important part of making sure you receive all of the benefits they’re capable of offering. To do this, real-ear measurements are taken with specially designed microphones that can detect any difference in sound levels. 

It might seem like subtle changes would go unnoticed, but through real ear measurement, including evaluation of details such as frequency responses, we find out more about what the ears should be able to hear and are able to make adjustments for improved future use.

What is the basic process of Real Ear Measurement? 

Let’s examine a simple overview of how the real ear measurements process works.  A thin probe microphone will be inserted into the ear canal together with the hearing aid. The audiologist will then play different recorded speech samples at various loudness levels. This allows the audiologist to document readings of the exact sound levels a hearing aid user is receiving from the devices. Through real ear measurements, audiologists can read the results and adjust the sound levels to correlate with the target amplification levels based on the hearing aid wearer’s hearing loss across all speech frequencies.

Are real ear measurements necessary? 

Hearing aids may be the perfect solution for you or your loved one, but without real ear measurements, it’s likely that the hearing aid fit will not be optimized to provide maximum benefit. Real ear measurements paired with proper hearing diagnosis can help ensure patients are getting effective results as their devices are programmed in their appropriate volume range.

When buying over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, you may not be able to receive real ear measurements. This is especially true if you will be purchasing online. Hearing care experts and audiologists agree that purchasing hearing aids online without professional fitting, adjustment, and programming, will likely be a waste of time and money as it may only provide unsatisfactory or ineffective hearing improvement.

Real Ear Measurements vs. First Fit Hearing Aid Programming

The majority of hearing aids on the market today are equipped to be auto-programmed using First Fit. Audiologists and hearing aid dispensers use First Fit by encoding the hearing loss data of a patient into the manufacturer’s software to get an estimate of the level of amplification a patient should receive to achieve the appropriate level of improved hearing.

Major hearing aid brands have their own set of First Fit settings and algorithms. While encoding the hearing loss data into the First Fit may seem like an easy way to adjust and program hearing aids, using merely the First Fit setting does not offer the same accuracy offered by Real Ear Measurement.

One of the issues with First Fit programming is that audiologists cannot verify a prescription based on the manufacturer because they are using proprietary formulas to verify prescriptive volume. This is one of the limitations of First Fits.

Another significant limitation of the First Fit approach is that it does not take into account the patient’s unique ear canal shape and size. Individuals with similar degrees of hearing loss will require different amounts of amplification at varying frequencies, because anatomical differences can dramatically alter your prescriptive volume.

Since each individual experiences hearing loss differently, each individual requires a unique hearing aid fitting. Through real ear measurements, audiologists can provide a far more accurate hearing aid fitting than any First Fit existing on the market.

Hearing Aid Fitting at Cary Audiology

Hearing aid fitting at Cary Audiology involves prescription-based programming to meet a patient’s specific hearing requirements. To ensure that the hearing requirements are met as closely as possible, we use real-ear measurements to verify that the devices are accurately programmed. Our audiologists will also be assessing the subjective benefit of the hearing aid(s) using our Client-Oriented Scale of Improvement (COSI).

Before you leave the clinic with your new hearing aids, we will explain to you the basics of how to use them including insertion and removal, changing the batteries, and cleaning and maintenance.

We highly encourage our patients to bring a family member or a friend during the hearing aid fitting so they can help remember all the information and provide support during the adjustment period.

Real Ear Measurements in Cary, NC

As part of our goal to provide the best possible hearing care, we use real-ear measurements testing at our audiology clinic in Cary, NC.

We practice real ear measurements to verify that the hearing aids prescribed to our patients are accurately programmed. Through real ear measurements, we can confidently boost the rates of success and ensure that you are getting the most out of your hearing device.

Regular programming and adjustments are part of hearing aid maintenance. Cary Audiology offers real ear measurements not only during the first hearing aid fitting but also during follow-up appointments. 

Hearing Aid Fittings and Audiologists in Cary, NC 

Cary Audiology is committed to providing the best evidence-based care to our patients by offering real ear measurements for higher rates of hearing aid success. We don’t just fit hearing aids – we fit hearing aids and make sure that they are calibrated to our patient’s unique hearing requirements.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment!