The main goal of wearing a hearing aid is to restore your hearing ability. Truth to be told, hearing aids can be expensive and with the latest designs and technology, you were promised to have some of the best features the market can offer from connectivity to smartphone to seamless hearing experience. Now you might have these sophisticated hearing aids but they do not seem to be working on the level that you were promised, so what is the problem?
Before you invest in a hearing aid(s), it is crucial for you to have a hearing test. Not everyone hearing loss is the same, for most individuals with hearing loss, the degree of their hearing loss varies across the different frequencies/ pitches. A thorough diagnostic hearing test, accompanied with the audiologist’s case history taking in regards to your particular hearing difficulties, lifestyle and budget ensures your hearing aids selection fulfill all your hearing requirements.
So what is Real Ear Measurement (REM)?
Real Ear Measurement (REM) is a golden standard of hearing aid verification test. The American Speech–Language–Hearing Association (ASHA) and American Academy of Audiology (AAA) recommend real ear measures as the preferred method of verifying the performance of hearing aids during hearing aid fitting process. REM is also known as probe microphone measurement is a measurement standard used by audiologist to determine whether a hearing aid user is receiving or receipting the accurate level of the amplification needed at every frequency for the hearing aid. Typically, hearing aid users who did not undergo REM usually are under or over-amplified for their hearing aid performance, hence they still experience unclear sound quality or difficult in speech understanding regardless how high-tech is their hearing aid.
REM target is generated by the hearing loss level, during the measurement, the hearing aid frequency response will be adjusted to match the target as close as possible. Although the absolute precision may not be possible, the goal is to maximize the benefits of the hearing aids. Here is the sample of the hearing aid performance before and after the REM.
The key difference between a conventional auto hearing aid programming and REM is that REM doesn’t not only measure type of degree of hearing loss but it also put your ear’s anatomy into account too. Do you know that your ear canal structure can have profound impact on hearing aids performance? This is why REM plays a big role on users’ satisfaction on their hearing devices. Studies even suggest that 79% of patients prefer the settings of hearing aids that were programmed using real ear measurement equipment versus those that weren’t. Surprisingly, less than 30% of all hearing care professionals perform this practice, which is one of the reasons why our centre stands out from the rest.
Above showed a sample REM report. From left to the right showed the comparison of hearing response – SII -Speech Intelligible Index between unaided, aided (without REM) and aided (with REM). Higher the SII means better the sound quality and speech understanding response.
What is the procedure like
In summary, we perform real ear measurements during the course of every hearing aid fitting because it is considered a best practice AND because it’s in the best interest of our patients. Not all audiologists in the country conduct REM to hearing loss patients. Fortunately, SoundLife Hearing is one of those who conduct REM. Don’t hesitate to contact our office today if you’re interested in setting up an appointment to learn more about how we can help you get the most from your hearing aids.
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