LEXINGTON Technological advances have given us significant improvements in the overall sound quality of hearing aids. We are now able to provide the consumer with clear sound processing, better speech understanding, improved performance in noise, style, and comfort.
After fitting a patient with hearing aids, practitioners are forever asking the patient, “How does that sound?” and, “Does that sound better now?” These questions, even if answered positively, are still very subjective. New technology allows us to make extremely accurate sound adjustments and customize and individualize each patient’s hearing aids to their hearing loss and to their personal sound preferences. Still, in asking these questions, we aren’t receiving a scientific view of how the aids are performing in their ears.
Every ear canal is a different shape and size, and acoustical changes occur specific to these criteria when patients are fitted with hearing aids. For practitioners, a “visual” representation of the performance of the hearing aids in the patient’s ears can be invaluable in correctly adjusting the instruments to each person.
Real Ear Measurement (REM) is an electroacoustical measurement of just this process. A tiny probe microphone is inserted into the ear canal along with the hearing aids and is able to show us on a computer screen the performance of the instruments compared with optimum performance guidelines.
We then make necessary adjustments and retest using REM until the desired results are achieved. These measurements provide us with verification that the hearing aids are performing accurately, meeting a set of measurable specifications and expectations.
REM is quick, painless, and a “must-do” part of proper protocol for successful hearing aid fittings.
Kathryn Sandusky, AuD, FAAA is owner of Central Kentucky Audiology in Lexington. Reach her at (859) 277-5090.