Real-Ear Measurement at Potomac Audiology

Advanced Hearing Care—Improving your Quality of Life. Potomac Audiology: 240-477-1010

Real-Ear Measurement—Why guess when you could measure?

Every human being has unique features; this includes their eyes, nose and even their ears. The size and shape of an individual’s external ear and ear canal plays a role in the fitting of a hearing aid. This is because the size and shape of the ear canal affects the acoustics and resonant qualities of the ear!

The gold-standard of hearing aid fitting includes real-ear measurement, also known as ‘probe-microphone measurement.’ This technique allows us to measure what the hearing aid is delivering to the eardrum, taking into account the acoustic properties of the ear canal! Without performing this measurement, there is no way to know whether a hearing aid is providing the amplification across the frequencies to correct the hearing loss. Why risk spending thousands of dollars on hearing aids that may not be programmed to the best of its ability?

Below, is an example of real-ear measurement showing poorly fit hearing aid. The red line indicates the target curve which is based on the individual’s degree of hearing loss. The green line shows what the hearing aid is delivering to the ear. You can see that the two curves are matching in the low frequencies (left portion of the real-ear measurement graph), but not matching at all in the high frequencies (right portion of the real-ear measurement graph). An individual fit with a hearing aid like this would likely say that the hearing aid sounds loud enough, but not clear enough. This is because high-frequencies carry the soft consonant sounds which give us the clarity in speech. Therefore, this individual’s hearing aids are not providing sufficient amplification in the high-frequencies and need to be adjusted.

Real-Ear Measurement Showing Poor Fit

Real-Ear Measurement results show hearing aid isn’t working.

Next we see an example of real-ear measurement showing a nicely fit hearing aid. The red line and green line are overlapping, indicating the hearing aid amplification is matching the target or ‘prescriptive’ curve. This is objective evidence that the hearing aid is performing the way it should be for the individual’s hearing loss and unique ear acoustics. In the very high frequencies off to the right, you see that green line is below the red line, this is because the patient reported water and paper as being too loud, so we reduced some of the high frequency amplification. This is called “subjective fine tuning” based on the patient’s personal preferences.

Real-Ear Measurement at Potomac Audiology

Real-Ear Measurement results show hearing aid is working well.

At our office, we bring patients back once a week until they have mastered all the skills needed to handle their hearing aid(s) and programming is both objectively matching their prescriptive target and subjectively comfortable for the hearing aid user.

Luckily, our patients don’t have to worry about the details of programming, they leave that to us. If you are unhappy with your current hearing aids or know someone who is, often reprogramming existing hearing aids with real-ear measurements can improve the performance of the aid(s).

 

Call 240-477-1010 to schedule an appointment or professional consultation with one of our doctors at Potomac Audiology.