Real Ear Measurement: The Complete Guide

Audiologists play an essential role in ensuring hearing aids are properly tailored to individual needs. They employ a technique called Real Ear Measurement (REM) to obtain an objective measurement of the sound delivered by the hearing aid in our ear canal.

Significance of REM

Despite its significance, REM is not universally implemented. However, evidence points to appreciable benefits for individuals who do receive REM-verified hearing aid fittings, including better speech intelligibility and satisfaction.

Foundations of Audiology and Real Ear Measurement

In our practice as audiologists, we emphasize the critical importance of precise hearing assessments and the use of real ear measurements (REM) to ensure optimal hearing aid performance.

Responsibilities of Audiologists

As audiologists, we're responsible for:

  • Conducting thorough hearing assessments
  • Collecting comprehensive patient histories
  • Performing a variety of tests to determine the nature and degree of hearing loss
  • Interpreting these results accurately
  • Determining the most effective treatment plan, which may include hearing aids

Principles of Real Ear Measurement

Real ear measurement is central to our fitting process for hearing aids. This method involves placing a probe microphone near the eardrum to measure the sound delivery of the hearing aid in the ear canal. We employ REM to verify that the hearing aid amplification levels are tailored to the patient's individual hearing loss and ear acoustics.

Equipment and Tools for Real Ear Measurement

For REM, we utilize specialized equipment:

  • Probe Microphone: To measure sound levels in the ear canal
  • Loudspeaker: To deliver the test sounds
  • Signal Generator: This device creates the sounds used during testing
  • Computer Software: For data analysis and visual representation

Utilizing these tools, we ensure hearing aids are programmed for the best possible patient outcomes.

The Procedure of Real Ear Measurement

Real Ear Measurement (REM) is a fundamental process that we, as audiologists, undertake to ensure the accurate fitting of hearing aids. This technique allows us to measure and visualize how sound is amplified by a hearing aid within a patient's ear canal.

Conducting the Real Ear Measurement Test

To conduct the Real Ear Measurement:

  1. We insert a probe tube adjacent to the hearing aid in the ear canal, with the tube's tip positioned near the eardrum
  2. The patient is exposed to various sounds and speech stimuli through a loudspeaker
  3. We measure the sound levels with the hearing aid turned on, ensuring the device's settings are tailored to the individual's hearing loss and ear acoustics

Interpreting the Results

The final step involves analyzing the data obtained from the Real Ear Measurement:

  • By comparing the hearing aid's amplification in the ear to the target gain levels, we can adjust the hearing aid's settings for optimal performance
  • We ensure the results translate into improved communication and speech intelligibility for the patient, making any necessary refinements to achieve the best possible outcome

Importance of Real Ear Measurement in Hearing Aid Fitting

Real Ear Measurement (REM) is a vital process ensuring the accuracy and effectiveness of hearing aid fittings. By utilizing this technique, we ensure that hearing aids are precisely calibrated to the unique needs of each user.

Customizing Hearing Aid Settings

When we perform REM, we're taking into account the individual's specific ear canal characteristics. This is crucial because each person's ear canal shape and size affect how sound travels to the eardrum. By using REM:

  • We can ascertain the precise amplification needs for different frequencies, tailoring the hearing aid settings to the user’s individual hearing loss profile
  • This customization aids in enhancing speech intelligibility, particularly in challenging listening environments

Ensuring Proper Hearing Aid Performance

REM is not a one-off procedure; it's an ongoing tool to confirm hearing aid performance over time. Through REM, we ensure that:

  • Hearing aids provide the predetermined level of amplification for soft, medium, and loud sounds, according to the user's prescription
  • We conduct periodic REMs to adjust settings and maintain optimal performance, as changes in hearing or the hearing aid's function may occur

Advancements and Challenges in Audiology

As audiologists, we adapt to evolving technologies and address the practical concerns of real ear measurement (REM).

Innovations in Measurement Techniques

Significant technological advancements in REM include:

  • Integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital signal processing
  • Refined precision of hearing aid fittings
  • More accurate modeling of the ear's acoustics
  • Personalized hearing aid programming
  • Ability to measure the sound level difference a hearing aid makes in the canal
  • Real-time adjustments based on these measurements

Addressing Common Real Ear Measurement Concerns

Despite advancements, challenges remain. Data indicates that only about 30 percent of audiologists perform REM regularly. REM is considered best practice for hearing aid fittings. We strive to increase this percentage by:

  • Educating practitioners about the benefits and necessity of REM for both patient outcomes and professional standards
  • Simplifying the process to make REM less intimidating and more accessible, especially for new professionals in the field

Find a Best Practices Provider on

At HearingUp, we are committed to helping you find exceptional hearing care tailored to your individual hearing needs. We understand the importance of accurate hearing aid fitting, which is why we emphasize the significance of Real Ear Measurements (REM). Utilizing REM, HearingUp providers ensure your hearing aids are calibrated to the specific amplification your prescription requires.

If you're considering hearing aids or seeking to optimize your current devices, let us assist you in experiencing the benefits that properly fitted hearing aids can offer. Find a HearingUp provider today!

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