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Real ear measurement (REM) is critical when fitting patients with hearing aids because it verifies the gain (volume) provided by the hearing aids based on the pitch and volume of the sound they pick up. Research consistently indicates that without REM being performed, patients will not achieve the level of amplification that is needed to meet their hearing loss prescription.
Only an estimated 30% of audiologists and hearing aid dispensers use REM when fitting hearing aids. REM is recommended by both the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), as the preferred method of verifying the performance of hearing aids. The use of REM to assess the performance of hearing aids is covered in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specification methods of measurement of Real Ear Performance Characteristics of Hearing Aids, ANSI S3.46-2013 (a revision of ANSI S3.46-1997). REM are the most reliable and efficient method for assessing the benefit provided by the hearing aid.
Illustration of a Real Ear Measures setup on a patient’s ear.
Real ear measures involve positioning a probe tube in the patient’s ear canal approximately 6mm from the patient’s eardrum. Then, after testing to make sure that the probe tube is appropriately positioned, the hearing aid is also placed in the patient’s ear and the verification process commences.
Till next time,
Kostas (Gus) Neoclis, Sc.D., CCC-A, Audiologist