Real Ear Measurement and How It Affects Hearing Aids
We are here to learn about Real Ear Measurement today.
I’ve got a hard hitting question for you. Why would anyone buy hearing aids, but then stick them in a drawer and not wear them?
Unfortunately, we see people all the time who come to us with hearing aids that they don’t feel are working optimally so they almost give up on them. They aren’t meeting their expectations, or they are actually annoyed by the sound quality and eventually they just quit trying to use them.
That’s terrible. How could that be avoided? That sounds like a huge waste of money and time.
There are a few foundational things that just have to be done correctly in order for someone to be successful. Consumer Reports released a report that lists some of those foundations and the most common one that we see skipped is “real ear measurement”. It’s a simple name but it can be critical to get a good hearing outcome.
What does real ear measurement really do then?
You have to first invest in the equipment to perform Real Ear Measurement, and many providers don’t think it is important and therefore don’t have it. We’ve had it for a long time and I actually just purchased another one so that we can run the test more quickly without waiting on the machine. It measures how sound is actually being emitted into your ear canal from a hearing aid. You can imagine sound coming out of the hearing aid and bouncing through a cave (your ear canal) to reach the eardrum. If everyone’s canal is different, that bouncing around is going to get a different sound to the eardrum. We have to see how the device is actually working in your ear. Without it, we are really guessing as to what the hearing aid is doing. In the picture below, the shaded green area is showing the deficit in this hearing aid programming. The two green lines should match up for an optimal fitting, leaving no shaded green area at all.
Can you fix aids that were programmed poorly? Or do they just have to get new hearing aids?
This is one of my favorite things about this test. Often times, it can be done on the aids you already have. I have a “second look” program which means that someone can bring me the aids they already have, we will take a second look and their first reprogramming with us is complimentary. As a side note, we are an independent provider, which means devices that are fit through my office can be taken anywhere in the world. There are some offices, particularly chains, out there, that can only be programmed at the clinic you purchased them at. I personally think you should be free to go wherever you like. That’s how my mom ran her clinic, and it’s how I’ve chosen to run mine.
So what is the outcome you are really trying to achieve?
The end goal is not just to help people hear, but to hear with clarity, which they deserve. There is a right way to do things and the outcomes really speak for themselves. Now the caveat to all of this is that nerve damage is complex and auditory deprivation can lower are target outcomes. Even properly adjusted hearing aids will not bring your hearing back to “normal”, however a properly adjust hearing aid will give you much more satisfaction than one that is not adjusted well.
Yes, I’ve seen you have 150 five star google reviews. That is astounding!
It boggles my mind. We’ve helped so many people in Charlotte, and it still means the world to us when people take the time to share their experience.