Real Ear Measurement
At the end of your hearing test, we’ll talk with you about your results and discuss your options for hearing aids. Not all hearing aids are appropriate for all types of hearing loss or lifestyles. We want to make sure you get a set of hearing aids that you’ll want to wear!
Depending on the type of hearing aids you choose, you may be able to walk out of our office wearing them the same day you take your hearing test, or it may take some time to create a custom earmold. In either case, the next step will be programming your hearing aids for your specific hearing loss.
As an initial starting point, we’ll program your hearing aids using the results of your comprehensive hearing evaluation. Manufacturers have specific guidelines for how to do this, but it doesn’t always work perfectly. There are minor differences between individual hearing aids, and every person has a unique ear canal shape.
These differences in the shapes of our ears can mean that the sound that reaches your eardrum may be very different from the sound that comes out of the hearing aid. This is part of the reason why your hearing test results only provide a starting point for programming. Typically, we start asking questions about how your hearing aids are sounding to you right away, and we adjust the program to better fit your needs.
Where Does Real Ear Measurement Come In?
Real Ear Measurement (REM) provides one more objective step on the way toward getting your programming just right. Ultimately, what matters is that your hearing aids sound good to you, but it is easier to reach that point when REM helps us to know better where we’re starting from.
As we said, the problem with simply programming your hearing aids based on your hearing test is that the sound that reaches your eardrum is very often different from the sound coming out of the hearing aid. What’s more, the sound coming out of the hearing aid may be a little different from what should be expected, based on the program.
REM allows us to measure the sound from your hearing aids—in your ear canal—right next to your eardrum! A tiny microphone on an incredibly thin wire is placed in your ear, and then your hearing aid is inserted. Now we can actually measure the sound that is reaching your eardrum from your hearing aids.
Using this measurement, we can adjust the programming of your hearing aids not to a spec sheet, but to the actual sound that is reaching your eardrum. This means that, when we start asking you how everything is sounding, we are starting from perfect correction based on your hearing test.
We hear as much with our brains as we do with our ears. Perfect correction may be good for some people, while others may find it uncomfortable—at least at first. At the end of the day, the best programming for your hearing aids is the one that makes you want to wear them! But by starting from a level of amplification that is truly in line with the results of your hearing test, we are much more likely to reach that point faster, since we can rule out inaccurate correction right from the start.
Real Ear Measurement and Audio Reality™
REM is the best way to ensure accurate sound reproduction at the level of the eardrum, while Audio Reality™ is the best way to ensure accurate sound reproduction at the level of the brain. All too often, patients leave a hearing instrument specialist’s office and immediately realize that their hearing aids don’t sound right.
That’s because what we hear in the clinical environments of these offices does not match the kinds of sonic environments we encounter in the real world. Audio Reality™ is a system that we developed at Gulf Gate Hearing Aid Center to counteract this problem. Using a large TV and a 5.1 surround system, we recreate the kinds of environments you’ll encounter out in the world to ensure that your hearing aids will handle all the hectic soundscapes you’ll ever need to navigate.
REM and Audio Reality™ are just two of the ways we make sure your hearing needs are thoroughly met!