What are Real Ear Measurements (REM)?
Hearing aid devices aim to improve our ability to hear sounds and speech. This process, known as audibility improvement, is a key objective of hearing aids.
If you recently had a hearing loss diagnosis, your hearing healthcare professional may have discussed treatment options with you. For many people with hearing loss, hearing aid devices are the primary treatment method.
Benefits of treating a hearing loss include:
Using hearing aids to treat a hearing loss can have life-changing benefits. Despite this, it’s estimated that more than 20% of adults who could benefit from a hearing aid device do not use them. Why? Common reasons that people do not wear their hearing aids include:
- Difficulty inserting the device
- Difficulty handling the device
- Hearing aid device doesn’t ideally match the hearing loss
Improving a hearing loss is, as we mentioned, a primary objective of hearing aid devices. It’s important that the hearing loss and device are well matched. That’s where real ear measurements can be a great advantage.
What are Real Ear Measurements?
Real ear measurements (REM) are defined as the “measurement of sound pressure level in a patient's ear canal developed when a hearing aid is worn” (source).
Real ear measurements help hearing professionals determine if the hearing aid wearer is experiencing maximum hearing improvement.
Sometimes known as probe microphone measurements, REM shows if your hearing aid device is working as expected at various frequencies. Given that your hearing loss may be more noticeable at different frequencies, these measurements really can make a difference!
Hearing aids aim to restore as much of your hearing as possible. However, they will unfortunately not be able to give you 100% of your hearing back.
How do Real Ear Measurements Work?
While performing real ear measurements, your hearing specialist will insert a thin microphone into your ear canal. The microphone provides feedback detailing how much a patient is able to hear when wearing their hearing aids.
The process generally involves a number of speech recordings. These are played back to the patient, simulating a number of hearing environments. This process, known as speech-mapping, helps to ensure your hearing aid devices are optimized for your hearing abilities.
Why are Real Ear Measurements Important?
At any given time, you are surrounded by a range of sound frequencies. High frequency sounds can include birds chirping or a doorbell. Lower frequency sounds could be things like thunder rumbling in the distance, or the hum of your refrigerator.
Like other sounds, speech patterns cover a range of frequencies. Women and children tend to have higher frequency speech patterns. Males, on the other hand, have lower frequency speech patterns.
It’s not unusual for hearing loss to differ at different frequencies. Real ear measurements let your hearing specialist determine if particular ranges require additional amplification. It helps to enhance the benefits you’ll get from your hearing aid devices.
At Family Audiology, We’re Here to Help You!
Treating a hearing loss can have a dramatic impact on quality of life. With such an impact, it’s important for patients to find the right hearing device. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our hearing care professionals.