Everyone’s ear canals are different. Many will be narrower, shallower, larger, or deeper than average. Many people’s ear canals also have sharp bends to them, creating more reflective surfaces for incoming sound.
The two ears are often different even in the same individual. These variations make your ears acoustically different from others. The specific acoustics of your ears means that the actual sound produced by hearing aids in your ears will likely differ from what is predicted based on average ears.
When Dr. Hoffmann fits your hearing aid, your specific ear canal size, length, and shape are all taken into consideration by the use of a tiny probe microphone to take Real-Ear Measurements.
Here's why Real Ear Measurement (REM) is so important in hearing aid fittings:
Without REM data, one can only guess that the hearing aid is amplifying sound correctly for you. REM is independent of the hearing aid manufacturers’ proprietary software.
It allows Dr. Hoffmann to know precisely what the sound level is a few millimeters from the eardrum so that the hearing aids can be programmed and verified to follow the prescription for your hearing loss.
When fitting a hearing aid, Dr. Hoffmann is particularly concerned about conserving your residual hearing. Hearing aids are amplifiers and are capable of producing sound levels that can harm your hearing.
Therefore, by measuring, testing, and recording the sound from the hearing aids in your ear canal, REM data provides evidence that the hearing aids are helping you hear the sounds you need to hear but, at the same time, limiting the amplification of louder sounds.
REM allows Dr. Hoffmann to determine how to best couple the behind-the-ear style hearing aids to your ear canal. The behind-the-ear hearing aids can be fit or coupled with various types of domes (earbuds) or custom-molded earpieces.
How the device is coupled to your ear canals can greatly affect the sound of the hearing aid in your ears. REM data can reveal the acoustic consequences of using a more open vs. a more closed coupler for your hearing aids. Dr. Hoffmann uses REM to select a coupling device that gives you a comfortable fit while meeting your REM prescriptive targets.
Since REM is independent of hearing aid manufacturers’ software, it can be performed on nearly all hearing devices of any make. If you would like to test how well your current hearing aids conform to your hearing prescription, call Hoffmann Audiology and ask for an appointment for Real Ear Measurements.