Free Hearing Aid Check, December 7, 2022

Written By Capital Institute of Hearing & Balance

Join us at Capital Institute of Hearing & Balance on December 7, 2022, from 8:30a-4:00p for a free hearing aid check. During this event, we will conduct speech mapping measurements on your hearing devices to verify that they are correctly set for YOU. Call today to lock in your spot at 240-670-1200. You need to bring your current hearing aids or over-the-counter listening devices. Also, don’t forget a copy of your most recent hearing evaluation if you have it. We look forward to seeing you!

Why do I need a hearing aid check?

Audiologists recommend an annual hearing aid check. Suppose your hearing has changed or your hearing aids do not amplify appropriately. In that case, your audiologist will recommend hearing aid adjustments, cleaning or repair. Real ear and speech mapping are procedures that ensure your hearing aid settings are correct. These procedures allow audiologists to measure how loud hearing aids are. Furthermore, real ear measures verify that the settings meet your hearing aid prescriptions. “Speech mapping” and “real ear” are often used interchangeably. However, speech mapping is the most commonly used type of real ear measurement.

woman with hearing aids positioned in front of real ear equipment

A hearing aid user is set up for real ear and speech mapping

“Verification,” or making sure that hearing aid settings are correct, is crucial for hearing aid fittings. The American Academy of Audiology and American Speech-Language-Hearing Association guidelines declare real ear verification as the gold standard of care. Both documents point to research that strongly shows that these measures are reliable and better than other available verification methods. Consumer Reports also recommends that hearing aid users choose audiologists who use real ear measures.

Individual ear characteristics

We know what you’re thinking: why does a hearing aid’s loudness need to be verified? First, no two ear canals are alike. The hearing aid software determines how loud the hearing aids are. However, the size and shape of your ear canal can change how you perceive that sound. Without real ear measures, the audiologist doesn’t fully know the impact of your ear’s characteristics on sound.

Let’s do a little demonstration with a speaker to show the effect of a space’s shape/size on sound. Play your favorite song through your mobile phone. Now drop it into a clean, empty cereal bowl. Most people can hear that the music is louder, even though you didn’t adjust your phone’s volume. Next, place your phone in a large mixing bowl. Last, try a large cup. Each container changes the acoustics of the song, even though the settings on the phone remain the same. In short, imagine that your phone is a hearing aid and that each vessel is an individual ear canal. This example gives you some idea of the effect of ear canal size and shape on the amplified sound.

Troubleshooting

Real ear measurements can be beneficial in:

  1. Ensuring a hearing aid is functioning correctly.
  2. Measuring changes an audiologist makes to address any sound quality issues you may have.
  3. Troubleshooting hearing aid problems or identifying the need for cleaning or repair.

How are real ear responses measured?

probe mic next to a pen

A probe microphone. The pen is for scale.

During speech mapping, you wear your hearing aids. First, the audiologist connects the devices to a computer to make adjustments. Next, she places a probe microphone (a tiny flexible tube) in your ear with the hearing aids. The audiologist will position you in front of verification equipment, including speakers and a display screen. Finally, the speaker plays a signal (often speech), and the microphone measures the sound in the ear canal.

Most speech mapping involves obtaining multiple measurements at different volumes. As a speech passage plays from the equipment speaker, the probe microphone picks up the amplified sound in the ear canal. Then the equipment visually displays the ear canal sound on the screen in front of the listener. The audiologist then reviews the data and makes changes as needed.

Free Hearing Aid Check December 7, 2022

Now you know how vital real ear measurements are to ensure the proper setting of hearing aids! Schedule an appointment at Capital Institute of Hearing & Balance for December 7, 2022, from 8:30a-4:00p for your free hearing aid check!

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