What is real-ear verification?
When you get a hearing aid for the first time, it isn’t programmed. It’s a computer chip, and it doesn’t do much until the person working with you programs the hearing aid.
It’s sort of like getting a suit for the first time. You try it on, and most of it fits you right, but there are some places where it could fit a bit better.
The manufacturer creates the suit to fit the “average,” but in reality, none of us are average! We’re all a bit different, and that’s why we get suits tailored to our bodies.
And that’s exactly what real-ear verification is. Your audiologist will measure your “real ear” and verify that the hearing aid is fitting you properly.
You always want to check that your audiologist uses real-ear verification, because it’s the standard of care, and it ensures that your hearing aid fits you just right.
Why is real-ear verification so important?
Real-ear verification actually measures what the hearing aid is doing in your ear. When the audiologist measures this, they can determine the best fit. The audiologist will actually program that hearing aid to match your specific, individual hearing loss.
This makes sure that you’re getting the gain that the hearing aid manufacturers are saying is possible with that device.
Without real ear, you won’t get your best possible hearing.
Differences in ear canal shape and ear canal volume can change how well the hearing aid works for you.
When we measure those parts of the ear, we can verify those measurements and make the appropriate changes.
Our audiologists have Doctor of Audiology degrees, and are very knowledgable about the hearing and balance system and how it relates to the brain. We perform a thorough diagnostic hearing evaluation on all patients to make sure there aren’t any medical problems that can be resolved by the patient’s primary physician or an ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT).
Our doctors are highly educated and skilled at programming hearing aids to give you your best possible hearing using modern, state of the art equipment.
What does real-ear verification actually do?
With real-ear verification, you’ll be able to hear all types of sounds much better.
For example, soft sounds, like a whisper, will be audible. But loud sounds, like a vacuum cleaner, won’t be too loud.
Moderate sounds, like normal conversation, happen when we talk with the patient. But in order to test those soft and loud sounds, we need to do real-ear verification.
What is the real-ear verification process like?
Once the doctor has programmed the hearing aids using the manufacturer settings on the computer, they use real-ear, which is the gold standard, to actually read what the hearing aid is putting out at all frequencies just before it hits the ear drum.
They place a small tube into the ear canal, which ends just before the ear drum. Then, the hearing aid is placed in the ear and the real-ear will read what the hearing aid is actually putting out at each frequency just before the ear drum.
Hearing aid manufacturers software settings vary due to speakers and ear canal, because each person’s individual ear canal varies. No two ear canals – even on the same patient – are the same.
Real-ear allows the doctor to program the hearing aid precisely to each specific frequency to each patient’s specific diagnostic test results.
After the patient has been accustomed to hearing all the vowels and consonants they’ve been missing, the patient is put back into the sound-treated booth with their new hearings aids to verify that they are now understanding the words they were missing without hearing aids.
We verify and validate all hearing aid fittings to make sure everyone gets their best hearing.