Hearing aid analyzer measurements are fast and are often used to quickly check how a hearing aid is working in comparison to previous test box measurements. There are several reasons to use Hearing aid analyzer system including verifying that the hearing aid amplification is appropriate for the patient’s hearing loss, determining the characteristics of the hearing aid, and checking that the hearing aid is working properly. There are two different classes of hearing aid measurements: real-ear (Which done by REM system) and coupler (Which done by hearing aid analyzer system).
Real-ear measurements (REMs) are performed with the microphone placed inside the ear canal of the patient. REMs are also sometimes known as “probe” measurements, referring to the small probe attached to the microphone that is placed in the ear. The ear canal has a significant impact on the frequency response of the amplification produced by the hearing aid, and every ear canal is unique. Therefore, using REMs is the only way for hearing professionals to determine exactly how much amplification the patient is receiving. Coupler measurements are performed inside a sound chamber using a device called a coupler. The coupler works as a substitute for the ear canal, providing a standard-sized cavity into which the amplification produced by the hearing aid is directed, and a mechanical way to attach a microphone to the hearing aid. The primary use of coupler measurements is to specify the characteristics of a hearing aid and to determine if it is functioning properly.
Coupler measurements are easier and faster to perform than REMs, but they are not a precise measurement of the frequency response of the hearing aid inside the ear. Although both REMs and coupler measurements are technically “electro-acoustical” measurements, usually that term is reserved for coupler measurements. Coupler measurements are also sometimes called “sound chamber” measurements. Almost all hearing aids being fit today are digital or digitally programmable with computer based fitting programs, allowing the hearing professionals to perform extensive adjustments to the hearing aid and display the predicted results of these adjustments on the computer screen.Many hearing professionals have been lulled by the ease of these programs into assuming that the hearing aid will always perform as the program predicts. However, these programs cannot determine the effect of an irregular ear canal resonance on the hearing aid amplification or diagnose problems resulting from a poorly fit shell or ear mold. Nor can they predict errors resulting from problems with the hearing aid programming or the changes that may occur over time to the hearing aid response.
Therefore, it is critical for the hearing professionals to perform independent verification of predicted results in order to determine the hearing aid’s amplification. Coupler measurements can be used in to check that the hearing aid is performing to the manufacturing specifications, to pre-fit a hearing aid before the patient arrives at the clinic, and to establish a baseline that can be used later if the hearing aid comes back into the clinic for repair or adjustment. Coupler measurements are the absolute minimum amount of verification that every clinician should perform with a hearing aid fitting. REMs are an important next step in verifying the hearing aid fitting. Depending upon the clinical setup, REMs can usually be performed while the clinician adjusts the hearing aid during the fitting process. This has the benefit of immediately showing the clinician how adjustments made in the hearing aid program actually affect the response of the hearing aid inside the ear. These REM records can save valuable troubleshooting time later should any problems with the hearing aid occur. Hearing Analyzer system is one the most useful devices in all small and big ENT and audiology offices of hospitals and clinics.