In the past, hearing evaluations and fittings for hearing aids consisted mostly of a series of beeps and noises. Today, audiologists are equipped with new technologies and methods to make the hearing aid fitting and programming process more effective.
One of the more advanced technologies available is live speech mapping or real ear-measures. This hearing aid fitting method is used to verify the settings within the hearing aid(s) using speech as a stimulus. Live speech mapping makes fitting appointments more interactive and can enhance the overall fitting experience for the new user.
What is Live Speech Mapping or Real Ear Measures?
Live speech mapping/real-ear is a fitting and verification protocol that is used to ensure that your hearing aids are programmed according to your hearing losses. With this method, small tubes attached to microphones are placed in the ear canal along with the hearing aids, a speech signal or sound source is transmitted through a speaker system and then the hearing aids are adjusted according to your hearing needs. Soft, moderate and loud speech sounds are delivered to ensure that you are able to hear the full compliment of speech and environmental sounds through the hearing aids.
The Audiologists at All About Hearing have this high-tech equipment in both clinics. They can provide you with the ability to “see” what you are hearing through your hearing aids on a screen in real-time. You will be able to see the hearing aid adjustments as they occur and participate in the process. This also allows you and your family members to visualize and understand the differences that hearing aids can make in your hearing ability.
Benefits of Live Speech Mapping
Live speech mapping/real-ear is known for its accuracy. If you have a hearing loss, you may not be able to fully understand what you can and cannot hear, and therefore, you may not understand everything you are missing. With this method, you will have the ability to hear the improvements immediately, and you will be shown exactly what you can and cannot hear in real-time.
Functional Gain Testing
An older version of hearing aid fitting verification is called functional gain testing. Your child’s hearing is retested with their hearing aids on in the soundbooth using speakers. Unfortunately functional gain testing only tests certain pitches within the speech ranges and the distance from your child’s hearing aids and the speaker may vary which reduces the accuracy of the measure. Functional gain testing also requires the active participation of your child and often times children tested at the end of the day perform differently than at the beginning of the day. This type of testing can be useful however if the clinic does not have the Real-ear equipment. Conclusions about the hearing aid setting should only be loosely interpreted.