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5232 Dawes Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22311

COVID-19 Update: Masks are required for all visits.

Real Ear Testing

Probe microphone measures, also called Real Ear Testing, are a series of calibrated tests that allow us to fit your hearing aids with precision. While our computer programs can arrive at a very close approximation of how much your hearing aid should be amplifying, probe microphone measures allow us to measure exactly how your hearing aids are amplifying sounds.

While seated in our test booth, a tiny tube called a probe microphone is inserted in your ear canal close to the eardrum before we insert your hearing aid and turn it on. Calibrated sounds or speech is then played in the test booth through a calibrated speaker. The sound is detected near the eardrum by the probe microphone as it is amplified by your hearing aid, and recorded. We analyze the graphs of these measures to determine if speech is audible and comfortable.

During programming, certain frequencies may be under- or over-boosted by the hearing aid. Probe microphone measures allow the audiologist to see where in the range of amplified sounds that this occurs. We can then make the necessary adjustments to your hearing aids to correct these problems. When the amplified sounds fall within certain levels, we can be assured that speech is audible and comfortable. Real Ear Testing (or Probe Microphone Measures) is an objective means of verifying the accuracy of the settings in your hearing aids.

Live Speech Mapping

Today, audiologists are equipped with new technologies and methods to make the hearing aid programming process more effective.

Live speech mapping is an exciting new method of fitting hearing aids using speech as a stimulus to help the audiologist verify the sound being amplified by the hearing aids while they are in your ears. Live speech mapping can reduce the number of office visits required for successful hearing aid programming.

Live speech mapping is a fitting and verification method that is used to ensure that your hearing aids are programmed for your individual needs. Small microphones placed in the ear canal are used to measure the amount of amplification that is obtained for all speech sounds. 

For your live speech mapping appointment, you will be asked to bring along a family member or close friend to act as the “gauge” in your ability to hear live voices.

Your audiologist will use equipment in the sound treated booth that will let her “see” what you are hearing through your hearing aids on a screen in real-time. The results are also displayed on a wall-mounted screen so that you can also see outcome of the test. This allows both you and your family members to see and understand the difference that hearing aids can make in your hearing ability.

Benefits of Live Speech Mapping

Live speech mapping is known for its accuracy. Live speech mapping increases the chances that your hearing aid settings will be done correctly on the first try.

Live speech mapping also creates a much more positive fitting experience by allowing you and your family see the immediate results of your hearing aids. Both you and your family will be engaged in the fine-tuning process, making it a joint affair.

With a hearing loss, you may not know exactly what speech sounds you cannot hear. With this method, you will be shown exactly what speech sounds you cannot hear without the hearing aids compared to what you can hear with them.

Additional Benefits of Live Speech Mapping:

  • Focuses on the important and basic function of being able to effectively hear human speech
  • Engages both you and your family in the fitting process
  • Provides immediate and tangible results
  • Shown to increase successful outcomes of fittings
  • Increases your confidence and comfort in using your new hearing aids
  • Provides more accurate programming of hearing aids

Live speech mapping is truly a wonderful new technology for audiologists, the hearing-impaired individual, and their families alike.