US Market Report for Real Ear Analyzers 2017 - MedCore
The audiologists can use these measures to evaluate the performance of the hearing aid, allowing them to establish a more accurate fit and to better tailor the function of the hearing aid to the particular hearing loss of the patient. A few of the newer versions of the device use broad-band noise, tone bursts or calibrated speech to fit hearing aids. Many also come with a colored screen enabling audiologists to show their patients the successful fit. In addition some models function as both a real ear analyzer and audiometer in a single unit, and can be controlled from an external computer. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has determined that it is best practice for audiologists to use real ear analysis on every fitting; however, only 69% of audiologists reported owning real ear analyzers in 2011 and only 19% reported using them on a routine basis. Higher post-fit satisfaction of patients fitted with hearing aids with the aid of the real ear analyzers will contribute to higher referral rates and lower hearing aid returns. In addition, audiologists will often feel the need to provide their patients with as complete diagnostics as possible; if other audiologists are using the analyzers, reticent doctors will be compelled to purchase the equipment, contributing to market growth.
Real ear analyzers are pieces of diagnostic equipment designed to provide an audiologist with an objective test of how well a hearing aid performs in the patient’s ear. They are especially important for hearing aid fittings because the shape and size of the individual’s ear canal can significantly influence the performance of the hearing aid. Sound is presented to the test person using a loud speaker and the sound intensity is measured using a microphone. A second microphone measures the sound’s intensity inside the ear canal. They measure the sound pressure level at the patient’s eardrum at given amplification settings of the hearing aid being tested. The sound pressure level recorded at the eardrum is used for evaluating response (the absolute sound pressure at the eardrum) and gain (the sound pressure at the eardrum relative to the input level).