Many dispensing professionals have found that it is very practical to use the live speech of your patient’s spouse or family member when performing real ear measurements. You can do this very easily and quickly if you have the Composite signal and the Real-Ear Option on any of the Frye hearing aid analyzers. Here’s how:
1. Put your thresholds, uncomfortable levels, and target up on the real ear SPL screen (Figure 1).
2. Choose the Composite signal—turn on the noise reduction of the aid, if available.
3. Turn the amplitude of the analyzer to “off.” This puts you in a Spectrum mode and turns any noise or signal in the fitting room into a test signal.
4. Ask the family member of the patient to speak (Figure 2), and watch the display of the analyzer as the frequency response changes with the modulation of his/her voice. This demonstrates to your patient and the family member how well or poorly the hearing aid is amplifying speech. If the family member has a weak voice, it can be an especially effective tool in helping him/her realize how close she needs to be for her voice to exceed the patient’s threshold levels.
5. Have the speaker get close to the client and then move farther away. Ask for a shout to show how the aid reacts to loud sound. Directionality can be tested by having the speaker talk from different angles or by turning the client around in a swivel chair. The dispenser can use his/her own voice as well in this demonstration.
This technique is quick and easy, and it can be a great way to demonstrate the effectiveness of the hearing aid to your patient and his/her family members.