Are Your Hearing Aids Working To Their Potential? The Importance Of Real Ear Measurements

ear measurements brisbane




Are your hearing aids working to their potential?

The Importance of Real Ear Measurements


The goal of a hearing aid fitting is to provide customised sound amplification that compensates for an individual’s hearing loss.  The basis for determining this customised amplification is an individual’s audiogram (hearing test).

For most individuals with hearing loss, the degree of their hearing loss varies across the different frequencies (pitches).  Consequently, a hearing aid needs to be programmed to provide the correct amount of amplification at each individual sound frequency to precisely compensate for the hearing loss.  For example, for age-related hearing loss, hearing will often be worse in the higher frequencies compared to the lower frequencies.  In such cases, a hearing aid would need to be programmed to provide more high frequency amplification.

First Fit

When setting up a hearing aid for the first time, the audiologist will do an initial programming of the hearing aids using the hearing aid manufacturer’s software.  This initial programming is called a “first fit” and uses the individual’s hearing thresholds (audiogram) to determine a predicted target amplification response and the hearing aids a programmed to match this target.

As the name suggests the “first Fit” is just the initial set-up.  To ensure the hearing aid is providing the correct amount of amplification at the individual’s eardrum, there are additional factors other than the individual’s audiogram that also need to be considered.  These factors include the physical characteristics of how the hearing aid is coupled to the individual’s ear (e.g. ear mould), as well as the physical properties of the individual’s ear canal (e.g. shape).


Everybody’s ears are different and both the ear mould and ear canal shape can significantly influence amplified sound.  An accurate hearing aid fitting needs to consider all these factors so that the hearing aid provides the exact amount of amplification at the ear drum.  To do this an audiologist should conduct real ear measurements (also called probe microphone measurements or insertion gain) and fine-tuning.


Real ear measurement and fine-tuning

real ear measurementsFollowing the “first fit”, audiologists should measure the hearing aid’s amplification in the ear canal close to the ear drum.  This involves placing a tube called a probe-tube, deep into the ear canal, approximately 12 mm from the ear drum (tympanic membrane).  This tube is connected to a sensitive microphone and has the role of measuring sound levels near the ear drum.  With the hearing aid inserted and turned on, the audiologist can then make accurate measurements at the eardrum of how much the hearing aid is amplifying sound across the range of frequencies. Based on these real ear measurements, the audiologist can then fine-tune the hearing aid to provide the optimal amplification response to optimise speech clarity and wearing comfort.  Further fine-tuning may also be done based on the individual’s personal sound preferences.

Real ear measurements are an important procedure to ensure that hearing aids are precisely programmed and customised to account for both an individual’s hearing loss and their physical anatomy.   Unfortunately to save time, many hearing clinics do not use real ear measures and simply rely on the “first fit” in the hearing aid manufacturer’s software.   If you are in the process of getting hearing aids make sure you request your audiologist use real ear measurements.

At Sounds of Life Audiology we quite regularly see clients who have purchased hearing aids elsewhere who are unhappy with their performance.  One of the first things we will do is conduct some real ear measurements to see what the hearing aids are doing.  Often these measurements reveal that the hearing aids were not programmed properly for the client.  By simply reprogramming and fine-tuning the hearing aids based on the real ear measurement results we are often able to solve the client’s problems without them having to invest in a new set of hearing aids.

At Sounds of Life we believe in providing hearing aids that are fully customised and optimised for wearers.  We use real ear measurements as a standard procedure for every hearing aid fitting.  It is only by doing this can we be sure we are making the most of the impressive hearing aid technology that is available today.

If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:


    Your Name (required)

    Your Phone Number (required)

    Your Message


    About Sounds of Life

    Sounds of Life Audiology is a leading, independent hearing aid specialist.  We offer transparent and affordable hearing aid pricing on quality hearing aids (including virtually invisible hearing aid technology) from the world’s leading brands.



    Sounds of Life’s Platinum Aftercare Package




    Sounds of Life’s Platinum Aftercare Package



    At Sounds of Life we recognise the importance of good aftercare.  All our hearing aids come standard with our free-of-charge “Platinum after-care package”. The package includes:

      • 36-month product warranty
      • Free annual hearing screening and hearing aid adjustment for three years
      • Free ongoing hearing aid clean and checks
      • Free hearing aid trial prior to purchase


    Why hearing aid aftercare should not be an after-thought 

    If you are a hearing aid wearer, it is likely that your hearing aids are playing a significant role in your daily life helping you to communicate.  Like all things we rely on, it is not only important to look after them, but to be confident that if something does go wrong, you will be immediately supported.  Due to the often-permanent nature of hearing loss, wearers of hearing aids are likely to require them for the rest of their lives and they will become important partners in life.

    Ongoing support and maintenance of hearing aids are important to ensure:hearing aid care

    • They are adjusted and fine-tuned to compensate for changes in hearing. Often hearing deteriorates over time due to natural ageing.
    • They are adjusted and fine-tuned to adapt to changes in needs or circumstances. Often changes to the hearing aids will be required due to changes in lifestyle (e.g. you may have started listening to more music and require a music program in your hearing aid) or health (e.g. you may have an ear infection and require temporarily a different style of ear mould)
    • They are working optimally and reliably. Hearing aids are sensitive electronic devices that operate in quite a hostile environment (ear canal).  They require regular cleaning/care and sometimes repair.

    When purchasing hearing aids, it is important to understand from your audiologist what levels of aftercare service is provided and the cost of this aftercare.  Key things to consider:

    (1) Hearing aid warranty

    The first thing to find out is the manufacturer’s warranty on the hearing aid itself.  At some point of time your hearing aids will require repair and if your hearing aids are out of warranty the costs could be significant.  It goes without saying the longer the manufacturer’s warranty the better.

    (2) Ongoing support and service

    It important to find out what aftercare service is provided and the cost of the service.  Important aftercare services include hearing tests, hearing aid adjustments, clean/check of hearing aids and the provision of consumables (batteries, earmoulds and tips/domes).


    If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

    Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:


      Your Name (required)

      Your Phone Number (required)

      Your Message



      About Sounds of Life

      Sounds of Life Audiology is a leading, independent hearing aid specialist.  We offer transparent and affordable hearing aid pricing on quality hearing aids (including virtually invisible hearing aid technology) from the world’s leading brands.



      Fully-Subsidised Hearing Aids For Pensioners



      Do you know eligible pensioners can access fully-subsidised hearing aids


      pensioners hearing aids brisbaneDid you know that if you are an Australian pensioner and have a hearing loss, you may be eligible for fully-subsidised (no gap) hearing aids under the Commonwealth Hearing Services program?

      Eligible pensioners receive

      FREE hearing assessments

      FREE hearing rehabilitation

      FREE digital hearing aids, or SUBSIDISED advanced digital hearing aids

       Are you eligible?  Ring Sounds of Life on  1300 744 432


      Sounds of Life Special for Pensioners!

      Sounds of Life is offering the very latest Signia digital hearing aids free-of-charge (fully-subsidised) for eligible pensioners.

      Recently released, the new Signia 1 primax is loaded with the latest advanced hearing aid technology and is available free-of-charge for eligible pensioners through the Australian Government’s Office of Hearing Services Program.

      The Signia 1 primax RIC uses breakthrough technology that is able to focus in and single out the person’s voice you are trying to listen to while reducing unwanted voices and background noise. It is invisible to the eyes when worn and has a comfortable fit – you’ll forget you’re even wearing hearing aids.

      Normally only available as a partially-subsidised (top-up) hearing aid, Sounds of Life is offering the Signia Pure 1 primax FREE (fully-subsidised with no gap) for eligible pensioners

      To find out more ring Sounds of Life on  1300 744 432


      The Sounds of Life Difference

      subsidised hearing aids pensioners

      Sounds of Life is a leading independent hearing care provider with four locations across South-East Queensland (Toowong, Caboolture, Clayfield and Fortitude Valley).

      We are accredited to provide hearing aids under the Commonwealth Hearing Services program.  We offer our clients:

      • Access to all leading government-funded hearing aid technologies across all brands
      • The ability to trial both fully-subsidised (free) as well as partially subsidised (top-up) hearing aids
      • Highly personalised service where you will see the same audiologist for every appointment

      Being independent means Sounds of life has access to the best technology, no matter the brand.   We are therefore able to offer you the best available hearing solution for your individual preferences and circumstances.  If your priority is for your hearing aid to be discreet and unobtrusive we have virtually invisible hearing aid options.  If your priority is ensuring you achieve the best possible hearing in challenging situations (e.g. when you are out and about) we have hearing aids with latest directional microphone technology.

      Sounds of Life Audiology is a leading, independent hearing aid specialist with clinics in Brisbane and now in Caboolture.  We offer affordable hearing aid pricing on quality hearing aids (including virtually invisible hearing aid technology) from the world’s leading brands including Siemens, Signia, Phonak, Starkey, Unitron, Resound, Bernafon, Oticon and Sonic Innovations.

      Contact us today on 1300 744 432 

        Your Name (required)

        Your Phone Number (required)

        Your Message

        Five Myths About Hearing Aids

        hearing aid myths


        We answer 5 common myths about hearing aids

        myths about hearing aidsFor many people with significant hearing loss, hearing aids offer tremendous benefits, significantly improving quality of Life.

        Due to a lot of misinformation out there being communicated by unscrupulous hearing clinics pushing hearing aid sales, we at Sounds of Life Audiology Clinic would like to bust some of the myths about hearing aids.



        Myth 1 – You have a hearing loss therefore you need a hearing aid.

        Truth – Not necessarily

        Hearing loss is common as we age.  In fact, it is estimated that 50% of people aged over 60 have hearing loss.  However, having some degree of hearing loss does not necessarily mean you are suitable or that you will benefit from hearing aids.   Unfortunately, some hearing clinics recommend hearing aids to individuals who do not need them.

        If your hearing loss is very mild, it is unlikely that a hearing aid will be beneficial.  As the name suggests a hearing aid is an “aid” and does not fully restore your hearing.   You should consider investigating getting a hearing aid when you are having frequent difficulties hearing conversations.  During a hearing evaluation your audiologist should conduct speech testing which will provide a good indication of the need for hearing aids.

        Some types of hearing loss are caused by medically treatable conditions.   A qualified audiologist can conduct a comprehensive hearing test to identify the cause of your hearing loss. For medically treatable conditions, a further referral to an ENT should take precedence over hearing aid options.


        Myth 2  – Hearing aids will prevent my hearing getting worse.

        Truth – Sadly, no

        Properly fitted hearing aids will not cause a decline in hearing, however they will also not prevent further hearing decline.  It is common as we age for our hearing to slowly get worse.  Unfortunately, some hearing clinics like to push the myth that hearing aids will prevent further hearing loss decline to scare people into purchasing hearing aids before they really need them.  Hearing aids will not prevent your hearing declining however they can be adjusted or fine-tuned to account for current hearing loss levels to ensure the continual stimulation of the auditory pathway to keep your speech discrimination ability intact.

        It is very important for all people, whether normal hearing or hearing-impaired, to protect their hearing in noisy situations to prevent noise-induced hearing loss.   


        Myth 3 – My hearing aids do not improve my hearing; therefore, I need new hearing aids. 

        Truth – Not necessarily

        If your hearing aids are not helping you, the first thing that an audiologist should do is check whether your hearing aids are faulty.   If they are faulty and under five years of age, it is highly likely they can be repaired*.   If your hearing aids are over five years of age, parts and electronic components of the hearing aids may no longer be available for repairs.

        If your hearing aids are not faulty, they may need to be reprogrammed to account for changes in your hearing or your needs.  Most hearing aids are digital with a high degree of programming flexibility.  This means that even if your hearing has deteriorated, there is a good possibility (at least for minor changes in hearing) that your hearing aid could be reprogrammed to account for the decline.

        A professional audiologist can reprogram your hearing aids using real ear measurements (insertion gain) to ensure they are being programmed to provide the exact amount of amplification at the ear drum.

        *most manufacturers in Australia will guarantee availability of repair parts for at least five years from purchase 


        Myth 4 – I need the top-of-the-range hearing aids to be able to hear 

        Truth – Not necessarily

        It is no secret that unfortunately many hearing clinics like to push more profitable high-end and premium hearing aids.  Although this technology can offer significant benefits for wearers with demanding or challenging listening needs, they will not necessarily be value for money for all individuals.

        If you have significant hearing loss, you are likely to gain significant benefit from even entry-level digital technology.  If you live a very quiet lifestyle with basic needs (e.g. you just want a hearing aid for watching television or talking to the family) and you don’t need specific technology (e.g. Bluetooth wireless connectivity), the additional benefit from premium technology may not be worth the expenditure.

        It is certainly worth asking the clinic whether they offer any no-gap high-technology hearing aid options.  Some clinics like Sounds of Life will offer a range of no-gap high-technology options for eligible pensioners and private health members.


        Myth 5 – Your hearing loss cannot be helped.

        Truth – Not necessarily

        In the past, hearing technology was not at the level to address some specific types of hearing loss including unilateral hearing loss (hearing loss in one ear) and very high frequency hearing loss.  Due to modern advances in hearing aid technology there are now solutions for the vast majority of significant hearing loss.  Even if in the past you have been told by your doctor that your hearing loss cannot be helped it is worth getting an updated opinion from a qualified audiologist.


        About Sounds of Life

        Sounds of Life audiology is a member of Audiology Australia and Independent Audiologist Australia. We adhere strictly to Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics.   We pride ourselves on:

        • Being fully independent – We are not owned or operated by a hearing aid manufacturer or large chain.
        • Ethical Practices – We are focused on providing the highest level of care and do not pay commissions.

        We also follow the Australian Government Hearing Services’ protocol for hearing services.


        If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

        Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:


          Your Name (required)

          Your Phone Number (required)

          Your Message