In this quick guide, you’ll learn how to use the Probe Placement Indicator in the Affinity Compact software.
Probe tube placement is critical when performing real-ear measurements (REMs), as it serves as your point of reference for all the measurements you’ll perform. To ensure accurate REMs, you need a correct probe tube insertion depth.
REM is the ‘gold standard’ of hearing aid fitting and whilst otoscopy and probe tube markers can help, it can still be challenging to place the probe tube correctly and avoid contact with your client’s ear drum. For this reason, the Affinity Compact software provides you with the option of using the Probe Placement Indicator.
The Probe Placement Indicator is based on machine learning and assists you with probe tube placement. It works by tracking the probe tube insertion depth in real time. The software provides a visible and audible signal when you’ve inserted the probe tube at the correct depth, within 5 mm of the ear drum.
The two main benefits are:
Figure 1: Screenshot of Probe Placement Indicator.
Before starting the procedure, make sure you’ve added the Probe Placement Indicator to your REM test battery. Also, make sure to turn on your PC speaker(s), so you can hear the audible signal.
Perform otoscopy to rule out any contraindications to placing a probe tube.
Select ‘Probe placement’ and press ‘START’. This will present a noise stimulus.
Start inserting the probe tube into your client’s ear. Once the probe tube is within 5 mm of your client’s ear drum, the bar will turn green, and you’ll hear a chime from your PC speaker. Click ‘STOP’ once you’ve achieved the correct probe tube depth.
If you haven’t inserted the probe tube at the correct depth, a message will show that you need to place the probe tube deeper. Continue the measurement by pressing ‘START’.
If you’re measuring binaurally, the right ear will start first. Once you’ve achieved the correct depth in the right ear, you need to press ‘CONTINUE’ to proceed with the left ear. Proceed as per Step 3.
Observe the probe tube placement with an otoscope once complete. The probe tube should be within 5 mm of the ear drum.
Observe where the black marker on the probe tube sits. This should be near the pinna’s intertragal notch. Use the black marker as a reference point if the probe tube moves during later measurements.