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The Basics Of Hearing Aid Earmolds

Earmolds are custom-fit devices positioned into the ear canal and the outer part of the ear. Earmolds have many different functions. One function is to help people with hearing loss. They connect to behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids in order to send the sound from the hearing aid into the ear. Earmolds are also used to protect ears from loud noises like machinery, gunshots, and concerts. In addition, earmolds are used to protect ears from water. These earmolds are called swimplugs. Finally, earmolds can be used for telecommunications and custom monitors for musicians.

Why Do Earmolds Have Different Shapes And Sizes?

Earmolds are made by hearing care professionals like audiologists and hearing instrument specialists. These professionals make a mold of the ear called an earmold impression. There are several steps involved in making an earmold impression. The first step is otoscopy. The hearing care professional uses a special instrument called an otoscope to look into the ear and make sure there is no earwax or other obstructions that need to be removed prior to making the earmold impression. This also allows the hearing care professional to evaluate the general shape and size of the ear canal. They use this information to choose the correct otoblock, which is the second step of the earmold impression process. An otoblock is a small cotton or foam plug with a string attached to it. The otoblock is inserted deep into the ear canal using a special tool with a light on the end of it. The otoblock ensures that the impression material will not flow too far into the ear canal. The third step is to fill the ear canal with the silicone impression material. This occurs with a syringe or a special impression gun. The ear canal and outer ear are completely filled with the impression material and it takes approximately 2-3 minutes for the material to harden. During this time, the client’s ears will feel very plugged and they won’t be able to hear well, but it is a painless process. When the material is hard, it is removed from the ear and a final otoscopic examination is completed to make sure the ear canal looks healthy and all material has been removed. This earmold impression is then shipped to the earmold manufacturer where it is used to create the requested custom earmold.

What Is An Earmold Made Of?

Earmolds come in several different materials, from soft silicone to hard acrylic. They also come in different styles, from very small canal-style earmolds that fit deeper in the ear canal to larger full-shell earmolds that fill up the bowl of the ear. The chosen style will depend on the degree of hearing loss, the size and shape of the client’s ear, and the particular function of the earmold. Designing custom earmolds can be fun as they come in a large variety of colors that can sometimes be swirled together, or even have glitter added.

The Importance Of A Good Fit: Hearing Aid Molds

People who wear behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids need custom earmolds to send the sound from the hearing aids into their ears. In addition, many people who wear receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids prefer custom earmolds over the standard universal-fit domes. Earmolds are very comfortable and provide an accurate seal with the ear canal so that the amplified sound cannot leak out. This leakage is one cause of feedback, the annoying squealing sound that hearing aids, especially older models, make if they don’t fit correctly.

How Does An Earmold Work?

Noise exposure is one of the leading causes of hearing loss, so it is very important to protect our ears from loud noises. Noise protection ear molds are the best way to do this. They come in several different forms. Solid earplugs can be used for any situation that the user wants to protect their hearing. Alternatively, hunter or shooter ear plugs have special valves in them. These valves close when there is a sudden-impact sound like a gunshot, but they stay open at all other times so that the user can hear sounds around them. Musician earplugs have special filters in them that soften sound evenly so that musicians can still hear the specific tones of music, but at a softer level. There are various levels of filters so people with musician plugs can choose how much sound they want to block out by swapping out the filters but using the same earmolds. Sleep plugs are another style of earmold. These are made of a soft material and fit deep in the canal in order to be comfortable while sleeping. They are wonderful for blocking out the sounds of neighbors, barking dogs, or snoring partners.

Taking Care Of Your Ear Molds

People who are prone to ear infections or who have any kind of middle ear concerns should consider swim plugs. Swim plugs are earmolds that are fabricated for keeping water out of the ear canal during swimming or bathing. They are made a bit bulkier to ensure a good solid seal with the ear and are produced from floatable material which comes in handy if they are dropped in the swimming pool.

Musicians and serious music buffs love custom earmolds for their in-ear monitors and earbuds. And professionals who are on the phone all day long really appreciate custom earmolds for their headsets. Basically any audio device that sends sound into the ear canal can be made more comfortable with a custom earmold.

The hearing care professionals at Columbine Hearing Care work with several manufacturers to make custom earmolds for almost every application, and satisfaction is guaranteed.