Custom molds are an excellent option for any hearing or hearing protection needs. While they are not necessary to be fit with hearing aids for all types of hearing loss, they certainly have many benefits. These include: noise cancellation, retention quality, improved directionality with proper venting, and the fact that no one else will be able to comfortably use them because they are custom to your ears!
Molds are typically recommended for those with severe hearing loss or uniquely shaped ear canals where a one-size fits all rubber dome would not work. There are avid music listeners in our area who have inquired about musicians molds. Molds “hold in” the sound being transmitted from the device keeping low frequency sounds from bleeding out of the ear canal, resulting in more clarity. Molds are also made for musicians that need ear monitors for stage performances. Musician monitors block out crowd noise so that the musician can play the music well. Swimmers also use custom made plugs to keep the water out of their ears.
The process of making the ear impressions is a simple one. It’s a good idea to ask if the patient has had any surgeries, whether they are diabetic, or on and certain medications such as blood thinners. These cases can make the ear canal wall very vulnerable to tearing, and it’s necessary to take caution. We will perform otoscopy (looking inside the ear with an otoscope) to make sure there is no obstruction such as earwax or other foreign objects. We also get an idea of ear canal shape and size. Next, a cotton or foam block, much like a cotton ball, is placed deep inside the canal.
The purpose of this block is to protect the ear drum from the impression material. It tends to tickle a little bit. The material is then shot into the ear with either a syringe or a “gun.”
This part can feel a bit cold. The material then fills the ear all the way out to the pinna, or the outside edges of the ear. It takes roughly 3 to 4 minutes for the material to harden. This is usually the point where significant others amusingly snap phone pics of the patient. Once the material dries, the impression is ready to be taken out of the ear, and voila, are ready to make the mold!
Impression material comes in many colors: pink, blue, green, purple. This does not indicate the color the actual device will be. The impression taken from this process is just like a negative of a photograph. It gives the manufacturer plenty of information about the shape of the ear to create the device necessary.
Call us today to schedule an appointment to make some impressions!