What are Ear Molds for hearing aids?

Permanent comfortable OPEN FIT canal ear mold

 What are Ear Molds for hearing aids?

When a hearing loss patient selects a hearing aid style—such as BTE (Behind The Ear) hearing aids, RIC, CIC, or OPEN FITcustom-fit earmolds (Ear Molds) are often needed to ensure the best performance, staying in the ear, keeping out noise and giving comfort, especially in noisy situations.

An open tube/tip doesn’t keep the noise out, but an ear mold can. An ear mold is a piece of plastic, acrylic, silicone rubber or other material shaped to fit a patient’s ear canal, and/or the outer ear structure (concha) surrounding the ear canal.

Ear mold styles vary according to level of hearing loss, and the style of hearing aid with which they’re paired. In many cases, ear molds sit inside the ear canal, hidden from view. Other times, lab ear molds sit in the concha bowl as well as in the ear canal.If you require a custom ear mold, your hearing care professional will take an impression of your ear canal and outer ear using a quick-setting plastic or silicone-like substance. The ear impression is sent to a specialty lab where it’s turned into a replica of your ear shape.

A good Custom Ear mold can greatly enhance your listening experience. Custom Ear molds are used with Behind-The-Ear hearing aids and Body worn hearing Aids. They are the solution for many common hearing aid problems.

THERE ARE 2 WAYS TO MAKE A CUSTOM EAR  MOLD FOR YOUR HEARING AID.

  1. First: DIY (Do It Yourself)  that you will find on this site.
  2. 2nd, have your hearing aid provider make an impression of your ear and send it to a remote ear mold lab. In order to have a custom earmold made by your Dealer/ provider, Specialist or Audiologist, they need to have impressions of  your ear. Making impressions of your ears takes about 15 – 20 minutes.

A Custom Earmold will:

  • 1) reduce the possibility of feedback since a form-fitting Custom Earmold provides a better airtight seal in the ear vs. a generic ear piece dome/tip, (the ‘mushroom’ insert),
  • 2) keep the hearing aid more secure in the ear since it will take advantage of all the curves and contours of the user’s ear to lock it all in place,
  •  3) help reduce the occlusion effect. Occlusion is where a person’s ears feel ‘stuffy.’ People describe occlusion as if they are talking in a barrel, an echo effect, or similar to having water in their ears. It’s the same effect you have when you talk if your ears are all plugged up.The occlusion effect is reduced by having the custom earmold vented (or loose fitting). A ‘breathing hole’ or ‘channel’ is usually drilled through the canal portion. This allows the chamber that’s created between the end tip of the earmold and a person’s eardrum to ‘breathe’.  Sometimes too much of the volume of the hearing aid escapes through the vent hole causing the aid to feedback/whistle/ squeal. So you can include a series of small vent plugs (they look like tiny little bushings and have different sized inner diameter holes in them) or simply remove a channel along one side or along the bottom, but at the same time restricts the outward flow of air volume to a reduced point so the aid does not feedback. Sometimes the answer is to plug the hole with lambs wool, to act as a filter.

New Custom factory Lab Ear molds have the plastic tubing already installed in it (for BTE, Behind-The-Ear aids). The plastic tubing is what attaches to the aid by slipping it over the ear-hook end (‘elbow’) of the BTE instrument. This plastic tubing should be replaced at least once a year. It is specially molded for hearing aid and Custom Ear mold uses. If you try to use straight tubing, it will crimp as it makes a right angle into the Custom Ear mold and can prevent sound from passing through.

The HCPB  DIY (Do It Yourself) Ear Mold Soft  Silicones are for BTE, OPEN FIT, RIC Hearing Aids and Electronic Ear plugs …

The HCPB Instant-Mold, Soft Silicone rubber putty allows the consumer to fit and finish professional looking, custom earmolds, directly in the  home, in only 10 minutes.

The Antidote for Acoustic Feedback

Instant-FIT custom earmolds are molded to reproduce every contour of the ear to finest detail for “The Only True Custom Fit.” In addition, Instant-Mold’s flexible qualities enable the earmold to move simultaneously with configuration changes in the ear canal caused by jaw movement.

Instant-Mold Silicone rubber give you total control

The Instant-Mold Silicones gives you control over every aspect of the custom earmold. You can decide every detail of your  earmold. You determine the canal length of the earmold, whether you want a full shell, half shell, or a canal mold, venting, modifying. https://earmolds.info/?tve=true

When To Use Instant-DIY  Earmolds

  • Testing hearing aids– You can immediately test at home with your hearing aid and a custom earmold.
  • With HCPB Instant DIY earmolds, the impression becomes the final product, guaranteeing a proper fit every time.
  • Getting quality sound amplification from a hearing aid depends on a tight fit between the hearing aid and ear canal, but the current method of impressions of patients’ ears is messy and not always accurate, potentially leading to a device that fits poorly and offers little benefit. “A lot of people with hearing aids are likely walking around with hearing aids that don’t fit well.

Available quantity DIY hearing aid earmolds in 2 size choices:                      4 Earmolds kit (economy price) or   24 Earmolds kit for lowest cost per earmold (bulk) extra material for remakes to practice for the best result.

       3 HEARING AID TYPES

BTE – 4 EARMOLD KIT  + 1 TUBE ,          Behind Ear   ”              2 TUBE KIT                       ”         – 24 EARMOLD KIT

   RIC  Hearing aids-                                                                                                                          4 EARMOLD KIT                                 (Receiver In Canal) 24 EARMOLDS 

    OPEN FIT  Hearing aids                                                                                         –                 – 4 EARMOLD KIT                                           – 24 EARMOLD KIT

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Modifying earpieces,  HCPB earmolds can be easily modified with a finger nail file,  https://earmolds.info/?tve=true   … unlike the lab silicone molds.  MachinesThere will be occasions when you will have to modify the canal or concha portions of an earmold. The equipment that you use varies. Prior to modern “real-time” digital feedback management protocols, the non-negotiable laws of physics required physical separation of the hearing aid’s microphone and receiver to reduce/avoid acoustic feedback. Previously, if  acoustic energy exiting the receiver found its way to the microphone, an acoustic feedback loop occurred, creating the familiar whistling noise which patients and professionals find highly objectionable. Closing off the ear canal to physically block the flow of sound from the receiver to the microphone became an acceptable and standard operating procedure.When air is trapped in the external auditory canal (EAC), the warm, moist, dark environment quickly becomes a breeding ground for fungal and bacteria-based microbes. Closing off the ear canal also interrupts the normal function and flow of cerumen, potentially initiating cerumen occlusion and impaction. As audiologists know that closing off the ear canal also can create the “occlusion effect,” which is the single most annoying side effect experienced by some  wearers. Nonetheless, until 2001, closing off the ear canal was often the only option for the majority of hearing aid fittings.

Candidacy for Open Ear Fittings:Occlusion is most likely to be experienced by those with normal or mild hearing loss in the low frequencies. As hearing loss progresses past approximately 40 dB HL in the low frequencies (250 and 500 Hz), amplified sound from the hearing aid is usually sufficient to overcome the perception of occlusion (Dillon, 2001). Nonetheless, open fittings are not only desirable for those with good hearing in the low frequencies. Rather, open ear hearing aid fittings are beneficial for all people requiring hearing aid amplification.

The common problem is with an open fitting the background noise is admitted to the ear unless an earmold is fitted that provides some venting. Previously, as hearing loss increased, hearing aid gain increased. As gain increased, tighter fitting earmolds and hearing aids were required to avoid acoustic feedback. Sealed ear canals, the occlusion effect and tight-fitting hearing instruments were previously assumed to be a standard part of the hearing aid experience. However, with modern DSP based highly effective feedback cancellation algorithms, the hearing aid experience has changed.

Open Ear Acoustics: Technical Pre-requisites:Two DSP-based pre-requisites are required to achieve non-occluding open ear hearing aid fittings. These are: An effective feedback cancellation algorithm, and a fast “throughput” time (“throughput time” is the time difference between when a sound enters and exits the hearing aid).

Cancellation Algorithms: Feedback cancellation via digital architecture was eagerly anticipated well before these circuits were commercially viable. In 2001, digital feedback cancellation algorithms and management were able to nearly instantly cancel acoustic feedback without sound quality degradation.

An earmold (ear mold, British ear mould, or earmould) is a device worn inserted into the ear for sound conduction or ear protection. Earmolds can be produced in different sizes for general use or specially cast from particular ear forms. Some users specify how hard or soft they want their mold to be, and can also suggest this. As a conductor, it improves sound transmission to eardrums. This is an essential feature to diminish feedback paths and assure better intelligibility in noisy-environment communication. The main goal in wearing earmolds is to attain better user comfort and efficiency. Earmold tubes) often turn yellow and stiff with age, and thus need replacement on a regular basis.   More information: CLICK HERE