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 FIT—custom-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.
First, DIY (Do It Yourself) https://earmolds.info/earmold-kits
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,
and 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.