Custom Ear Molds

The basics of hearing aid ear molds

The part of a hearing aid that goes inside the ears comes in two styles - EARMOLD or DOME style. In this article, we will be talking about the basics of ear molds.

Custom ear molds are made to sit snugly and precisely in the ear canal. Generally, they have small vents that allow air to pass through.

On the other hand, dome styles (that look like small cones) are not customized to fit an individual’s unique ear shape. Unlike ear molds that can be easily customized, dome styles are stocked in standard sizes and a patient is given the best size that fits the ear canal.

Now, do you see the difference of ear molds and dome styles? If you’re all in for optimum comfort and customization, ear molds are the best option.

Answers to Your Questions about Ear Molds

Why earmolds for hearing loss? 

Ear molds are components of the hearing aid system that are designed to fit directly in the ear canal. This part of the hearing aid may not offer ACTUAL technology, but it still plays a big role.

Ear molds are usually made of silicone or vinyl that is custom-made for the ear. For kids, a soft material (silicone) is recommended for comfort. Most of the time, kids’ ears get jostled and bumped a lot so a soft material for ear molds is really necessary.

What is an earmold made of?

Ear molds are primarily made of either plastic, acrylic or silicone.

What’s the difference between silicone and vinyl ear molds?

Both materials can work well, but of course there are differences.

Vinyl ear molds:
Pros - flexible, easier to put into small ears
Cons -  don't come in many colors and may shrink or discolor over time.

Silicone ear molds: 
Pros - more color options
Cons - harder to put into ears, may stick to skin 

There are different styles of ear molds available and an audiologist will present the best option based on a patient’s ear shape and hearing needs. If you are in the Rochester NY area, Ontario Hearing Centers offer ear molds fitting and other hearing services.

Why do earmolds have different shapes and sizes?

Ear molds, which look and feel like a plug, come in different shapes and sizes because the human ear also comes in different shapes and sizes.

For children, custom-made, full shell earmolds are recommended. There are also colorful ear molds available to make it more attractive and enticing for children. To make the experience more fun and empowering for a child, let them choose their own colors during fitting. This makes them more excited and dedicated to wear their hearing aids - with pride and ownership.

How does an earmold work?

When it comes to hearing aids, ear molds seal the ear canal from external noise and facilitate channeling sound to the device.

When used for hearing protection, ear molds seal out damaging noise at high decibel levels. Hard ear molds are made of acrylic or lucite while soft ear molds are made of silicone or vinyl.

What’s the best ear mold for me?

Choosing the best ear molds for you will depend on the following factors:
      •   type and degree of hearing loss
      •   anatomy of the ears

Sizes of ear molds
Small - canal size
Medium - half-shell size
Large - full-shell size

Ideally, your audiologist will help you choose the type of ear molds based on your personal preference, texture and shape of your ear, and the type of hearing aid that you are or will be using. Our friendly and reliable audiologists at Ontario Hearing Centers can help you choose the best ear molds for optimum hearing.  

Why use ear molds for hearing loss?

People with high-frequency hearing loss have trouble hearing high-pitched sounds, such as ladies or children’s voices. In most cases, dome-style hearing aids are appropriate for this type of hearing loss.

However, for people who have problems hearing at low frequencies OR across all frequencies, ear molds are recommended because they deliver better sound and can fit snugly in the ear canal.

Ear molds need a snug fit to keep the amplified sounds from traveling back outside of the ear canal that creates a feedback loop. When there is a high-pitched whistling sound that causes amplified sound to leak out, that is called a feedback loop. In short, ear molds prevent hearing aid wearers from experiencing feedback loops.

People with severe to profound hearing loss will GREATLY BENEFIT from ear molds.

For hearing loss across the entire speech spectrum, ear molds WORK. For people who have already been wearing hearing aids for quite some time, they can easily adjust to ear molds.

On the other hand, first-time users of hearing aids may prefer dome styles because it offers less occlusion and can be easily changed. Either way, an audiologist can comprehensively present the pros and cons of each style so that a user can fully enjoy the hearing devices.

What happens during an ear mold fitting?

If this is your first time to get ear molds, you may be wondering about HOW it’s done. Well, if you’re a scaredy cat or quite wary with invasive procedures, fear not because fitting ear molds is far from being invasive.

The customization process for ear molds is PAINLESS and simply involves an audiologist or hearing healthcare professional making an impression of your outer ear and ear canal with a soft moulding compound. The process is pretty much similar to how a dentist takes a teeth impression.

Ready to get ear molds? Call or visit Ontario Hearing Centers - we have offices at Brighton or Gates, whichever is nearest or more convenient to you. 

Ear Molds and the Importance of a Good Fit

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