Petite or Spock-like, protruding or tucked, flexible or rigid, our ears are as differently shaped and textured as the nose on our faces. Despite being the object of schoolyard ridicule and tell-tale indicators of embarrassment, our ears perform an important function.And for those who wear hearing aids, a custom-fitted emold can clearly bring a big change in listening to the world around them.
The basics of hearing aid earmolds
Parts of a hearing aid that fits inside the ear fall into two basic styles: earmold or dome style.Earmolds are made of either plastic or silicone and custom-fit so that they sit snugly and precisely within the ear canal. They generally have small vents in them to let air through.
Dome styles, which look like small cones, are not customized to a person’s individual ear shape. These are stocked in standard sizes and you are given the size that fits best in your ear canal. They generally have large openings to let in lots of natural sound and ventilation.
Depending on the type and degree of hearing loss, and the anatomy of the ear, the earmold can be canal size (small), half-shell size (medium) or full-shell size (large). The earmould you wear also depends on your personal choice, the shape and texture of your ear, and your specific hearing aids.
Why earmolds for hearing loss?
For people who have high-frequency hearing loss (meaning they have trouble hearing higher-pitched sounds, like children’s voices), dome-style hearing aids are often adequate.
But for people who have difficulty hearing at low frequencies or at all frequencies, earmolds deliver better sound because they fit snugly inside the ear. The snug fit keeps amplified sound from traveling back outside the canal and creating a feedback loop, which is a high-pitched whistling that’s caused as the amplified sound leaks out and gets reamplified. Earmolds are frequently used for people with severe to profound hearing loss.
“Are generally best for hearing loss across the entire speech spectrum.”
“Are generally the best for hearing loss across the entire speech spectrum, ”Tom Kanto, a board-certified hearing aid equipment specialist and owner of Content Hearing Care in Titusville, Fla..
He added that people who are already accustomed to wearing a hearing aid may prefer earmold style, while first-time hearing aid users often opt for hearing aid, as they are more comfortable, have less snag and Change easily, he said.
“Each person is a person, “said the material.” My job is to determine what is best for you. This is a case-by-case basis.”
The importance of a good fit: hearing aid molds
Since ears come in all shapes and sizes, it is important that a hearing healthcare professional is customized earmold to fit the unique shape of your ear. These devices must be sufficiently agile to prevent sound from ejecting and causing a reaction – but not so tight that they cause pain.
The customization process is painless and involves making an impression of your ear canal and outer ear with a soft molding compound, much like the dentist will use to get an impression of your teeth.
Common earmold problems
Even if ear molds are made with an actual impression of your own ear, they may require a slight adjustment. And, since ears change shape and many ears are made of softer material, your hearing care professional will definitely check your earrings on an annual basis to fit correctly.
Some of the common problems earmold users may experience are:
- Your own voice takes power Because earmold blocks the ear canal, users can see their sounds like a malfunctioning voice. This is known as the occlusion effect and can be managed with earmold modification or hearing aid circuit changes.
- Your own voice is also very loud Ear Molds may require larger vents when a hearing aid user complains that their own voice is too loud.
- Feedback or whistling If the vent in the earmold is too large or misplaced, the sound may leak through the feedback. Your hearing health care professional can solve this problem by attaching a small handle called a “canal lock”, which will take place more securely to prevent a reaction.
More: How to troubleshoot common hearing aid problems.
Earmolds for noise exposure
Non-hearing aid users can also use earmoulds. Custom earmolds for sound protection are a great way to protect your hearing from loud sounds at work or play. Some swimmers use special earmoulds designed to keep water out of their ear canals. Hearing care professionals can help you fit in with these types of earmoulds as well.
Taking care of your earmolds
EarSold is an important part of your hearing aid. Wipe it clean each night before you go to bed and let your hearing healthcare professional know if you ever encounter problems or discomfort. If you see any debris in the earmold openings or in the tubing that runs through it, be sure to clean it using the instructions given to you by your hearing care practitioner.
If your hearing has changed or you suspect you may have hearing loss, make an appointment to have your hearing evaluated. Visit our online directory to find a hearing center and to read verified patient reviews on professionals in your community.