Everybody’s ears are unique, which means the promise of “one size fits all” doesn’t really apply when it comes to hearing devices.
Whether you are investing in earplugs, ear buds or hearing aids, you’ll want a comfortable yet secure fit to ensure the best protection (or maximum hearing performance). The solution? Custom earmolds designed to fit the unique contours of your ears.
The Benefits of Custom Earmolds
Earmolds are soft materials, typically plastic or acrylic, that are worn inside the ear canal or the concha of the ear. They are an essential part of most hearing aids. Because ears vary in shape and size from person to person, earmolds designed to match your ear anatomy provide the best fit.
Custom earmolds are made from impressions taken of your ear canals and outer ears with a silicone substance. These are sent to an outside lab, where molds are created. They are then used to make custom devices for a number of activities and professions: stethoscopes for doctors and nurses, headphones for pilots, earpieces for newscasters and earplugs for swimmers, musicians, race car drivers, hunters and pilots. They can benefit anybody who is exposed to loud sounds, or those who enjoy listening to music over portable MP3 players.
Types of Custom Earmolds
Custom earmolds are designed in a number of styles. These include:
- Dome earmolds. These soft earmolds are designed for use with BTE hearing aids.
- Canal earmolds. These are worn deep in the ear canals, and usually paired with ITC hearing aids.
- Full-shell earmolds. This style fills up most of the ear canal, and helps prevent feedback. Especially useful for patients with moderate to severe hearing loss.
- Skeleton earmolds. These also fill up most of the ear, but are “hollowed out” in the center for improved comfort and cosmetic appeal. A strip of material secures them in place inside the concha for a tight but comfortable seal. Ideal for individuals with mild to severe hearing loss.
- Semi-skeleton earmolds. Similar to skeleton earmolds but lacking the back ring, making them easier to handle for people with manual dexterity issues.
- Half-shell earmolds. Similar to full-shell earmolds but made with a bottom half only to fit in the concha of the ear. This style is designed for patients with mild forms of hearing loss.