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What Are Earmolds, and How Do They Work?
Whether you have recently been diagnosed with experiencing hearing loss or looking to invest in a more modern type of hearing aid device, understanding the different parts of hearing aids is vital. Given their importance for both functionality and comfort, familiarizing yourself with earmolds should be a priority.
What is an Earmold?
Earmolds are custom-made component that is placed in the outer ear and resembles a small plug that covers the wearer’s ear canal. They most commonly fall into one of two categories:
- Soft earmolds that are made from a silicone material that is designed to be safe on the skin.
- Hard earmolds that are made from a durable plastic material that also boasts skin-safe attributes.
Earmolds are actively used with a range of products for a variety of different situations. This includes media broadcast workers, race car drivers, construction workers, farmers, pilots and runway workers. However, the most common earmolds are those used with hearing aid devices.
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids often feature an earmold that is inserted into the outer ear. The earmold itself does not require a power source or any controls. It is simply a component that is used to help transmit and amplify the right sounds while simultaneously protecting the ears from noisy environments.
Hearing aid earmolds usually contain the following features:
- Shaped plastic or silicon that inserts into the ear.
- A sound outlet in the earmold.
- Tubing to connect the earmold to the BTE device.
- A vent for enhanced sound.
How is an Earmold Made?
For an earmold to perform as it should, it must be personalized to perfectly fit your ear canal. Therefore, an appointment with your hearing instrument specialist will be required to get this right. The process is completed by the following steps:
- An otoscope is used to inspect your ear canal.
- Earwax and other debris will be gently flushed out with an irrigation syringe.
- An otoblock is inserted into the ear to form a plug that protects your inner ear.
- A specialized liquid is put into the ears and then removed to harden.
- The resulting impression is sent to the lab.
- Experts at the lab manufacture the customized earmold.
- It is sent to the hearing instrument specialist and incorporated into your hearing aids.
When worn, the personalized earmold should fit snugly in the ear without any threat of becoming dislodged. It should be inserted at a slight angle and then straightened to achieve the desired results.
How Do Earmolds Work?
Earmolds serve the purpose of transmitting and amplifying sounds without being impacted by outside noise interference. Once inserted into the ear, the earmolds create a seal around the ear canal which prevents damaging noise levels entering the ear. Moreover, it stops the threat of whirring noises, pressure changes and tinnitus-like symptoms caused by feedback.
The connection between the earmold and the main housing of the BTE hearing aid facilitates sound travel and amplification. The steps involved are:
- Sounds are picked up by the microphone of the hearing aids.
- The hearing aids simultaneously cancel out unwanted noise.
- Sounds travel through the device’s rubber tubing into the ear to the earmold.
- The seal stops any other sounds from entering the ear.
The small hole helps with maintaining the right air pressure while the earmolds can safely be removed once you’ve finished using the hearing aids. The earmolds should then be cleaned and disinfected to help avoid ear infections and wax buildups.
Why Wear Earmolds?
Earmolds are not necessary for all hearing aids. In-the-canal (ITC) models, for example, sit in the ear. However, there are many reasons to choose BTE hearing aids with earmolds, such as:
- They help combat feedback and external interference.
- Users can control BTE devices with greater ease.
- The earmolds are built to last and fully customized to you.
- The earmolds held deliver clear and consistent performances.
When they are treated with care, they offer great value in your daily life.
Book Your Hearing Aids Fitting Appointment
The majority of people who could benefit from hearing aids do not wear them, but hearing aids with a comfortable and customized earmold will produce the best results in terms of function and style.
To learn more or book an appointment with your hearing instrument specialist and call Beck Hearing Aid Centre at (888) 618-3778 today.