Different kinds of earmolds can satisfy various needs of the ears. Hearing-aid users require earmolds to listen to the sound from hearing aids. Those vulnerable to ear infections can use swimming molds to prevent water entry into ears. People who often stay in environment with high noise level can use noise plugs to protect hearing.
Hard molds are made of acrylic while soft molds are made of silicone. Both of them can be cleaned by antiseptic alcohol or soap water. Please note that the earmolds need to be detached from hearing aids before cleaning. With proper storage and maintenance, in average, earmolds can be used for 3 years or longer.
To achieve the maximum benefits, most of the earmolds are custom-made. Audiologists will first take impressions for your ears. Technicians will then make earmolds according to the impressions.
During ear impression taking, audiologists will first put a piece of foam into the ear canals. Then they will fill the ear with impression materials by syringes. The impression can be taken out after it is hardened.
- Swimming molds
- Ear plugs
- Musician earplugs
- Hard molds (Applicable to hearing aids)
- Soft molds (Applicable to hearing aids)
- Instant ear domes (Applicable to hearing aids)
Applicable to people with the below conditions:
- Perforated eardrums
- With grommets placed on the eardrum to remove middle ear effusion
- Swimmer’s ears (otitis externa), especially those with eczema on ear canals or excessive ear wax
Custom-made earmolds can seal the ear canals and prevent water entry into the ears during swimming or even head washing. It can minimize the risk of ear infection by micro-organisms in the water.
Applicable to people with the below conditions:
- Often work in places with high noise level
- Desire to be isolated from external noise, for example, during sleeping or revision
Depending on the fit of the earmold and frequency of the external sound, ear plugs can reduce external noise by around 20 dB in general. For people who are often in places with high noise level, earplugs can reduce external sound effectively to protect your hearing. If the sleeping environment is relatively noisy, ear plugs can create a quieter environment for your sleep.
Applicable to the below parties:
- Music instrument players
- Singers / Vocalists
- Those who often attend concerts
- Those working in the industry of audio equipment
- Those working in places with high noise level yet having the need to hear human speech clearly
Long-term exposure to any noise >85 dB will pose threat to the hearing. Music is not an exception. Musician earplugs can reduce the level of sound from musical instruments or singers and at the same time, preserve different sounds precisely. It can protect your hearing and allows you to continue to appreciate music.
Some people who work in high noise level still need to hear human speech clearly during work. Musician earplug can satisfy the needs of hearing protection and clear conversations simultaneously.
Most adult hearing-aid users use hard molds. Micro-molds are used with mini-receiver-in-the-ear hearing aids while larger earmolds are used with bigger behind-the-ear hearing aids. Hard molds are generally durable and easy to be worn or removed.
Applicable to the below hearing aid users:
- Those with profound hearing loss
Soft molds provide better fit to the ears, and thus, it can prevent leakage of sound of the hearing aids. This is important to reduce feedback sound from the hearing aids. Therefore, soft molds are applicable to users who require high gain from the hearing aids, ie those with profound hearing loss. However, as the material is relatively adhesive to skin, it might be difficult to be worn or removed in the beginning. With time, this problem will be solved.
As materials are soft, soft molds are safer than hard molds when the earmolds are broken. Therefore, active children usually use soft molds in the hope of reducing chances of injury when the earmolds are damaged.
Only applicable to mini-receiver-in-the-ear hearing aids. Used in people with the below conditions:
- Those with good low-frequency hearing and poorer high-frequency hearing
- Those who pick up the hearing aids immediately after trial
Instant ear domes can be classified into open domes, single bass domes and double bass domes. It comes in different sizes.
For people with high-frequency hearing loss only, they may experience occlusion when they speak if using earmolds. Thus, they need some ear domes that can help leakage of own sound out of the ear canals to minimize occlusion. Open domes can relay the high-frequency sound from the hearing aids into the ears. At the same time, the vents on the domes can facilitate leakage of own voice out of the ears. It allows hearing aid users to have natural hearing even when they speak.
In addition, as ear impression is not required for instant ear domes, it can allow immediate use of hearing aids without waiting for custom-made earmolds. Nevertheless, instant ear domes do not completely fit the shape of your unique ear canal. The sound quality from ear domes might not be as good as the sound from custom-made earmolds.