Different earmoulds can meet different needs. Hearing aids are paired with specific earmoulds to transmit the amplified sound to the ear canals and the eardrums. People with recurrent ear inflammation can use the swimming earmould to prevent water from entering the ear. People often stay in noisy environments can use earplugs to protect their hearing.
To achieve the best fitting outcomes, earmoulds have to be tailor-made. The audiologist will first take the ear impression, and then the technician will make the earmould according to the impression.
During impression taking, the hearing care professional first puts a piece of sponge or cotton dam into the ear canal, and then squeezes the impression materials into the canal with the use of syringe. After the impression material is hardened, it can then be taken out.
The hard earmould is made of acrylic; while the soft earmould is made of silicone. It can be cleaned with disinfectant alcohol or soapy water (note that the earmould must be separated from the hearing aid before cleaning). With proper storage and maintenance, earmoulds can be used for about three years or more.
The tailor-made earmould can effectively seal the ear canal, prevent the unclean water from entering the ear during shampooing and swimming, and thus reduce the chance of ear infection.
Typical used by the people who have:
- eardrum perforation
- in-situ grommet in the eardrum for removal of the middle ear fluid
- the ear canal being prone to inflammation especially when it has eczema or excessive earwax but they still want to go swimming
Depending on the tightness and the material of the earmould and the frequency of the external noise, in general, the soundproof earplug can attenuate external sounds. If the sleeping environment is noisy, the earplugs can provide you with a quieter environment to fall asleep.
Typically used by the people who:
- want to reduce the nuisance of external sounds while sleeping or studying
Long-term exposure to the sound greater than 85 decibels poses a threat to hearing, and instrumental sounds, singing voices, etc. are of no exception. Musician earplugs can effectively reduce the sound levels of the instrumental sounds/amplified voices going into the ears, while preserving these sounds as natural as possible, allowing you to protect your hearing and continue to enjoy music or concerts.
Typically used by the people who are:
- professional instrument players
- attending concerts frequently
- engaged in audio related work
Hard acrylic earmould (for hearing aids)
Generally, adult hearing aid users prefer using hard acrylic earmoulds. Hard acrylics earmoulds are generally durable and easy to remove. Mini Receiver-In -the-Ear (m-RITE) hearing aids are fit with micro-earmoulds which are trendy, smaller and lighter; while behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are fit with traditional larger earmoulds.
Soft silicon earmould (for hearing aids)
The soft silicon earmould provides tighter acoustic seal than the hard acrylic earmould, so it can lower the chance of sound leakage from the hearing aid, avoid the buzzing feedback when using the hearing aid, and is more suitable for people using powerful hearing aids (i.e., severe to profound hearing loss). However, due to the tightness of the silicon material, it may be difficult for the new hearing aid user to wear the earmould. In general, they can learn how to put in and take out the earmould properly after they gain the experience.
In addition, because of the soft nature of the material, in case the earmould is broken, the soft silicon earmould would be safer to use than the hard acrylic earmould. Therefore, active children are recommended to use soft silicon earmoulds to reduce the chance of getting injured in case the earmould is broken.
For the following people who:
- suffer from severe to profound hearing loss
- are infant/young children
Disposable Earpiece (Dome) (for hearing aids)
The domes range from open, single and double layers, and are available in different sizes.
For people only with high frequency hearing loss, hearing aid fitting using traditional earmould may cause echoes when they speak due to good low frequency hearing. Dome fitting , on the one hand, can transmit the high-frequency sounds from the hearing aid to the ear canal, and the holes can also allow the low frequency component of own voice to escape, so that the hearing aid user could enjoy a much more natural soundscape comparing to the use of traditional earmoulds.
In addition, since dome fitting does not require ear impression taking, the hearing aid can be instantly fit. That is, client does not need to wait for the production of the earmould nor the custom-made hearing aid. However, dome fitting is not tailor-made and its acoustic effect may not be as good as using custom-made earmould or shell.
Only for m-RITE hearing aids, often used for people who:
- have good low frequency hearing and poor high frequency hearing
- need instant fitting after the hearing aid trial session