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What Are Earmolds and How Do They Work?

hearing aid demonstration inside plastic model ear

When a person is experiencing hearing loss, they may be able to use a hearing aid to support them on their journey. There is a variety of devices that a person may use, including an in-the-ear (ITE), behind-the-ear (BTE) and in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids. Each type of hearing aid has a range of benefits that can help a person with their experience of hearing loss. 

Depending on what type of hearing aid a person is using, there may be an earmold component. Earmolds are also widely used around society, for example, news reports and film crews will use a variety of earmolds. These are custom-fitted molds that sit in or behind the ear and play a role in helping a person hear. 

Whether you are going to get a hearing aid or know someone who is, it can be helpful to understand more about earmolds and how they work. To help you get started, here is some of the most important information you need to know.

What Are Earmolds?

Earmolds are custom fitted to the individual and will support them with their hearing needs. This can be to help them hear by amplifying sound or they can be used to protect an individual from the sound. 

Earmolds are customized to the individual, as everyone has uniquely shaped ears. An earmold is likely to be worn all day and every day to aid in hearing, which means it needs to be comfortable. It will be specially made to fit in the ear canal, or the concha and easily attach to the hearing aid.

They are usually made with silicone or plastic and designed to fit snugly within a person's ear canal. The earmold can come in a variety of sizes, from a full-shell size for a larger ear canal, a half-shell size for a medium-sized ear canal and a small canal size. Other factors that will impact the type of earmold a person gets are the texture of their ear, the shape of the canal, how securely it can fit in the ear and any personal needs and preferences that need to be considered to support the hearing loss a person is experiencing. 

How Do Earmolds Work?

Earmolds are personalized to meet the individual's needs. They sit snugly in the ear so that the hole in the earmold lines up with a person's ear canal. The earmold will channel the sound from the attached hearing aid, through to the person’s ear from these holes. The earmold also creates a seal that stops any feedback or loss of sound and has a vent that improves sound quality, especially the sound of a person’s voice. 

An audiologist will be able to provide a person who is experiencing hearing loss, with tailored advice and knowledge to choose the correct hearing aid and accompanying earmold. They will take an impression of the ear and ear canal, which is quick and painless so that it can be sent off to the factory. When the earmold has been created, the audiologist will spend time with you to ensure it fits as it should and show you how to use it and care for it. 

It is vital that earmolds are kept clean, in order to work properly and reduce the risk of infection. An infection would increase the risk of a person’s hearing getting worse. Therefore, it is important that an earmold is cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis. This can be done through a variety of steps that will be advised by the audiologist the individual is working with. For example, the earmold should be removed and wiped down with paper towels and cleaning brushes. It should then be cleaned thoroughly with a non-alcohol-based solution or surface wipe.

They should be cared for in the proper way every day and should be stored in a plastic, washable container. Daily cleaning of the earmold is vital to ensure it works properly, and sound is channeled through the earmold as clearly as possible. It will also ensure it is comfortable and lasts a long time. 

Earmolds are complex components that need to be customized, created and fitted by an audiologist. They will be able to ensure the right hearing aid and earmold are recommended and provide a person experiencing hearing loss with ongoing support and advice. Hearing & Balance Specialists of Illinois provide a trustworthy and reputable hearing and diagnosis service. 

To learn more about Hearing & Balance Specialists of Illinois, contact us today at 775-336-0211.