What Are Earmolds, and How Do They Work?

hearing aid demonstration inside clear plastic model ear

When it comes to treating hearing aids, there are various types of devices, some of which might be more effective or suitable for you. This can depend on things like the level of hearing noise you are experiencing, as well as personal comfort and convenience factors, such as whether or not you’re happy with devices that require some manual dexterity to use.

Amongst those devices, you will find some designed to fit either partially or inside the ear. Because ears come in all different shapes and sizes, you need to make sure that you have something to anchor the hearing aid to your ear. To that end, earmolds are used. Made of either special curable plastic or more flexible silicone, earmolds have to be custom-made to ensure that they fit your ear properly. Your audiologist can help you with all of this.

Here, we’re going to look at the details of how earmolds work, how they are made and why they’re so important for certain types of hearing aids.

How Earmolds Work

As mentioned, earmolds are a custom-made component of any hearing aid that rests in the ear. They are designed to match the shape of the ear so that they rest in place perfectly. Soft earmolds, made of silicone and vinyl, work much the same as hard earmolds, made of Lucite and acrylic. The main difference is the preference for sensation, as some people don’t like having a hard device in their ears. However, some people have soft external ear tissue that might not find soft earmolds comfortable.

The earmolds consist of the shaped portion that fits in the ear, a small hole in it where the sound travels through, tubing to connect it to your hearing aid and sometimes, a vent to enhance sound quality your audiologist can help show you how to insert your earmold properly and care for it by cleaning it on a nightly basis.

How Earmolds Are Made

Earmolds are made using an impression of your ear, created by your audiologist. They pour a specialized liquid into the ears, which hardens or cures, and then create a cast from that impression. The earmold is made within the cast itself.

Before this happens, of course, the audiologist will take care to make sure that the process goes smoothly. This includes using an otoscope, a non-invasive device to help them see inside the ear, to make sure that it’s healthy and clean. If there is any earwax or debris, it might have to be cleaned out. An otoblock is placed inside the ear to make sure none of the liquid they use to make the impression gets into the inner ear.

Why Having Custom Earmolds Made Is Important

It is possible that you might have had an earmold made in the past, but it wasn’t well made and, as such, doesn’t fit your ears properly. In other cases, you might have bought a hearing aid with a more standard use fitting that, again, doesn’t fit your ears. If this is the case, it can lead to some problems.

These problems can include that the hearing aid slips out of place. This can be very costly as if the hearing aid falls out and hits a hard surface, it can cause real damage that has to be repaired. The hearing aid might also become a lot less effective, leading to problems with the volume of your hearing aid, as well as feedback issues. If the sound gets to the ear and where the device fits in the ear, the microphone can pick up on the sounds from the receiver, causing an amplification loop that leads to a high-pitched whistling noise, most commonly known as feedback.

Lastly, you might experience some pain or tenderness where the hearing aid is placed if it doesn’t fit your ear properly. This is why it’s vital to make sure that you have an audiologist who is trained to make and help fit hearing aids with earmolds.

You’re Going to Need the Help of Your Audiologist

Creating and fitting an earmold is a painless and relatively simple process for the patient. However, it does require the specific skills of an audiologist. If you want to make sure that you can get the best hearing aids suited to your needs, get in touch with Albuquerque Hearing and Balance at (505) 750-9569. We can help you choose the right device for you and go through the process of making earmolds for you.