What is earmold
Ear tips for hearing aids
Some hearing aids have to be worn with an earmold. An earmold, also known as an otoplastic, is always made individually for you. One of the first steps in making such earmolds is to take impressions of the patient's ear canals. Each ear canal is unique, just like there are no two identical fingerprints or ear cups.
In the so-called ear impression, a kind of wax is filled into the ear canal, which is completely removed after a few minutes. This process doesn't hurt, but it can feel a bit strange, like filling your ears with water. The impression is then used to make the correct eartip. It usually takes a few days or weeks to make such an earmold.
In-the-ear hearing aids
The housing of an in-the-ear hearing aid is actually an earmold that must fit snugly into your ear canal. If you choose an in-the-ear hearing aid, an impression must be taken of your ear canal. In other words, the device must be adapted to the individual shape of your ear, as only a tailor-made earmold fits properly and comfortably.
Behind-the-ear hearing aids
In some cases, an earmold must also be made for behind-the-ear devices. If you have severe or profound hearing loss or have more severe low-level hearing loss, you may need earmolds for your hearing aids. Your hearing care professional will be happy to advise you and recommend the right solution for your ears.
Ear tips for children
Many children with hearing loss wear their hearing aids with earmolds. The cause of this varies from child to child: the type or degree of hearing loss the child is affected by determines whether an otoplasty is necessary. Ear molds are often very simply practical - hearing aids with a so-called "open fitting" are much more sensitive and difficult to use, which does not make them the ideal hearing solution for active children.
Since the ears of children are still growing and maturing, new earmolds must be made for the young patients on a regular basis.
Cleaning the eartips
In order to ensure the best possible wearing comfort and function, it is very important that you clean the earmolds of your hearing aids regularly. As a rule, these are removed from the hearing aid. After cleaning, the earmolds must be carefully dried, as water droplets impair sound transmission.
Get used to the earmolds
When you wear them for the first time, you can find the earmolds annoying. It usually takes a while to get used to the new feeling.
It is very possible that your earmolds will need to be readjusted before they are properly seated.
Sometimes the following problems can arise when using eartips:
- Uncomfortable sound blockage, also known as the occlusion effect.
- Acoustic feedback from the hearing aid.
- Unwanted and excessive build-up of wax in the ear canal.
- Allergic reaction.
Blocking sound is not only uncomfortable, it also makes it difficult for you to hear other people's voices. Often only one's own voice can be heard. This problem can usually be remedied by a custom hole ("vent") in the earmold. The vents often need to be adjusted several times to achieve the desired effect.
Acoustic feedback is a type of high-pitched whistling tone that occurs when amplified sound emerges from any part of the hearing aid and is picked up again by the receiver. This acoustic phenomenon occurs when the otoplastics do not fit perfectly.
Earwax can build up in large quantities in the ear canal behind the eartips on your hearing aids. Ear wax (cerumen) can impair sound transmission, which is why you will hear more poorly despite hearing aids.
Ultimately, the materials used to make the earmold can cause allergic reactions. If this happens, an earmold made from hypoallergenic material is the best choice for you.
My voice sounds strange
The first time you use hearing aids with eartips or in-the-ear hearing aids, the sound of your own voice may seem distorted and strange. More specifically, your voice may suddenly sound hollow or booming, like you're talking in a tunnel. This phenomenon is referred to in technical jargon as the occlusion or closing effect. If this happens to you, you should contact a hearing care professional. Often only a few minor adjustments to your hearing aid are necessary to correct the problem.
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