The earmold is truly the most important link in the fitting of a hearing aid system, since it must routinely and simultaneously fulfil numerous functions. If it fails in any one of them, the hearing aid fitting can fail.
Every earmold must:
- Provide a satisfactory acoustic seal
- Acoustically couple the hearing aid to the ear
- Retain the hearing aid behind the pinna
- Be comfortable to wear for an extended period of time
- Be aesthetically acceptable to the patient
In addition, as every case will be subtly different, you may need to consider other factors, and alter the recommendation such that the earmold will:
- Modify the acoustic signal to suit unusual hearing losses
- Be of a style that the patient can physically handle in case of disability
- Be easy to use by caretakers or medical professionals
With many patients, consideration should also be given to the prospect of required in-office modifications. Hard, semi-hard and PVC materials are the easiest to modify with small hand tools, while Silicones are almost impossible to change, except for straight cuts to remove excess bulk. Proper impression technique and intelligent style selection procedures can minimize major in-office modifications.
Dealers must evaluate each patient individually before selecting a mold, and should retain as much flexibility as possible in their selections. Generally, more than one option will exist for any given fitting. Don't underestimate your patient’s concern for the cosmetics. While you can’t always give the patient the least visible earmold due to the extent of the hearing loss, you can indeed satisfy most people without a sacrifice of fitting goals.
|Adult – General Purpose||Acrylics – Hard Clear, Softex, Ultraflex|
|Child – General Purpose||PVCs – Protint, Hydroclear, Dermatex|
|High Gain||Silicone, Silicone II, Ultraflex|
|Facial Movement||Hard/Flex, PVCs, Silicone II|
|Very Soft Ear Texture||Hard, Medicryl|
|Very Hard Ear Texture||Any soft material|
|Allergy Concerns||Silicone II, Hard Clear, Hydroclear|