In some cases, you need ear molds for your hearing aids. To make the ear molds, casts of the ear canals must be made so that the ear molds fit into the ear canal as no ear canals are alike, like fingerprints or pinnas of the ear.
When making the ear mold, the ear canal is filled with a kind of wax to make a cast (an impression) which is subsequently removed after a couple of minutes. This procedure does not hurt but it may feel a bit strange - a bit like having your ears filled with water. The cast is then used to make the actual ear mold. This may take some days or a few weeks.
In-the-ear hearing aids
The shell of an in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid is actually a mold that must fit into your ear canal. If you choose to wear in-the-ear hearing aids, you must have a cast made for the shells. To get an individually fitted hearing aid, it is necessary to make a casting of the ear canals to ensure that the hearing aids fit perfectly.
Behind-the-ear hearing aids
In some cases, you may need ear molds if you wear behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids. If you have a severe or profound hearing loss or a greater hearing loss in the lower frequencies (low-frequency hearing loss), you might need ear molds together with the hearing aids. Your hearing care professional can guide you and recommend which solution is best for you.
Children and ear molds
Many children with hearing loss often use ear molds together with their hearing aids. One reason is that the type or degree of the hearing loss makes the use of ear molds necessary. Another reason is a practical one as hearing aids with so called open fittings are more delicate instruments and harder to handle and may therefore not be the optimal solution for physically active child.
Children need to have new ear molds made regularly as their ears grow and mature.
Clean the ear molds
It is important to clean the ear molds of the hearing aids on a regular basis. So, remember to clean the ear molds. The ear molds must be kept clean.
Getting used to the ear molds
At first, it may feel strange having the ear mold in place in the ear. It will take you some time to get used to the new feeling.
The molds may require some adjustments before fitting and functioning properly.
Some problems that may occur if you use ear molds include:
- Unpleasant sound blockage - also known as the 'occlusion effect'
- Acoustic feedback
- Cerumen (earwax) build-up
- Allergic reactions
Sound blockage makes it difficult to hear others than yourself. Vents placed in the ear mold will often solve this problem. It is not unusual for these vents to be adjusted several times in order to get the desired effect.
Acoustic feedback is a kind of whistling sound that occurs when amplified sound escapes from any part of the hearing aid and re-enters the hearing aid microphone. It is a phenomenon that occurs when the ear mold does not fit tightly enough.
The ear mold can also cause a build-up of cerumen (earwax) - especially when wearing tight ear molds. Cerumen can reduce sound transmission and thereby making it difficult to hear.
Lastly, the materials used to produce the ear mold can cause allergic reactions. In such cases, other hypoallergenic materials must be used.
My voice sounds strange
If you use hearing aids with ear molds or in-the-ear hearing aids, you may experience that your voice sound strange and may ask yourself “Why does my voice sounds strange?” Your voice may sound hollow or booming as if you are talking in a barrel. If you experience this, you should contact your hearing care professional. A few adjustments of the ear molds may take care of the problem in most cases.