What materials are best for severe losses?
Let us start out with ‘an aside’…best is a relative term.
Your favorites and your modification abilities, plus the
sensitivity and texture of the ear coupled with the patient’s dexterity will play a role in the final decision of what equals ‘best’.
Now for the answer!
Knowing that a tight seal, comfortable fit are critical for severe to profound losses, one would lean toward our MSL-90 or MSL-7000 silicone materials. They are soft (MSL-90 being the softest) and with the ‘grabbing’ texture of silicone, they allow for an excellent seal.
On the other side of the coin, silicones are difficult to modify. Minor adjustments for comfort with tight molds is often necessary, and with silicone you need the proper equipment. A dental lathe is relatively common in dispensing offices, some with 1 speed, some 2 speeds. However most still do not qualify as high speed, and that’s what’s really needed. A good option is the multi-speed Dremel drill. Today’s models are far superior to those of the past and allow better control and true ability to reduce and modify the material.
Now knowing that seal and modifiability are critical factors in fitting severe to profound losses, our Audtex and Apollo materials (the NASA based propriatary materials)provide the best of both worlds.
The materials are body-softening, so while firm in the hand they soften after a short time in the ear and create an excellent seal. The earlier stiffness can also be seen as an ‘assist’ to insertion as the softness of some materials allows the canal to bend which can make putting it into the ear somewhat difficult.
And both Audtex and Apollo are easy to modify!
Another option to consider
With all of the needs, benefits and ‘problems’ listed that need to be considered in your choice, let’s add to the confusion. A good choice might be a firm body / soft canal mold. The soft canals can be regular silicone, flex, or Apollo with a lucite body. Now that you know the pros and cons of each material you can look at these options when placing your order.
What materials are available when ordering iPod molds?
Standardly the iPod mold and similar fittings are manufactured using our MSL-90 silicone. Due to the pliable material and the grip of the texture, the ‘earbud’ can be friction fit into the mold. The comfort of a custom earmold to replace the standard (and not comfortable) earbuds will bring a smile to the wearer! Promise!
If there are space limitations and the earbud will not fit in this configuration, we will attach a pliable ‘cup’ on the face of the earmold for the earbud. The materials available for the earmold are Lucite, Apollo, and Marveltex. If this situation arises, we will give you a call before changing your order.
What materials are, or can be, hypoallergenic?
The key to creating a mold that is hypoallergenic is the manufacturing process, i.e. is it a ‘cold cure’ process or a ‘heat cure’. The heat cure, along with the properties of the material, is the number one requirement when dealing with this problem.
When the loss you are fitting will allow, the Lucite Heat Cure is an excellent choice. Unless heat cure is specified, Lucite is manufactured as Cold Cure. Also a possibility when a greater degree of loss is present is the Lucite with Soft Canal. The canal can be ordered in any of the soft options, Silicone, Apollo, or Flex and again Heat Cure and the allergic problem should be noted on the order.
Other materials that we use in these situations are Audtex and Apollo. These materials are standardly processed with the heat cure method and in addition are bacteriostatic. A plus for this option is that both materials are semi-soft and easily modifiable…both features that are on the top of our popularity list.
Silicone is also standardly heat cured and a choice for patients with allergy-related issues.
All other materials that are on the Mid-States list are only processed via cold cure. If you have additional questions about specific patients and their history, give us a call.
What earmold color options are available?
We offer a variety of colors! The sky’s the limit, really. Take a look at our color chart here.