A quality ear impression is essential when it comes to the creation of hearing protection devices and most hearing aids. While at-home impression kits are available, you run the risk of inferior protection and even injury when done incorrectly.
How Ear Impressions are Made
Ear impressions are made by injecting silicone-based impression material into the ear canal and external ear cavities to create a physical replica of the ear.
Much like fingerprints, ears are unique. In order to get the best fit for your hearing device, it’s important to get an accurate and customized impression.
Audiologists Offer Better Ear Protection
Exposure to loud noise is one of the leading causes of hearing loss. To prevent this, you should use hearing protection devices (HDPs) in situations where you are regularly exposed to volumes over 85 decibels. This can include:
- Working construction or operating machinery
- Hunting or visiting Laguna Shooting Center
- Attending rock concerts
Some people use home kits as a way to save money or to avoid a trip to the audiologist. However, research has shown that HPDs made by an audiologist offer much better protection.
A 2013 study took two sets of impressions from participants. One was taken by an amateur participant using a replica of a do-it-yourself home impression kit. The other set was taken by a licensed audiologist.
It found that the professionally made HDPs were significantly more effective at blocking out sound than the ones created using the home impression kit.
Injury from Incorrect Ear Impression
Not only do at-home kits offer less protection, but they may also increase your risk of injury as well. A survey was sent out to various otolaryngology departments asking about their experiences treating secondary injuries caused during at-home impression taking for hearing aids.
A total of 301 institutions reported treating 460 impression-related injuries. Of those:
- 8% (298 cases) of injuries were caused by foreign bodies in the ear left during the removal of the impression material
- 32 of those 298 cases required surgical intervention under general anesthesia to treat
- 7% developed bleeding and/or fluid in the ear following removal of the ear impression
Prioritize Your Hearing Health
Your hearing health is important to your quality of life and wellbeing. Make sure to give your ears the care and consideration they deserve by seeing a professional audiologist for impressions and other hearing needs.
If you have additional hearing-related questions or wish to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, call Elk Grove Hearing Care today.