Even though off-the-shelf options are available, hearing protection is best when it’s customized to you. Custom earplugs and ear molds are made from impressions of your ear canal and concha (the outer bowl-shaped portion of your ear). They adhere perfectly to the contours of your ears providing a superior fit and protection. In addition to being used as earplugs, earmolds can be used in a variety of ways including with your headphones, stethoscopes and earpieces. Doctors, nurses, pilots, news reporters, musicians, swimmers, racecar drivers, gun enthusiasts, concertgoers and construction workers are just some of the individuals who can benefit from custom molds.
Musicians earplugs and in-ear monitors are the best way to protect your hearing from loud music. Exposure to loud music is one of the leading causes of noise-induced hearing loss. Musicians spend many hours practicing and performing and depend on hearing well to compose or perform their music. Unfortunately, consistent exposure to loud music carries a high price. Damaging sound levels can lead to a host of hearing disorders including long-term hearing loss and tinnitus.
Unlike traditional earplugs that block out noise, resulting in music and speech that is muffled or distorted, musicians earplugs reduce sound levels while keeping the original quality of the music intact. This translates to music and speech that is clear and natural. Despite their name, these earplugs aren’t solely for the use of musicians; they also benefit concertgoers by allowing them to enjoy live performances while protecting their hearing. Musicians earplugs can be used in other noisy environments such as airshows and sporting events.
Musician monitors block out the loud surrounding sounds made by electric instruments, drums and audience members while delivering excellent sound feedback directly to your ears at a safe volume. Musician monitors have two parts: a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitters can be set up for mono or stereo sound and are typically worn by a band’s vocalist. One transmitter can send sound to as many receivers as is necessary so members of a band can all hear the same feedback through their in-ear musician monitors.
Surfers earplugs let sound in and keep water or wind out. Sufers’ ears are exposed to cold ocean water and air temperatures, which constrict the ear canal and trap water or earwax in the ear. Ocean water also contains lots of bacteria that can cause infections if trapped in the ear canal. Most life-long surfers are also at risk for developing exostosis, a bony growth in the ear. Exostosis typically develops after a decade of regular surfing. Infections, impacted wax and exostosis can all lead to hearing loss that may not be reversible. Custom surfers earplugs are the most comfortable way to protect your ears from cold air, water temperatures and bacteria without sacrificing performance. Since we can customize surfers plugs to your unique ears, they will protect your ears and stay in place while you surf.
Swim earplugs are specialized earplugs crafted from waterproof silicone that create an impenetrable seal that never allows water past the outer ear. They are customized for your ears to ensure a tight, snug fit in the ear canal. Swimmer’s earmolds aren’t just for swimmers; they’re useful for a wide variety of water activities. Custom swim molds offer protection from several major ear-related health problems including ear infections. Ear infections are a problem for patients of all ages though they’re particularly prevalent in children. There are 2.4 million cases of swimmer’s ear infections every year. Custom swim molds are the most comfortable way to prevent moisture and bacteria from entering the ear.
Custom earplugs and earmolds are generally made from one of three materials: acrylic, vinyl or silicone. Acrylic molds have been around the longest. Hard and durable, they are resistant to shrinking and breakage and are the easiest to repair or re-mold. Acrylic molds are simple to insert and remove and easily cleaned using mild detergents. Their biggest disadvantage is their lack of flexibility. They can be difficult to place into narrow or small ear canals, especially those of children. Acrylic molds are also prone to sound leakage and feedback, particularly when the jaw is in motion (e.g., chewing)
Vinyl molds are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and fall in the middle in terms of hardness. They are softer than acrylic molds, making them a better choice for children and older individuals, and are fairly easy to insert. A better seal translates to clearer sound for high-gain musical instruments. On the down side, vinyl molds tend to shrink, harden and discolor over time, and need to be replaced more often. Because of the manufacturing process that involves boiling in a saline solution, vinyl molds are not recommended for people with allergies.
Silicone molds are the softest of all varieties. They are extremely flexible and comfortable, provide a tight seal for excellent sound quality and protection and are very durable. They maintain their shape and size over time and are available in a variety of bright colors and designs as well as flesh-colored tones. Their flexibility and softness can also be disadvantages; silicone molds are difficult to insert especially when new and are a poor choice for individuals with soft or flaccid ears.
If you want to protect your hearing, Call Lifestyle Hearing Aid Solutions at (909) 593-0550 for more information or to schedule an appointment.