Imagine this scenario:
You’ve just bought the latest and greatest iPod or MP3 player available to mankind. You’ve spent at least an hour setting up an account to a website that will allow you to download music that you’ve selected and paid for. You’ve figured out how to connect your device to the computer and load your carefully selected tunes into it. You put on your broken in tennis shoes and favorite baseball cap, ready to be inspired by your new playlist to run faster than the speed of light. You put your earbuds in, press play, hit your first stride and…… your earbuds fall out! Hmmm, you think. Perhaps you don’t have them in right. So you shove them in, harder this time, and press “on”. You find yourself pushing them in frequently as your music starts to sound far away and distorted due to your earbuds shifting around. At one point, you start to feel embarrassed and a bit uncomfortable. You’re sure everyone in the neighborhood can hear your inspirational anthem, “Eye of the Tiger,” because you’ve had to crank the volume to the max to compensate for the poor sound quality. This is beyond frustrating! And now your ears are starting to ache. By the time you’re finished with your run, you’re ready to give up on this so called advanced technology.
For the many people who have invested in iPods or similar products, the scenario I just described is somewhat familiar. I have yet to meet a person who has actually been able to comfortably or effectively wear the earbuds that came with their device. Usually it’s because they don’t fit, don’t stay in, or don’t sound that great. In my case the earbuds came with the iPod, which I almost gave up on; until I discovered the miracle of custom ear pieces.
That’s right, custom ear pieces. They were made specifically for the shape and size of my ears. My ear pieces couple easily to the earbuds that came with my iPod. I’ve also discovered that they can be coupled or connected to various brands of earbuds. They fit comfortably, they stay in my ears, and I don’t have to turn up the volume on my iPod as loud due to less sound leakage, hence sparing those around me from my selection of one hit wonders. To me, these custom earpieces are “the best thing since sliced bread”. I could not enjoy the music on my iPod without them.
However, custom ear pieces are not new. Earmold labs have been designing them for hearing aids for years. Fortunately, they’ve broadened their scope for a variety of applications; pilots and their crews use them for with communication systems, musicians use them for in ear monitors, hunters use them for both hearing protection and enhanced listening. In all three applications, a customized ear piece allows for proper noise attenuation, which is important for preventing noise induced hearing loss and additionally allows for improved listening.
Other uses for custom ear pieces are swim plugs, various communication systems, and hands free cell phone ear pieces. Custom swim plugs are the best solution for keeping water out of the ears, which is a must for people with chronic swimmer’s ear and people with ear tubes. Custom earplugs are designed for a wide range of use: they can be made with filters to let certain sounds be heard and they can attenuate a range of volume levels. Construction workers, dentists, hair stylists, and spouses of loud snorers are all examples of people who benefit from custom earplugs.
The process for getting customized ear pieces is simple. It involves having an ear casting or impression made of your ear which is sent to an earmold lab who then makes the specified ear piece. Because the fit of any custom ear piece is crucial to it’s success, it is important to have the ear impression made by an experienced professional, like an audiologist. It is also important to have an audiologist evaluate the final product for proper fit.
At Audiological Consultants of Atlanta, audiologists have been successfully making impressions of ears and fitting custom earmolds for any application for over 30 years. We have also been able to keep up with trends in customized ear pieces, allowing us to make appropriate recommendations to meet our patient’s needs. Please contact us to discover the options that are available to you!