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Your Healthy Family: Digital scans can now be used to make custom ear molds

Posted at 6:34 PM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 15:03:39-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — There's a new piece of technology being used by audiologists that's making it easier, more convenient and more accurate to have custom ear molds made for those that need them.

Custom ear molds have been around for decades, but the process of making them used to be more involved. In previous stories we talked about the many useful ear protection items, such as swim plugs, musician in-ear monitors, hearing protection and hearing aids that can all be made from a custom molded silicon impression.

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Dr. Michael Iliff and his staff at Hearing Consultants of Colorado Springs recently invested in this new technology of digitally mapping the inner ear and making the process of creating custom molds easier for their staff and patients.

Dr. Iliff says, “We have jumped into the 21st-century with the Lantos ear scanner that uses a thin membrane (that we insert in the ear) that fills with a liquid, and then a tiny scanner is inserted, goes in and maps thousands and thousands of points. We take that scan, and we model an ear mold digitally, and then we send it to a manufacturer, and they make the mold for us.”

Dr. Iliff explains, “There are some cases where we will still take a traditional impression, like we have done for 40 or 50 years in this industry. We take a piece of cotton or foam that is put into the ear canal, and then we fill the ear with a silicon material. After it sets up, then we pull that out of the ear and send the silicon mold to the manufacturer through the mail.”

Now, the digital scans that take a just a few minutes and are more comfortable in the patient's ear than a silicon impression, are sent instantly to a manufacturer.

Dr. Michael Iliff says that soon they may even need to be sent out to be manufactured. “If and likely when we get a 3-D printer, we will then be able to do all the casting here in our office. Instead of a week or two to get that product back, it'll be a same-day service so it could be quicker for the patient.”

For more information about having a digital scan to make a custom ear mold, or if you have any questions about your hearing and if a complete diagnostic is a good idea for you or a loved one who may be having issues with their hearing, feel free to contact the folks at Hearing Consultants of Colorado Springs, at (719) 633-1494 or visit their webpage (HERE)