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The impression process is vital when going with custom ear pieces. For musicians the impression process must be done correctly to help ensure a proper fit allowing the custom monitors to do what they are intended to do. When custom monitors are properly fitted it will allow great isolation, comfort, and great sound quality.
We start by looking in your ears to make sure the ears are clear of wax. Large amounts of wax (as seen in photo 1) must be removed before having your ear impressions done. If it is not removed prior to having your impressions done this can cause a further wax impaction and voids in the ear impression.
It is recommend by most Audiologist to clean your ears properly with ear wash kits. Ear wash kits can be found in most pharmaceutical areas. This is a great process to do prior to you getting your ear impressions done.
Words by DR. JIM MITTERANDO:
Using cotton swabs (Q-tips) to remove the wax can actually push it in farther and pack it against the ear drum. Some people make excess wax while others make harder wax that may block the ear canal causing temporary hearing loss or ear pain.
We insert a oto-dam into the ear canals. Proper oto-dam placement is critical to providing for the safety of your ears and ensuring a successful earpiece impression. The primary acoustic seal is established in the ear canal and is complicated by the fact that the ear canal actually changes dimension with jaw movement.
(Photo of Tx Artist-Chris Allbright)
First we hand you a bite block. The bite block is used to have an "open mouth" ear impression. Most of the major custom IEM manufacturers recommend this for taking IEM impressions, some of which may differ from typical hearing aid impressions. The 2” bite block is used to keep the patient’s mouth open while the impression material sets. This is because jaw movement slightly alters the shape of the ear canal. With IEMs, you need to maintain a good seal when your jaw moves into a wide-open position while singing or speaking.
With the bite block positioned in the mouth, we gently begin to express the impression material into the ear canal as deeply as comfort allows, preferably to the second bend in the ear canal. This increases the hearing protection by adding mass between the external stage volume and the eardrum and minimizes the occlusion effect by reducing the air volume between the IEM tip and the eardrum. (The bite block must stay in the mouth until the material hardens.)
Once the ear impressions harden we remove them from your ears. We make certain the ear impression is 100% accurate. Making sure there are no voids in the impression. If voids are found, we will re-shoot the ear.