audiology information for earmoulds
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This is the information for the client:
To obtain custom-made ear moulds, you will need first to get impressions of
your own ears made by an Audiologist - a painless and quick procedure that
should only be carried out by a qualified professional. First, the ear is
fully examined and, if clear of cerumen (ear wax), a small foam block is
placed in the ear canal to act as a seal. An impression is then taken by
injecting two-part silicon material into the ear with a special syringe.
This is left to cure for a few minutes and then removed. Send this impression
back to us and we will process them in our laboratory where the final ear
mould will be assembled.
<< This is what a good ear impression will look like when
it is taken.
<< This is what the ear impression will look like when
it is taken out of your ear.
Taking impressions of the human ear is a simple and painless process.
However we recommend that a professional audiology practitioner carries
this out, as it is very important that the ear is examined to establish
that it is healthy and that there is not a build up of cerumen (ear wax).
Impressions should not be taken from an infected ear as the process could
aggravate the infection and the impression may not be accurate. It is
also important that the ear is free of cerumen as the ear may be damaged
if the impression is taken from a blocked ear. If you have a perforated
ear drum or have had ear surgery it is essential that you consult an
audiologist before you have ear impressions taken.
These are the instructions to the Audiologist:
Impressions should be semi-deep to the second bend in the ear and to include
the entire concha, helix and tragal notch. Impression material should be
two-part silicon. The products we manufacture from the impressions are named;
please establish and write down the name and contact details for the client
as well as the name they wish to appear on the finished product. Send the
impressions in a box back to:
4, Thayers Farm Road
Where to get it done
Look in the Yellow Pages or use www.yell.com;
go to Hearing Aids some of the centres will not want to do this (for reasons
that defy us too) but usually there are quite a few in most towns and cities.
All of these types of facilities listed will be able to carry out impression
taking. Alternatively consult a hospital that has an ENT (ear, nose & throat)
or Audiology department. They should also be able to carry out this procedure.
If you happen to be near our facility in Beckenham, England we can do this
for you here.
What will is cost?
This varies widely. As a rule expect to pay between £15 and £50.
Hospitals are probably the least-cost option but they may well test you patience.
All of the companies listed in the Yellow Pages will be independents and are
likely to give a better service.
What if I want them to come to me?
We can make arrangements in London for a consultant to call on a client. If
a high degree of discretion is needed (rock stars, presenters) we can arrange
for a consultant to make a visit - mainly for London but they can travel
with the attendant expenses that this brings. Generally a London home/hotel/facility
visit will cost between £150 and £250. Call us on 0870
901 6070 or E-mail
to make arrangements.
Make sure that the impressions are in a plastic bag and then shipped in a small
strong cardboard box. Make absolutely certain that they are named. Micro-Monitors
can have the users name printed on them so please determine what name should
From a report by Tony Woolf www.tonywoolf.co.uk
How is the damage done?
Noise damages the nerve cells that respond to sound in the inner ear, or cochlea.
These cells work in a complex way, to give us the ability to discriminate
between sounds of different pitch. So when they're damaged it doesn't just
mean that you can't hear quiet sounds - it has more subtle effects on the
clarity of hearing.
This clarity can't be restored by an electronic aid. Although the best
modern hearing aids are very clever, they still don't restore normal
We don't know exactly how the damage is done. It is easy to understand
that the vibration of extremely loud sounds causes direct mechanical
damage. It breaks the sub-microscopic finger-like parts of the "hair
cells" that respond to sound. But cells can also be damaged by excessive
stimulation at a lower level. This damage can build up gradually, even
over a period of years.
This is why the law sets both an absolute maximum level of sound that must
not be exceeded, and a "dose" limit that depends on the duration
as well as the level of the noise.
What sort of noise usually causes problems?
It's not just noisy work in factories or building sites that can put peoples'
hearing at risk. A 1999 report by the RNID and TUC (Indecent Exposure) highlighted
how a wide range of work, including "new" industries such as call
centres and the entertainment industry, can give excessive (and, if not properly
dealt with, illegal) noise exposure.
Any loud sound can cause problems. This includes sounds that you wouldn't
normally think of as "noise", such as music, and speech heard
on earphones or loudspeakers. As far as the noise at work legislation
is concerned, these are like any other noise.
When the risk to hearing comes from speech or music - in many cases, the very
sound that people need to hear to do their job - it can be difficult to deal
with. But those whose livelihood depends on good hearing can't afford to take
risks with their ears - and neither, of course, can their employers. We specialise
in dealing with situations where people need to hear and communicate while
still protecting their ears against the hazard of excessive sound level.
Noise Exposure Calculator
Created by Tony Woolf www.tonywoolf.co.uk
The calculator works out noise exposure or "dose" in accordance
with the UK Noise at Work Regulations. [Also, with similar laws in other
countries which use a 3 dB "exchange rate". That is, doubling
or halving the duration of exposure to a constant noise has the same
effect on the exposure as changing the sound level by 3 decibels.] You
can calculate the personal daily exposure level for an employee who is
exposed to up to three different average noise levels during a working
day. If you need fewer than three entries, leave the unused ones at zero
duration. There is usually no need to include exposure to sound levels
below 75 dB(A) (see below).
You can try noise levels from -99 dB to 999 dB (far greater than a sensible
range) and durations from zero to 24 hours. Using a decimal point you
can have fractions of a minute. Don't be surprised by an answer of minus
infinity - this is correct for a complete absence of sound i.e., zero
total duration. (This is maths, not the real world!)
Feel free to experiment!
You will find that for safety purposes, where we are concerned with
daily exposures at or above 85 dB, periods of exposure to noise levels
below 75 dB add at most about 0.5 dB to the total.
Short quiet breaks also don't affect the total much. You can try the
effect of a one hour break in a full day by changing the duration from
eight hours to seven.
But a short period of very high noise level has a large effect. Try
a few minutes at 110 dB(A) - it doesn't take long to exceed the first
action level of 85 dB!
How Much Noise?
People discuss noise levels in terms of decibels, but since it is a
diffcult unit to realise, here is a table to give you an approximate
idea of the kind of levels you may become exposed to during a working
day – including one for Rocket Scientists!
Typical SPL in Decibels
Rocket Launching Pad
Riveting Steel Tank
Can Manufacturing Plant
Office Matrix Printer
Noise over 140 dB will cause PAIN.
Exposure to noise over 90 dB, depending on the amount over and for how
long, can harm hearing and lead to other aural complications such as
tinnitus, hyperacousis and hearing loss. If you ever experience tinnitus
(ringing in the ear) after going to a concert, operating noisy machines
or following a motorcycle ride – this is
a warning. You have been exposed to an excessive amount of noise
and should seriously consider using earplugs.
Custom Fit Earpieces FAQ’s
Custom-fit earpieces are the preferred option for professional users
giving superior audio performance and comfort as well as excluding ambient
noise sources. All Sensorcom in-ear products can be made up as custom
fit; all we need is and impression of your ear(s) which is a simple process.
What is the best material for Walkman moulds: hard acrylic
or soft silicon?
This is nothing more than personal preference. We use a very special grade
of translucent soft-silicon which is strong, non-sticky and very smooth to
touch and extremely comfortable.
Do I have to have units custom fitted?
To gain the maximum occlusion (blocking of ambient noise) we highly recommend
this. Having custom fitted earpieces is a considerably more comfortable and
they can exclude up to 30dB of ambient noise which means that you can listen
to audio signals at a much lower level.
How much ambient noise will custom fits units exclude?
Assume 25 - 30dB but this will vary slightly with different models
What is a Generic Earpiece?
We call it a one-size-fits-most as a general rule and we offer a low-cost soft
silicon pair designed with a profile that does a superb job of holding buds
into ears! If the unit is to be used on a daily basis we highly recommend
that a custom unit is used as the benefits are considerable. Generic units
are good for spares, or for use with occasional users. They exclude only
about 6dB of ambient noise at best.
Where do I get impressions taken?
You can come to us, or look through Yellow Pages, or any on-line directories
for Hearing Aids. This will direct you to a clinic that will understand how
to take impressions. It is worth calling a few as the prices they charge
can vary widely.
Are there any solutions if I have a hearing loss?
We have helped many individuals who have suffered hearing loss, usually through
years of exposure to high sound levels. We can certainly help balance you
up and get you communicating again. We have an Audiologist employed here
and he can give and specific advice you may need to address any concerns.
Will the earpieces damage my ears?
Physically no, but if you have the audio level from the receiver you are using
too high then this can happen as it can with any type of headphone. With
custom fitted units shielding you from external noise there is really no
need to listen to audio at excessively high levels.
Why should I choose Sensorcom products?
Sensorcom have been making in-ear driver type products for a long time and
are very familiar with the types of products professionals need for effective
communication and monitoring. Sensorcom also supply other hardware manufacturers
are we think that we are well qualified to convey our opinion on the subject.
Will I be able to hear ambient noise?
You will certainly hear some of the low frequencies, but the high frequencies
will be attenuated. If it is desirable to have a controlled bleed of ambient
noise, this we can do by introducing a calibrated filter – this will
maintain the benefits of having your ear occluded and will add some spacial
awareness and well as being able to hear the hecklers!
What if there are any other questions or uncertainties?
Call or E-mail us on +44 (0)870 901 6070. E-mail:
Will the impression taking hurt?
No you will just experience absolute silence for about 10 minutes while the
impression material cures. Enjoy the experience!