Each Ear Canal Is Unique
Even though all ear canals are basically open tubes, each has a different shape - longer, shorter, wider, more narrow, curved here, straight there. Just one of those nature things.
However, in the past, fitting custom hearing aids was a time-consuming, sometimes frustrating process with hearing aid professionals making best guesses on adjustments to customized hearing aids. It was pretty much a hit-or-miss proposition.
But no more. Digital technology has simplified and improved the customized hearing aid manufacturing and fitting process the way technology is supposed to.
The Initial Fitting
Step one of the fitting process is to take a mold of the client's ear canal. This mold, or often called ear mold impression, is the perfect replica of the consumer's ear and ear canal - the place where the custom-manufactured hearing aid will reside 14-16 hours a day.
Technology Takes Over
The next step in the process involves a laser scan of the mold by the hearing aid manufacturer. This produces an exact, 3-D duplicate of the mold on the computer and the 3-D mold is converted into digital data that the hearing aid manufacturer uses to produce a hearing aid shell that perfectly fits each individual ear canal shape.
Customized Hearing Aid Cases
Each hearing aid shell is distinct; each configured from the computer data collected from the laser scan of the mold. The computer program tells the manufacturing equipment the exact specifications of each hearing aid device.
Quality devices are constructed using medical-grade acrylic to produce "a dimensionally exact, lightweight but durable shell."
The Human Touch
Once the acrylic hearing aid shell has hardened, it undergoes rigorous inspection by a hearing manufacturer technician to make sure that the casing is perfect. Once the shell is complete it is sent to the manufacturing line where the inner workings of the hearing aid are inserted and connected.
Using the latest in quality assurance technology, each hearing aid is then put through its paces, electronically and physically, to ensure the right fit and the right hearing gear leaves the manufacturer.
The finished hearing aid - the perfect, computerized fit - is now ready for your ears. Custom hearing aid shells come in a variety of skin tones and some playful, colorful options to show a little attitude.
To learn more about the manufacturing process of custom hearing aids and to see examples of how Phonak, a leading hearing aid manufacturer, uses digital manufacturing technology for their custom hearing aids, visit: Technology Takes Custom Hearing Aids to the New Level.