Earmolds for Everyone
Custom earmolds for MP3 players and cell phones are made for individuals to ensure comfortable listening and hands-free use.
Many musicians do not wear hearing protection because they find it uncomfortable or they find that their music does not sound right. The UPMC Center for Audiology can create custom earplugs that meet the needs of musicians. Prior to obtaining musicians' earplugs, a hearing test is required.
Musicians’ earplugs created at the Center for Audiology produce equal attenuation across frequencies (pitches) so all pitches are reduced equally, unlike other earplugs where some pitches are reduced more than others and the resulting music sounds unnatural. Musicians’ earplugs leave sound sounding natural, just quieter, and can use 9, 15, and 25 decibel (dB) filters depending on how much protection is needed. The audiologist is able to select the appropriate filter based on an extensive interview of the musician.
A non-custom version of musicians' earplugs with a 20 dB filter is available through our center. These plugs may not be comfortable for the musician who needs to wear them for long periods of time, but they may be ideal for casual concert goers who want to protect their hearing.
News anchors, radio broadcasters, musicians, and others require in-ear monitors to perform their jobs. Custom earmolds made at the UPMC Center for Audiology and Hearing Aids provide a comfortable fit for individuals using monitors professionally or over an extended period of time. If you already own the monitor receiver, this can be plugged into the earmolds. If you are just considering in-ear monitors, the center can provide the monitor receiver as well as the custom earmolds.
In-ear monitors for use with non-custom insert earphone tips also are available. For musicians, the in-ear monitor evaluation provides specifications to be used with the sound engineers controlling the monitors in order to tune the monitors correctly. Custom fit in-ear monitors provide hearing protection as well as comfort and excellent sound quality.
Industrial Hearing Protection
Those working in certain professions are subjected to very loud on the job sounds that are often loud enough to damage a person’s hearing. Industrial hearing earmolds are custom made for the wearer and offer an effective defense. Typically, these earmolds are made using a very flexible material, which allows the person to wear them for a number of hours. These earmolds are available in many colors.
The center can specially design earmolds that allow you to communicate with those around you but still offer protection against the loud sound of gunfire. This is accomplished by inserting a filter into the earmolds. There also are hearing protectors for hunters that amplify very quiet sounds while protecting the ear from loud sounds. These are available in a variety of colors.
Football players and others who find themselves playing in noisy arenas (especially domes) can use custom earmolds for reducing the overwhelming noise. In some sports, sound plugs can be used in the helmet so the player can hear the coach. This should be used where voice contact is needed and where this type of device is allowed within the rules of the particular sport. Both hearing-impaired individuals and normal hearing individuals can use these sound plugs.
Swim plugs are used by adults and children to prevent water from entering the ear. These plugs are custom made products, which are available in numerous colors, with glitter, glow in the dark, or swirls of color. The swim plugs can come with handles for insertion and removal and also a string attaching the plugs together. They can be made from a floating material in case the plugs are dropped into the water.
Special earmolds can be made for anesthesiologists who are connected to listening devices. The earmolds also can be used to connect to a stethoscope for anyone who may desire a more comfortable listening end. If a medical professional wears hearing aids, a special earmold can be created to allow the stethoscope to rest in the earmold with sound passed through to the ear canal.
Health care professionals with hearing loss may need an amplified signal from their stethoscope. We provide amplified stethoscopes that individuals can use with their open ear or that will slip into specially designed earmolds. We also can provide stethoscopes that can be plugged into behind-the-ear hearing aids in order to provide necessary amplification.