Earmold allergies

Hey everyone,

Is anyone else here allergic to earmolds? I have reacted to two sets so far. My first set (in the latest round of hearing related things) which were silicon, and now my last set which were something else. I don’t know the name of the material but they were pinkish and not really soft but also not really hard. My first reaction just made my ear canals red and bumpy. My reaction the most recent time made my ear canals swell shut around the molds, made them red, itchy and sore too. The reactions have been coming on faster and stronger since I got the molds on Thursday, to the point where the last time I had to go to the hospital and be given meds to stop the reaction.

These are my fourth set of molds in the last 7 months because we can’t seem to find something that works. My first set were silicon skeleton molds, I really liked them until I developed an allergic reaction to them. After those I got acrylic skeleton molds. Those ones weren’t fitting quite right so we did a remake, those ones worked really well. Then as my hearing got worse and we adjusted the aids accordingly feedback became an issue and my audiologist decided I needed full shell molds. Those ones are the most recent ones that caused a horrific reaction. I am not putting them back in my ears ever again. We tested them on Thursday morning, I sat there for 15 minutes with them in my ears and she checked to see if there was a reaction and there wasn’t so we figured I wasn’t allergic to them. The allergy has developed and worsend since then.

I know I am allergic to silicon, latex, and whatever the current molds are made out of. Are there solutions for a profoundly deaf person with such allergies when it comes to earmolds?

There really are a ton of different materials out there that one can use. So a good hearing professional should be able to find something that will work for you.

Unfortunately on the whole the softer materials are a little more likely to irritate the ear. And with a profound loss softer materials are recommended to combat feedback.

It may just be trial and error frankly. But any good mold supplier will have a lot of tricks up their sleeve and should be able to work with you. I know that Starkey has a bewildering array of materials to choose from, and were I to meet a patient like yourself, I’d probably be having a chat with their very knowledgeable staff in the mold lab.

As a starting point Starkey have a material called StarFlex that is pretty good. It’s not too soft, nor too hard, and softens a little as you wear it.

Good luck finding the right material that works for you.

I believe my molds have been coming from Bernafon, and my audiologist mentioned she had spoke to them and they recommended this material. I believe it is called Formaseal, not positive though. Trial and error is fine, just time consuming LOL. And the doctor at the hospital told me to be really careful because I will eventually develop an aniflactic reaction to whatever it is I reacted to last time.

Oh well, back to my acrylic skeleton molds and feedback for the time being. It doesn’t bother me because I can’t hear it but it drives those around me crazy!

You could always consider acrylic solid molds with a slightly deeper fit. This may help with feedback, and you know you can use that material.

The good news is that feedback control is getting better all the time. By the time you upgrade your hearing aids, I’d say the fit will be a little less important.

How much do the acrylic solid molds fill up the ear?

I have been wearing a new Naida V SP with an acrylic skeleton mold. My previous aid was a Gaia with a solid soft mold that I hated! It plugged up my ear & was uncomfortable. I love the new mold, very comfortable. JennyB ~ sorry you are having allergy problems. I hope you get them figured out. I have been noticing a little bit of feedback with the skeleton mold ~ it is very frustrating. The Naidas have the feedback control - how exactly does that work? If there is a lot of feedback how does the programing change to stop it? Does it lower the volume, etc?


I am currently using Naida V UP, with an acrylic skeleton mold. Feedback control is pretty awesome with these but when you look at my audiogram,

Freq. R L
250 105 105
500 110 110
700 120 120
1000 120 120

The rest is no response.

Anyway, you can imagine the gain I need which means feedback issues!

Polyethylene, which from my research is not something I should have an allergic reaction too…

Well imagine your skeleton mold, but the hole in the middle (where the skeleton design skirts the edge of your concha bowl) is filled in.


There’s a picture of one on a black background, third image down the page.

I am not really technical enough to explain how it works. But basically, when an aid is new it is calibrated in your ear (or it should be - in fact it should be re-calibrated every time the aid goes to the factory or any time you get a new mold). The calibration allows the aid to make various sounds into you ear at various volumes and ‘listen’ to see which sounds are likely to cause feedback. Which sounds can the aid ‘hear’ and at what level.

The hearing aids remember this calibration, and constantly scan at various different frequencies (some more than others; depends on the aid) for the possibility of feedback. Once it has determined feedback is happening it can turn down the gain at that specific frequency to prevent further feedback.

The efficiency and quality of that system depends on a wide variety of factors, including the sophistication of the computer inside the aid, the software that drives that computer, the number of channels monitored and independently controllable for feedback. The intelligence of the algorithms used, and how well they can detect feedback and separate that from feedback like noises. The processing speed of the computer in the hearing aid. How well the aid has been programmed by the hearing professional. How good the mold fits in your ear. The shape and size of your ear canal, and flexibility of the ear drum and presence of any blockage in the canal. And the percentage of power the aid is using versus what is available.

There’s a lot of stuff, and perhaps one of the electronics experts on here would take a stab at a more technical explanation of how feedback is managed in a modern hearing aid.

Yes, I think you fall into a category that we in the industry call a ‘power user.’

That is an understatment! I should have move gain from my aids but I can’t take it, and there are feed back issues. I think we are going to slowly increase it once the earmold situation is sorted out.

Speaking of which, I saw a doctor about it and was told it was okay to continue to experiment with different materials provided I always have my EpiPen on hand. Isn’t that comforting?