How often do your ear molds need to be replaced?

How often do your earmolds for BTEs need to be replaced?

My right mold isn’t fitting properly and is squealing a lot. It’s about 3 years old now. My audiologist says it should be replaced. Is this common? My left is still okay, it seems.

If it did fit properly, and does not any longer, then yes. It is time for new ones. Our ears can change shape over time, and once that shape has changed, the molds will not do their jobs as well as they did. The actual life span of a mold is determined by what it is made of. A hard material should last longer than a soft simply because it is more durable, however the fit of the mold is far more important than the condition or age.

If you feel it needs to be replaced then it needs to be replaced. Some molds get discolored because of wax and the person wants it replaced. If it no longer fits well because the ear changed because of weight gain or loss, dental work etc, change it. I have patients who want a new one every year, and some with 5 year old molds and they are fine.

There are literally hundreds of combinations of mold design and material used. And that’s not even taking into account the unique shape of your ear.

Molds will deteriorate at different rates depending on exposure to UV light, the chemical composition of your natural body oils, the amount the aids are worn, how many hours a day you use them, and introduction to chemicals like say hair products.

Given all the variables I just mentioned, there really is no hard and fast rule. But if I wore aids, I would look to replace the molds every 1-3 years, this keeps them looking fresh, matching the shape of your ear properly, and allowing for optimum sound to arrive in your ears.

Think of the mold/tube as like tires on a car. Sure you can use them until they are almost worn out, but you risk increased stopping distance, aquaplaning, poor handling etc. You don’t want an expensive hearing aid system being compromised by a low quality or worn out mold.