What do you do when a patient arrives in your office with a broken, damaged or lost custom hearing aid? How can we serve our patient when Buster has gotten a hold of their hearing aid, again? Do patients just have to “get by” if they don’t own their own backups?
We’ve always felt that we had a contract of sorts with our patients to get them hearing the best that we can, and keep them there with as little interruption as possible. Obviously this means loaners. Lots and lots of loaners to make sure the patients in our database don’t ever have to miss or struggle to hear at a meeting, family event or even their favorite weekly TV program. It’s not a big deal with traditional BTE failure……just remove their ear mold and program up a loaner device. But it’s not as easy to do with lost hearing aids, hearing aids damaged beyond recognition or with custom hearing aid failure. In these cases, hearing care professionals can use stock ear tips or domes but they tend to be less than comfortable or effective. While not unique in our desire to serve our patients, we have come up with a quick, easy and effective trick that I’ve never seen in any other office.
Several years ago we discovered a way to quickly create a pretty darn good ear mold with a product we already had on hand, on the spot. The process is simple and mostly, familiar.
1. Take red and blue swim mold material and mix it together in equal proportion-we do this with the entire tubs and have it ready at all times
2. Mix the “mixed” material with the hardening agent at a 50/50 ratio
3. Fill the syringe
4. Fill the ear (dam in place)
5. Let it set up
6. Remove from ear, slice off excess, create bore and vent with hollow core reamer
7. Voila! Custom molded piece that is ready to be tubed or that can accommodate a receiver
Time Spent: 5-7 minutes from impression to finished ear mold.
These purple-ish molds (we affectionately call them Pmolds) allow any patient to be efficiently fit with new or loaner devices. Don’ t let “purple” scare you….when recessed nicely, these molds look great in the ear (see photo). In fact, we have some patients who prefer Pmolds and come in over and over again to have them made. The material generally lasts around 6-9 months before it begins to deteriorate. The molds are soft but not too soft and we can modify canal length, venting and retention as needed.
Our patients depend on us to manage their hearing loss not just evaluate their hearing and fit hearing aids. When people are new to hearing care, they may not understand the importance of this professional relationship. Patients really don’t know how much they need us until they actually need us! Quality loaners that are comfortable and effective are a significant part of the after care: the service and support that we promise to deliver. As independent hearing care providers, we need to distinguish ourselves from the Big boxes, Big hospitals, Big chains, Big health insurance companies and Big internet retailers. Pmolds are just one part of the Big effort we put into maintaining a high level of personal and expert service for those who trust us with their hearing care. Armed with Pmold material and lots of high quality loaners, we can take care of anyone, anytime.