There is an old argument about whether it is best to take an ear impression with the patient's mouth open or not. What would you recommend?
It is Westone's opinion that an open-jaw impression using a Bite Block is appropriate for the majority of fittings. We base this opinion on the abundant research by Chester Pyrzanski from Starkey Laboratories. We recommend placing the Bite Block in the front, center of the mouth, with the jaw resting on the Bite Block.
Using a Bite Block will help facilitate a better acoustic seal and will result in an improved fit overall. We recommend the Bite Block on custom earmold fittings as well as custom earplugs for hearing protection and all custom musician products.
Research also indicates that using a higher viscosity impression material will improve acoustic seal and is the preferred material when taking open jaw impressions. Westone's SiliClone Firm®, Pink Silicast®, Blue Silicast®, and Silicone Singles® are ideal for this application. As always, regardless of the technique used, the accuracy of the earmold/earplug fit relies largely on the accuracy of the impression provided to the laboratory.
Jackie Jarosz, M.S., FAAA
Staff Audiologist for Westone Laboratories for 11 years
Westone Laboratories, Inc.
Earmolds and more since 1959