I fit a lot of RIC and BTE devices and am out of practice when it comes to taking deep canal impressions. What is the EasyView Otoblock and how can it help me take deep canal impressions?
The quality of the ear impression is a critical factor in enabling manufacturers to produce well fitting hearing aids. When it comes to IIC (invisible in the canal) devices, quality ear impressions are needed to manufacture the smallest hearing aids possible. Due to the popularity of RIC hearing aids, many professionals report feeling rusty when it comes to taking deep ear impressions. A quality impression not only includes a full concha and helix, but it also includes a full canal that goes past the second bend of the ear canal, so that the path to the eardrum can be seen. It’s important that the impression does not end at the second bend, but actually goes past the second bend so that the manufacturer can see the bend, the direction of the turn, and the path to the eardrum.
One of the challenges in taking a deep impression is a lack of visualization when placing the otoblock. Whether you use foam or cotton otoblocks, you can’t see through them to visualize their placement in the ear. When you inspect the ear canal with your otoscope, place the otoblock, and inspect the canal again, you are still estimating the otoblock’s placement.
The EasyView Otoblock is a Phonak innovation that was developed to support professionals in the impression taking process. The EasyView Otoblock attaches to the otoscope specula. By attaching to the end of a standard pediatric speculum, it gives you visual feedback during insertion. It’s available in three sizes - small, medium and large.
The EasyView Otoblock material is smooth and very comfortable. The removal tube is a vented and there is a transparent plastic window at the end that is slightly angled allowing the professional to see better down into the patient's ear canal. It has an open cavity where it slides on the end of the specula, allowing the impression material to fill inside of the block. We recommend using a standard pediatric speculum with the EasyView Otoblock. While our current recommendation is to use low viscosity impression material, it can be used with any type of commercially available impression material and can be used for all custom impressions.
The EasyView Otoblock ensures that you have a nice pathway towards the ear drum. That, in turn, provides the manufacturer better information about the ear canal anatomy and length so that we can build a quality product. In an internal study, we found that people using the EasyView Otoblock consistently took longer impressions that were on average six millimeters longer than standard otoblock impressions, on the same ear. Six millimeters can be very significant in manufacturing when it comes to building a well fitting instrument that is as small as possible to give the hearing impaired individual not only a great sounding hearing aid, but also a great looking one.