There’s the old saw: You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. And while it’s highly doubtful that the person who first uttered those words of wisdom did so leaving an unsatisfying earmold casting, nevertheless it could pertain. After all, a great impression is in large part only as good as its material. So let’s take a look at what’s out there.
Adco Hearing Products, Inc
Adco Hearing Products Inc, Englewood, Colo, offers Adcomold, a simple-to-use impression material that is comfortable for the user and durable, and reportedly contains better attenuation than silicone materials. In-the-ear curing takes minutes and finishing the mold only about 5 minutes more. AdcoMold is available in hard or soft, and starter kits are available for everything you need to make earmolds on the spot.
All-American Mold Laboratories
All American Mold Laboratories Inc, Oklahoma City, offers a variety of impression materials and accessories, including: Gold Velvet II, a two-part silicone material with a 30 Shore A and available in 40- and 80-unit sizes; Otoform AK, a two-part green kneadable impression material with a 35 Shore A; and its XL series of 40 Shore A impression materials and accelerators. Accessories include Accu syringes, Oto Vent ear dam systems, and handheld injection systems.
Earmold Design Inc
Earmold Design Inc (EDI), Minneapolis, features its Rebound impression material. Offering a Shore A of 20, super elongation, and exceptional release properties, Rebound has a lower viscosity for pressure-less application and less distortion in the ear canal. It is available in tubs or in individual packages. The company also offers Matrics, a two-part polyvinylsiloxane with a Shore A of 28. It features thixotropic and hydrophobic characteristics that prevent slumping and voids while providing a smooth flow of material. Matrics impressions cure at room temperature within minutes. They are accurate and durable with no problems related to shrinkage, heat, packaging, or shipping. EDI also offers a variety of oto-blocks (cotton/foam), earlights, otoscopes, syringes, mixing cups, and spatulas.
Egger, Duluth, Ga, offers an extensive selection of impression materials and accessories. Its Egger-A, A/I, and A/II products are available in jars, cartridges, and bulk quantity. Impression materials have a very soft consistency, extremely smooth for precise and detailed impressions. The final degree of hardness ranges from 21 to 40 Shore A. Accessories include a line of Riester and Heine otoscopes, ear lights, vented impression pads, and injection systems.
Hal-Hen Company Inc
Hal-Hen, Garden City Park, NY, provides one-stop shopping for impression materials and supplies. The company offers products that range from the Per-Form H/H two-part silicone system to traditional powder and liquid materials. Also available are measuring and delivery syringes, ear dams, earlight configurations, and trimming tools.
Hocks Corp, Portland, Ore, maintains a complete line of impression materials and supplies. Hocks supplies everything you need to take the “perfect impression.” The company’s Silicone 50 x 50 makes approximately 60 to 80 impressions and has an extra soft consistency impression material. Hocks also offers XL 100 Impression system and Pro-Form (Audalin Methacrylate). In addition, the company carries Insta-Float earplug material good for up to 50 impressions and foam dams in sizes small through extra-large. And with the company’s otoscopes and earlights, syringes, and Sani-cloth, impression needs can all be found in one place.
Insta-Mold Products Inc, Oaks, Pa, offers the Dura-A-Sil Equal silicone impression material. With a Shore A of 20, it is reportedly the softest silicone rubber in the hearing health care field, and allows for easier removal from the bony portion of the ear canal, with much less red ear. This vinyl silicone is nonsticky and easy to use, and cures dry without oils leaking out, which allows for easy marking of the impression as well as easier use by the earmold lab or hearing aid manufacturer. Available in 20-ounce economy kits and premeasured mini-packs, Dur-A-Sil Equal offers good stretchability, no shrinkage, and good memory.
Magnatone, Casselberry, Fla, offers several styles of impression materials and syringes for hearing care professionals. Two types of silicone impression materials are available, designed especially for CIC impressions: CopyCast, designed for use with cartridge impression guns, and SunCast, designed for use with silicone syringes. CopyCast flows freely with minimum pressure and cures quickly in the ear, leaving no oil or residue. SunCast comes with two dosing spoons for use with a syringe. It leaves no messy residue and does not shrink or irritate the skin. The company also offers powder and liquid impression materials, oto-blocks, and alcohol wipes.
Mega-Sil is Ambridge, Pa-based Microsonic’s premium two-part, all-purpose vinyl polysiloxane impression material. The accurate, dimensionally stable Mega-Sil comes in bulk kits to make 40, 55, or 110 impressions, and in individual Solos—prepackaged single units with exactly the right proportions. Silasoft is the company’s popular imported vinyl polysiloxane impression material. Packed in 40-unit bulk kits or individual Solos, Silasoft is often the choice for deep-canal impressions. Microsonic’s Micro-Sil is a hand-mixed silicone impression material that is delivered to the ear through a plastic or stainless steel syringe. Its catalyst is mixed with the base material for 20 to 30 seconds until an even, consistent color is achieved. The Microsonic Universal Syringe’s vented double O-ring construction allows smooth operation and exact impressioning. This syringe is self-cleaning after setup, and is available in standard or CIC tip sizes.
Mid-States Laboratories Inc
Mid-States Laboratories, Wichita, Kan, offers a wide variety of impression materials, featuring the Yellow Stuff II silicone injection material. This product does not sag or droop. In addition, the company offers the original, less oily Yellow Stuff, and the one-to-one Accuform tub material, made of a higher viscosity material for nongun dispensers. The green and white materials provide a denser, firmer impression for extra distention of the canal. These materials are also available in the heavy-duty injection style, an addition that requires a heavier duty gun.
Oaktree Products Inc
Oaktree Products, St Louis, offers a wide range of impression materials including Audiologist’s Choice, which has been designed for the clinician as well as the laboratory technician. For the clinician, it has good flow characteristics and is easy to work with. It features a firmer formula, which is preferred for patients with softer tissue, and is also quite durable. It cures in 5 to 7 minutes, and is known for its wax adhesion and grindability.
Oticon Inc, Somerset, NJ, offers a syringeable A-silicone impression material, A-Zoft, with a shore value of 22 after 15 minutes, and 30 after 25 hours. Compared to C-silicones, A-silicone allows more time for preparation (3 minutes versus 1 minute), while the total curing time is shorter (4.5 minutes versus 7 minutes). Total shrinkage of A-silicone is .15% versus .40% for C-silicone and 4.0% for acrylics. A-Zoft comes in a box with 40 sets for 40 impressions, or 2X800 gram jars for 160 impressions.
Precision Laboratories, Altamonte Springs, Fla, offers Flextime Ear Impression Cartridges in cartons of eight. Flextime is a two-part, low-viscosity silicone injection system with a shore value of 35. Each cartridge includes three mixing tips, and single cartridges are available as well as mixing tools, syringes, oto-blocks, cartridge gun, mixing tips, and nearly 500 additional supply items. The company also offers all-make repair/recase services.
Siemens Hearing Instruments
Siemens, Piscataway, NJ, offers the Silhouette Plus impression system, which streamlines the impression-making process. It features an easy-to-use dispensing gun that requires less pressure to squeeze the handle, and is made of polyvinylsiloxane material with dual characteristics—viscosity and thixotropy. Viscosity makes the process smoother, while thixotropy prevents the material from slumping away from the ear. Start-up kits for the Silhouette Plus system include an easy-to-use dispensing gun, four cartridges of polyvinylsiloxane material, and 18 standard mix tips. Refill kits are available that include eight cartridges and 36 mix tips.
Starkey Laboratories, Eden Prairie, Minn, has developed Precise™, a silicone-based impression material created especially for deep canal fittings. Precise was designed for maximum ease of use with as little waste as possible. The vulcanized material is stable and light, and does not shrink, maintaining the exact dimensions and detail of the patient’s ear canal. The Precise impression package comes in an easy-to-use container with mixing tools. The silicone and accelerant material are different colors (white and blue), so it is easy to gauge if the material is mixed sufficiently.
Warner Tech-care Products
Warner Tech-care Products, St Paul, Minn, offers Tickled Pink, a scented, custom-blended silicone impression material. The clean and convenient cartridge material mixes easily through the cannula tip. Nongreasy, Tickled Pink produces a firm impression without distorting the ear canal. Patients can enjoy the fresh and soothing mint scent during the 3- to 5-minute setup. Tickled Pink is a 35 shore material, and is suitable for standard and CIC impression taking. The cartridge will make four or five impressions using the standard style impression gun. Tickled Pink is sold by individual cartridge, allowing the user the choice of mixing tip size. Tickled Pink is just one item in a wide range of impression materials the company supplies. Providing specialists with cartridges and with hand mix materials ensures that a provider’s individual preferences will be met. Warner has ear impression material that has been developed and manufactured for Tech-care Products. These easy-to-mix prelubricated, thixotropic materials are available in several shore values, and cure in 4 to 6 minutes.
Westone Laboratories, Colorado Springs, Colo, offers a full line of impression materials and supplies, from syringes and ear dams to the materials themselves. The company offers three different vinylpolysiloxane products: Silicone Singles (Silicast in single form), available in premeasured units; Silicast packaged in bulk containers with two different color scoops; and SiliClone and SiliClone FIRM, both of which are packaged in convenient cartridges for use with manual or electric impression guns. Westone also offers its Blend powder and liquid impression material.