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How Are 3D Digital Ear Impressions Better Than Silicone Molds?

What is a 3D digital ear impression? Find out how it works and the many ways it's better than traditional silicone ear mold impressions.


What is a 3D digital ear impression? That’s today’s topic on Ask The Hearing Doctors.

All right, Wendy. So I’ve, I’ve had the standard impression that Dr. Ana gave me, uh, uh, in the other room now we’re going 3D. Yes. Ultimate in technology. Yes. All right.

So this is the newest technology. We are the only office that has this in the whole Washington Metro area. So all of our offices and locations have this machine. Wow. Uh, so this is called the Lantos 3D Ear Technology. Um, it’s very, very new technology. It’s very, very neat technology, too.

Who’s this best for, in other words, if I have a standard impression versus a 3D impression?

So this is really good for anyone who could also be a candidate for this, the standard impressions. Um, it works very well, um, in that it’s a lot better, uh, quality of an ear impression. And it’s great for those patients that have custom earplugs that may not be fitting right with standard impressions that we’ve done. This is going to give you a much, much, much better fit.

All right. Well, and do I have anything to worry about?

No. No. If you thought the standard impression was comfortable, this is going to be a breeze.

All right. Well, I’m ready to go if you’re ready to go. Yeah.

So I just want to give you a couple, um, just explain the whole process, just so you know exactly what’s going on. So inside the equipment is just tinted water. So what that’s going to do is it’s going to fill up this rubber piece. So when I put this rubber piece in your ear, it’s going to fill up with that water and it’s going to take the exact shape of your ear. So it’s very, very soft material. Um, while that’s in your ear, there’s a small camera that circles in your ear canal inside the rubber, and it takes hundreds of thousands of pictures. So while I’m taking the impression on the computer, you’re going to see lots of little black dots. Those are all different data points that it’s taking. So it doesn’t expand your ear. You don’t feel it at all. It’s very, very comfortable and it gives a perfect fit.

This sounds like it would be a lot more efficient than the standard ear impression. It is. And are there, are there certain cases where you would, we would prefer to use a standard on somebody versus a 3D?

There are. Um, so they’re in a lot of, that’s going to be dependent on the patient. Um, we do prefer much more to use the digital over the standard – it’s quicker and it’s more comfortable for the patient, but there are certain criteria that a standard impression would work better.

Well, and taking all of those pictures, it just, you’re going to have, pardon the pun – a clearer picture. Yeah. Okay. All right. Well, I guess here we go. Okay.

Well, I got to tell you that is really, really impressive. I mean, that just, I, I am amazed by the technology it’s advanced quite a bit. It really has. And you’re the only practice in the Washington area that has it. Yes. That is phenomenal. Neither procedure was difficult at all and really not invasive. I mean, sure, there was something in my ear there a little bit, but it really wasn’t, it wasn’t bad at all. Um, let’s talk though about the importance of that good fit, because one of the things I was thinking about was if I went to a big box store and just bought my own hearing aids, I don’t have this, I don’t have that perfect fit necessarily. So that seems pretty important here.

Yeah. So having an ear impression is going to completely individualize your product for your ear. It’s not going to fit in anybody else’s ear. Um, and the nice thing too about the 3D ear scanning is it really gives a really perfect fit because there’s no physical material actually stretching or expanding the ear. Uh, one patient I can think of, we have tried multiple standard ear impressions. I think we did like three or four. It never fit right, caused irritation. Once we got our 3D scanner, I did that on her. And she was immediately so much happier with the fit of her product. And it was perfect.

Now I’m curious, are there people that would be candidates for one procedure versus the other?

Sure. So if you’re a minor, the 3D scanning machine, it’s not appropriate, but if you’re an adult, absolutely. We take a look at the case history very closely. We’re looking in your ears as well with the otoscope and we’re investigating if there are any malformations in the ear, congenital malformations, um, history of surgery. So your surgical procedures, um, we’re looking at the health of the eardrum if that you’re draining perhaps or bleeding. So the standards not appropriate. Yeah. And then as far as the 3D ear scanner, it’s great. Especially if someone has diabetes, um, or if they’re taking blood thinner medications, uh, because with the standard ear impression that can sometimes cause irritation or slight abrasions in the ear canal, whereas with the 3D scanner, that’s not a possibility at all.

Well, I must say I was very impressed by both. Um, and I’m amazed at this technology. Um, and you’re the only practice that has it.

I know, I know. So, you know what, I got to done, about a year ago in my ear and I loved it, I said, I have to have the very best for my patients because when I had it done on me, I didn’t feel a thing. And it was so accurate. And that’s what I’m looking for – to have the best technology so that our patients, um, are comfortable and, and, and pleased with not only the procedure of taking an earmold impression, which is the basic thing that we ever do. Um, but it would actually produce the best custom product that they could ever have. And they’re more comfortable. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And the patients that have had it done, they love to sit and watch the computer screen actually create the inside of their ear. And also if we’re sending that out to a manufacturer, it’s much faster than taking the ear impression, the physical one, putting in a box, putting in the mail, shipping it, it goes directly to the manufacturer.

So it’s much, it’s much more efficient all the way around.

All the way around. We love the Lantos 3D scanning machine.

Well, I loved being here today with you guys. It was great. You know, again, learned a lot more information than I ever thought I’d know about hearing loss. Um, and I found out I’ve got a nice clean ear and it’s got a nice little mold to it and I couldn’t be happier. Thank you both for your time. If you’re in the Washington metropolitan area and you’d like to schedule an appointment with Hearing Doctors, click the link in the description or visit

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Dr. Ana Anzola, CCC-A, FAAA, ABA Principal

Dr. Anzola received her Doctorate degree in Audiology (AuD) from the Arizona School of Health Sciences, and her Master’s Degree in Audiology and her Bachelor's Degree in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology from Towson University. She has been a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) since 1995, board-certified by the American Board of Audiology (ABA), and certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).


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