Audio46 Guide to Ear Impressions
The process of getting ear impressions done for custom-fit earphones and eartips can be a challenging process if you're just starting out.
Here's a simple guide for the basics.
Physical vs Digital
Ear impressions can be done physically with molds or digitally with an ear scan.
|Physical Mold||Digital Scan|
|Accuracy||up to 100%||up to 80%|
|Requirements||You'll need to find a local audiologist to do the procedure in-person. There can be additional fees involved||You just need to download a free iOS app and follow the instructions for how to scan|
|Fit||Maximum seal because it goes past the second bend of the ear. However, this can be uncomfortable for people new to custom fit||Recreational use ONLY. Do not use if you need serious professional hearing protection. This is strictly for casual wear. It's also much more comfortable for first time users|
|Usage||Can be used across all custom fit products, from silicone to hard shell||Can only be used on silicone custom fit products since the soft material is more forgiving than hard shells, which require higher accuracy|
Physical molds require injecting the ear with a high viscosity material.
Image by Westone
Things to keep in mind when doing ear impressions for custom fit in-ear monitors:
- Each ear that must include the full helix, crus of the helix, tragus, and antitragus
- A 1 to 2 inch bite block is recommended to reduce jaw movement while the impressions are being taken
- Blue impression material is NOT recommended
- If wearing a mask, do NOT use the ear loops during the procedure as they can deform the impression
- Do NOT pre-trim the ear molds when submitting them
Always make sure to send in your impressions no later than 30 days after having them made. Impression material changes over time and can impact the fit of your in-ear monitors.
How to tell it's a good impression
Image by Westone
- The concha is round and full, with no pockets or voids
- The canal length extends past the second bend
- The helix is complete and visible through to the tip
- The tragus has been fully covered
- The otoblock* has imprinted completely across the canal tip
(*Otoblocks are a piece of foam with string attached. They're used to block off the inner ear during impressions in order to protect your ear drums. It it OK to submit ear impressions with the otoblock still attached to the mold. The important part is that it delineates a clear end point to the mold.)
Where to get Physical Impressions Done
Currently Audio46 does not have our own compiled list of audiologists. However, if you're visiting our store (29 West 46th Street, Between 5th and 6th Avenue, New York, NY, 10036), we know an audiologist who can work with you on-site—just let us know in advance!
To find an audiologist near you, we recommend checking out the lists compiled by some of the brands we work with:
Sending Impressions to Audio46
Audio46 is an independent headphone store that offers a variety of custom fit brands.
By ordering from us, you'll get our exceptional customer support and access to all custom fit options by sending in just ONE set of impressions.
If your impressions have been digitized into .STL files, you can simply email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Physical impressions can be sent to:
ATTN: Ear Impressions
29 West 46 Street
New York, NY 10036
We recommend only sending impressions to us after your order has been placed in our system.
As of July 2023, the iOS app made for digital scans can only be accessed at our store (29 West 46th Street, Between 5th and 6th Avenue, New York, NY, 10036).
The scan is FREE with your Audio46 order. The app is connected directly to a lab we work with for fast turnaround. We cannot offer scans for other companies or stores.
No appointment necessary, but please note staff trained to scan ears are only available after 11am.