What are the benefits of the EasyView Otoblock?
Discreet hearing aids are possible when the earmold impression from the end user is high quality and deep.
In the past, this type of impression had been difficult to obtain because the provider positions the otoblock deep in the canal without knowing how close they are to the ear drum. The EasyView Otoblock has a transparent lens at the end that allows for full visualization during the entire placement and enables an average of 6mm more information. This enables the generation of the most discreet custom devices, like the Virto B-Titanium.
Who is a “modeler” and how are they involved in the creation of custom products?
A modeler is an individual who is responsible for interpreting a 3D scan of an earmold impression. This scan is incorporated into Phonak’s proprietary software, “RSM”, which is used to appropriate the components of a device within a custom product.
The modeler takes the hearing aid specifications from the order form and creates a blueprint for how the specific components ordered will fit inside the device. The two tools the modeler needs are the 3D scan and the order form. Unfortunately, the modeler does not have the privilege of being present at the hearing evaluation, conducting otoscopy, and wasn’t involved in the hearing aid selection process. In order to bridge this gap, a deep ear impression is necessary as it provides the most anatomical information. This in turn can be leveraged to incorporate all of the specifications requested.
What are the benefits of a good impression?
When ordering custom products, a good impression is paramount to achieving a quality device. A good impression is past the second bend, shows the path towards the ear drum, includes all anatomical structures (aperture, tragus, antitragus, and concha), and is free of bubbles. When an impression meets these quality criteria there are several benefits: the device is the smallest possible given the anatomical restrictions of the user, a well-fitting device is comfortable and is less likely to have feedback issues, the receiver tube angle is appropriate and is less likely to collide with the canal wall, and a well-fitting device is less likely to migrate while chewing and talking.
For clients with more power needs, these benefits are exponentially more critical.
How does the EasyView Otoblock stay in the ear when removing the otoscope?
When the appropriately sized EasyView Otoblock is selected, the seal will make enough contact with the skin that it will retain its position in the ear canal as you move the otoscope laterally. In the event that the EasyView Otoblock slides out with the otoscope, it is possible that it was not inserted deep enough in the ear canal to make adequate contact with the skin. Consider upsizing the otoblock if this occurs. If you have difficultly attaching the EasyView Otoblock to the specula, the specula diameter may exceed 3.0mm and is not compatible with the EasyView Otoblock.
Why do I have to use pediatric specula?
The EasyView Otoblock comes in three sizes for adult non-surgical ears: small, medium, and large. It utilizes a Lyric seal, so if you are familiar with Lyric sizing, you can apply that experience to the sizing selection of the EasyView Otoblock.
Otherwise, we recommend that you select the size of the otoblock the way you do with traditional otoblocks, incorporating your initial observations during otoscopy. You can also hold the EasyView Otoblock next to the ear canal aperture and make a first estimate on the most appropriate size by comparing aperture diameter to otoblock diameter.
How can I be sure I am getting a proper seal?
A proper seal can be confirmed by following this protocol: check for size, folds, and direction. After initially placing the otoblock and moving the otoscope laterally, if the EasyView Otoblock retains its position in the ear canal then you have likely selected the appropriate size. Perform traditional otoblock otoscopy and ensure that the otoblock is making adequate contact with the skin all the way around. If major gaps or folds are occurring, reposition the otoblock. Finally, check for the correct direction. The umbo of the tympanic membrane should be directly in the center of the lens when the EasyView Otoblock is at the correct angle. This will ensure that the otoblock is pointed directly at the eardrum and that the resulting impression will reflect the direction and the bends of the ear canal.
Why does the Pressure Equalizing (PE) tube have to lie along the bottom of the ear canal wall during insertion, but ends up in the center of the ear mold impression?
The Lyric seals on the EasyView Otoblock are not perfectly round; they are slightly oval and conical to mimic the natural dimensions of the ear. The PE tube lies along the bottom of the ear canal to ensure that the oval is at the appropriate angle to fit perfectly. If you insert the EasyView Otoblock with the PE tube at a different location, there may be gaps or folds in the seal. If this is not corrected prior to inserting the impression material, the typical consequences of gaps or folds could ensue.
Correct orientation also helps prevent air pockets that could generate bubbles in the impression. Once the correct placement of the EasyView Otoblock is achieved, you will then want to insert the impression material. The PE tube is slightly thicker and more rigid than traditional PE tubes in order to add stability. This added thickness could result in missing canal information if left along the bottom of the ear canal, as the EasyView Otoblock is not removed from the impression during the scanning process at the manufacturer.
To prevent a loss in critical information, as you insert the impression material into the ear canal, gently move the PE tube towards the center of the material. This ensures that no part of the PE tube is visible on the exterior of the earmold impression. Ideally, the PE tube should end up in the middle of the impression when it is hardened.
What existing impression materials work the best with the EasyView Otoblock?
The best impression material for the EasyView Otoblock is the Dreve Otoform A softX. We recommend this material because it is low viscosity. Low viscosity (LV) materials are ideal for deep impressions because they flow easily, cure at an ideal rate, and will not harden prior to reaching the otoblock. Secondly, in our modeling software, RSM, we calculate our waxing tolerances based off this material.
Because LF material does not expand in the ear canal as it hardens, it provides the most accurate representation of the anatomy during the modeling process. Since titanium shells are not modifiable in the clinic, we want to avoid building a shell that is too large. While you can technically use any impression material with the EasyView Otoblock, you will get the best results from a preloaded cartridge (injector) with low viscosity material.
Can I use the hand mixed material to make an impression?
Technically, hand mixed materials can be used with the EasyView Otoblock. However, this type of material typically hardens more quickly and is not ideal for deep canal impressions.
What is the cost for an EasyView Otoblock?
As the EasyView Otoblock has a lens to allow for full visibility and a PE tube for patient comfort, it will cost about 50% more than a traditional PE tube otoblock sold from other manufacturers.
What happens if the EasyView Otoblock lens fogs during insertion?
Sometimes excessive moisture in the ear canal can cause our otoscope lens to fog. The same is true with the lens of the EasyView Otoblock. In the event that this occurs during insertion, simply wait approximately five seconds to allow the lens to clear and then continue placement.
How long will it take to become proficient at using the EasyView Otoblock?
We have found that most Health Care Providers feel proficient with the EasyView Otoblock after conducting approximately three to five impressions.
If you would like additional training or guidance with the EasyView Otoblock, please review the user guide or contact your local Phonak trainer.
What is the likelihood that the lens of the EasyView Otoblock comes off or breaks during insertion or while injecting the impression material?
The material selected for the lens of the EasyView Otoscope was specifically selected for its durability.