People can now make customised earmolds with the launch of the country’s first earmold laboratory at the National Referral hospital in Thimphu today. Earmold which is attached to hearing aids enhances sounds that enter the ear. The health ministry in collaboration with the United Nations Technology Bank and Medtronic LABS launched the laboratory.
Earmolds are recommended for those with more severe to profound hearing issues as they provide excellent sound quality. Currently, most people in the country just make use of hearing aids.
To make an earmold, an impression of the ear canal is made so that the earmolds fit perfectly into the ear canal. The procedure usually takes about a week or two to complete.
“Impression is just to take the model, as each patient will have a different shape and size of the ear canal. Ultimately the aim is to have an ear mold device that will exactly snug inside or fit inside the patient’s ear canal. With the system of ear mold, we are making sure that whatever sound is collected by the hearing aid is properly conducted to the ear,” said Dr Phub Tshering, the Head of the Department of ENT and Head and Neck Surgery at the JDWNRH.
Meanwhile, the health ministry is currently carrying out hearing screening for children aged below 14 years under the ministry’s Hear, Listen and Speak program.
The program will provide a hearing aid with an earmold for free to those detected with hearing loss. The initiative is expected to enhance the early detection of preventable hearing difficulties in children.
“Through this project, we are going to the community level to screen patients for hearing loss. We have a screening part as well as an intervention part. We are going to screen newborn babies, we have some babies who are born deaf and we want to take the opportunity to screen those babies who are born deaf,” said Dr Phub Tshering.
According to the health ministry, more than 17,000 people have some form of hearing disorder in the country. And with the availability of such a service, it is expected to provide timely diagnosis and treatment services.
Edited by Sonam Pem