Buying a pair of custom in-ear monitors: It takes under 10 minutes to create mould

The first step to getting a pair of custom in-ear monitors requires users to get a mould of their ears, which involves injecting putty (above) into the ears (left).
The first step to getting a pair of custom in-ear monitors requires users to get a mould of their ears, which involves injecting putty (above) into the ears.ST PHOTOS: LESTER HIO
The first step to getting a pair of custom in-ear monitors requires users to get a mould of their ears, which involves injecting putty (above) into the ears (left).
The first step to getting a pair of custom in-ear monitors requires users to get a mould of their ears, which involves injecting putty into the ears (above).ST PHOTOS: LESTER HIO

Buying a pair of custom in-ear monitors can be a lengthy process, but well worth the effort.

The first step - besides justifying how much a pair costs - is to take a ear impression at a certified audiologist or store, which involves squirting putty into your ears to form a mould.

I was invited to review a pair of custom earphones from local brand Stealth Sonics.

For my appointment, I headed to MyEar Clinic, an audiology clinic at Novena Medical Centre.

The audiologist explained that there might be some discomfort during the process as putty would be injected into my ears to form a mould.

Discomfort first came when he stuffed a piece of foam, with a length of string attached to it, deep into both my ear canals. This lets the audiologist pull the mould out easily once it has hardened.

"It's also to make sure none of the mould gets left in there," he said.

 
 

He then injected putty into both my ears which, in a matter of minutes, hardened into a plastic mould of my ear canals, capturing every crevice.

The moment my ears were filled, the entire world went quiet, since the moulds formed an absolute seal, which would translate to superb sound isolation in my resulting earphones. The entire process took less than 10 minutes.

These moulds would be shipped to the earphone manufacturer in Germany. A laser manufacturing process is used to sculpt a piece of medical-grade acrylic into the shape of the ear moulds.

My Stealth Sonics earphones took about five weeks to be completed. But this process can take between two and eight weeks.

Customisation options abound at every stage.

Users can select from a variety of drivers, which determine how the earphones sound, as well as the colour and look of the ear shells.

They can also customise the face plate of the earphones, which is the side of the shell that is visible when the earphones are in your ears.

SUPERB SOUND AT A PRICE 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2018, with the headline 'It takes under 10 minutes to create mould'. Print Edition | Subscribe