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Finally found a solution to refit my custom fitted monitors

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Many years ago I purchased some Westone ES2's, as well as some custom fitted earplugs.  The fit on both was never fantastic (turns out I should have had my mouth wide open while doing the fitting, the audiologist disagreed, I didn't know better at the time), but I lived with it.  Over time the fit became worse, and after a few years the monitors were pretty much unusable.  The earplugs were a bit better, but still didn't work like they should.  The cost of getting them redone was way too much, so I moved on.

 

Well, fast forward to last week when I was talking to someone about casting molds of model parts, and he mentioned that mixing silicone and corn starch together gives you a substance that can be molded like clay, and will completely setup all the way through in a short period of time (unlike using just silicone, which cures from the outside in, and takes a long time if it's not very thin).  I experimented with it, and realized that once you mix equal parts corn starch and silicone, and let it sit for about 10 minutes or so, it has the same consistency as those soft beezwax earplugs.  So, I put a little vasaline in my ears, and shoved a chunk of the stuff in (not very deep, mainly in the outer ear).  Well, after leaving it in there for 30 minutes and then letting it sit on the table for a day, I had some custom made earplugs that cost me all of about 50 cents.

 

This got me to thinking about my custom molded plugs and monitors that didn't fit anymore.  I made a little of the silicone mixture, and wrapped a thin layer around the stem of the earplugs that goes into the ear.  I put the earplugs in my ears, let things setup, and now they fit right!  I did the same thing with the monitors, and now they fit again as well!  The best part of this is that the silicone mixture is flexible when set, and can be peeled or cut off later on if I ever need to redo the seal.

 

So, If there's anyone out there who has some custom fit earpieces that don't fit anymore due to shrinking, or never fit exactly right in the first place, this is worth trying.  The materials are super cheap, and it's pretty easy to do.  Now if only Westone didn't charge close to $50 for a replacement cable, I'd be a happy camper.

post #2 of 10
Glad it worked out for you.

But I would not try it myself.

Jim
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstroTurf View Post

Glad it worked out for you.
But I would not try it myself.
Jim


Well, I figured that they were useless unless I did something, and I wasn't willing to spend the hundreds of dollars it would take to pay to have it done.  This cost me all of about $3 in materials and a few hours of time.  The best part is that it's reversible, if for some reason I wanted to undo it.

post #4 of 10
Comply Foam makes a wrap type of product that would (IMO) have done the same thing.

It is a type of strip material used to increase the sealing surface of hearing aids.

More info could be found at Complyfoampro.com

Check it out, Jim
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstroTurf View Post

Comply Foam makes a wrap type of product that would (IMO) have done the same thing.
It is a type of strip material used to increase the sealing surface of hearing aids.
More info could be found at Complyfoampro.com
Check it out, Jim


I saw those a while back, but they seemed to be more trouble than I wanted to deal with.  I use the comply tips for my shure headphones, and they work great, but I greatly preferred the custom mold of my iem's when they were fitting better.  The beauty of what I've got going now is that it feels just like a custom molded plug should feel.  There isn't anything pressing in a weird way or falling off when I take them out.

post #6 of 10

Hi,

 

I'm interested in trying this on my old Westone musician's plugs.  What kind of silicone are you using.  Like a household silicone sealant?  Then the vaseline doesn't mess it up?

 

Thanks for the info!

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

I don't remember what type of silicone, I got it at Lowes, and it was in a small tube.  I believe it was aquarium safe, or something like that.  I made sure there wasn't anything weird in the ingredients.  The vaseline didn't seem to do anything, I don't even know that it was needed, I just wanted to make sure that nothing got stuck to the inside of my ear.

 

There are a couple of downsides to this.  The first is thickness.  Because of the corn starch, the silicone becomes almost like clay, so you can't get it super thin.  I found that with my monitors they now fit very tight, to the point where they are uncomfortable to wear for a long time.  I don't know if there's any way around this, because if you use less corn starch, it is too sticky to put in your ears (or at least more sticky than I'd like to try).  The second downside is the texture.  It's smooth, but not as slick as just silicone.  I definitely need to use a bit of water or other lubricant to get them into my ears.  With just plain silicone I found that my skin oils would make them a little slick just from regular use.

 

Despite the drawbacks, it's better than spending hundreds getting it done professionally, so I'm still happy.
 

post #8 of 10

I am unceasingly amazed at the risks music lovers will take with their hearing in order to save a few bucks.

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JackKontney View Post

I am unceasingly amazed at the risks music lovers will take with their hearing in order to save a few bucks.


Well, I'd consider $500 to be more than a few, and I never put anything very far inside of my ear, so I don't see the risk.  I tested it on my skin ahead of time, and there was no reaction.  If I needed to make full depth molds of my ear canals than I wouldn't have done it this way.

post #10 of 10

@Bonsai, thanks for the update.  Now I know a bit more before I decide to dive in.  And @Jack, I agree.  But since I already have the plugs, and they're just leaking a little, I wanted to see if there were any options before buying a new pair.
 

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