Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Audiology (AuD)


School of Communication

First Advisor

Melinda F. Bryan


Today's consumer is increasingly turning to the internet for both healthcare information as well as the purchase of custom hearing protection devices (HPDs). These HPDs are often cast from do-it-yourself home ear impression kits that include a syringe and silicone earmold impression material to be injected into the ear canal. Although not required by law, earmold impressions have typically been taken by medical professionals and other individuals formally trained in the procedures and safety measures of effective earmold impression taking. The main purpose of this study was to determine if do-it-yourself earmold impressions produce HPD's with lower attenuation levels than those HPD's made from impressions taken by trained professionals. Custom HPDs cast from both amateur and professionally made impressions were evaluated by recording both real ear measurements and pure tone thresholds and compared for attenuation differences. The results showed that HPDs made from amateur made impressions showed significantly less attenuation than those made from professional made impressions. These results indicate that custom HPDs cast from amateur made impressions may not adequately provide adequate attenuation of noise leaving the wearer vulnerable to the damaging effects of noise.