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Why Use earplugs/swim molds?

I recommend custom-fitted earplugs, often called swim molds, for children with ear vent tubes or eardrum perforations for two reasons: (1) to prevent waterborne ear infections, and (2) to protect the sensitive middle and inner ear mechanisms from sudden pressure changes.

When ear vent tubes are in place, the normally sterile middle ear is potentially exposed to bacteria and yeasts residing in the outer ear canal. Water entering the canal, can transport these germs down to the eardrum and through the vent tube lumen into the middle ear or mastoid cavity where an infection may begin. In addition, children swimming in pond, lake, ocean, or inadequately chlorinated pool water, may contract an infection if contaminated water flows through the vent tube.

Ear vent tubes eliminate an important pressure barrier between the outside world and the delicate structures of the middle and inner ear. The intact eardrum and its attached muscles form a buffer to prevent transmission of any sudden pressure changes to the sound transmitting ossicles and the membranes of the inner ear. When vent tubes are in place, a pressure change in the ear canal will directly affect the round and oval window membranes and through them the inner ear. This can occur if your child jumps or dives into the water and falls flat on the water’s surface. This is a particular risk for older children who waterski or windsurf.

Sites for swim mold fabrication


Possible* insurance coverage

Connecticut Children's Medical Center

Department of Audiology at Farmington, Hartford, Glastonbury


$202 pair*#

*-CCMC will submit to your insurance company, but your benefits may not cover. Please contact your insurance company directly to determine your benefit coverage. Code V5264. If not covered, CCMC may discount the price by about 40%, but you may need to complete a financial form.

No insurance billing
Hearing Improvement Center

West Hartford Center

28 North Main Street


$124 pair#

919 Silas Deane Highway


$124 pair#

Hear Again Center

1245 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford


$200 pair#

#-Call for an appointment asap as these take 2-3 weeks to fabricate.

If these locations are not convenient for you, feel free to look online under "Audiologists.”

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