I Prototyped My First Custom Hearing Aids

Nick Morgan-Jones
March 22, 2021


Hey, I’m Nick and I’m designing my own pair of custom hearing-enhancing wearables in my bedroom and we’re diving straight into 3D-modelling. So I’ve already got a 3D-model. If you haven’t seen this, I made a website to show how I think we should be talking about hearing technology, not as medical devices, but instead as lifestyle products.

So, to make this I needed a 3D-model of the device that just looks good so I can Photoshop it onto some images for the website. Credit goes to a great industrial designer that I went to university with; Phil Bridge, for the beautiful 3D-modelling and renders. Together, we just really eyeballed the sizing and fit of this completely.

I think we both have no idea whether it’s actually going to fit in real life. So I think we just need to print it out and see. The cool thing is that you can print these out with a 3D-printer. This is just a printer that doesn’t print — it prints plastic. That allows us to make non-functional plastic models that we can just try on and see if it fits right.

Right, so we have the first 3D-printed model of the Decibels™ device. How cool is that? Amazing, so, let's try it on.

Yeah, it doesn’t work. It's like digging into the back of my ear. Ok, so I think this ear hook is just way too small. All right, let’s try something else. Ok, so I printed another one and this one. I actually just put the ear hook from a pair of headphones that I found and just kind of sellotaped it onto the 3D-printed main body. And I mean, it kind of fits a bit better. It’s like a little bit more secure, but it’s really not perfect.

Ok, so I found this 3D-model of some Beats by Dre Power Beats by Dre earbuds, and they’ve sold like millions of these. So I’m pretty sure that the ear hook is going to be really good. So why not just take it and put it on our design and kind of see if it works. Ok, so I just printed that one out and it's fantastic.

Ok, here’s one where the ear hook is actually molded to my ear and I mean like it’s better than the other ones, but I don’t think this ear hook thing is really working.

I think I need to find a new shape that fits...

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