Audiology ToTT: Sticky Situations with Tubing

AudiologyCommunityLogo200x83A question was recently posted on the AAA’s Audiology Community by a member seeking advice as to how remove tubing that has become “glued” to the earhook of a BTE without damaging the earhook. Fellow Audiology colleagues (aka #AudPeeps on Twitter) offered very good suggestions, resulting in today’s Audiology Tips of The Trade (ToTT) blog post.  Here is a general recap of what audiologist recommended:

shaper1. If you have access to a hot tubing shaper/blower, hold the tubing/earhook junction in front of the hot blower for a few seconds until you see the tube soften up. It should slip off easily then. (Carol Black, Pittsburgh, PA)

debonder2. Get a debonder called UN-Cure. It has worked for me. (Sandra Rabin, Harrisburg, PA)

3.  I still use Adco Span.  You can dip the hook and tubing in the liquid for a few seconds at a time or use a brush to “paint” it on.  Do not leave the tubing and hook sitting in the mixture for a long time; not only does it expand the plastic but it will also eat away at it. I learned this the hard way when I was first starting out and decided to soak the tubing for an hour! (Esther Coffin Miller, Baltimore, MD)

blade4. We use a straight edge razor blade to slice it open from the top, along the earhook. This opens it up enough that you can then peel it off. (Cynthia Modrosic, Union MO)

5. I know this may sound simple but why not unscrew the earhook and just replace it? (Frank Talerico, Margate, FL)

cement bagThis interaction led another Audiologist to pose a related question: “Is there a tubing that lasts longer that 6 months without hardening into near concrete consistency?”  Hardening of earmold tubing is a by-product of the tubing making contact with the patient’s skin.  Various body oils, skin pH, and/or body temperature will cause tubing to harden.  So, how can Audiologists minimize the need to dritybechange out tubing? According to the majority of Audiologist who responded, there is a specific tubing that will last for about 1 year sold under the trade name DRI-Tube. This tubing has been specifically designed to be resistant to moisture build-up in tubing.  It is harder to cut than traditional vinyl tubing so as mentioned by 30-year veteran James Welsh of Holland, MI, make sure you have access to a pair of really good, tough scissors, a surface wire cutter used in electronics, or a straight-cut toe nail cutter. So, there you go!  A few Audiology ToTTs to make your life a little easier! If you are a member of AAA, be sure to check out their Audiology Community to read and/or post messages in one of the many discussion groups.

About AU Bankaitis

A.U. Bankaitis, PhD is a clinical Audiologist with extensive clinical, research, and business experience within the hearing industry. Dr. Bankaitis created this blog to educate her colleagues on viable product solutions for their patients and/or clinical practice.
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4 Responses to Audiology ToTT: Sticky Situations with Tubing

  1. cmcniece says:

    I’ve never had that much trouble removing tubing from an earhook. An Xacto knife takes care of things pretty quickly. What has been more difficult is removing tubing that was glued into earmolds. Any suggestions on that?

    • aubankaitis says:

      if you can’t do with with a reamer, loosen as much as you can and then soak the earmold/tubing in hot water for about 5 minutes. That usually has worked for me.

      • Marvin says:

        To get out tubing stuck in earmold I recommend putting earmold in just boiled water before using reamer because it loosens the glue and most times pulls out intact. If u reamer first, it can leave little bits of tubing inside
        Btw. I have used dri tube and like it, but it does harden, just not as quickly.
        Good forum!

        • aubankaitis says:

          Marvin, thanks for sharing your tips and your comment about DRI-tubes; yes, they eventually harden but more like after a year versus 5-6 months of other tubes. Have a great weekend!

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