Does your voice ever sound strange to you? Do you sometimes feel like you’re talking too loud, but people are struggling to hear you? Does your voice seem to echo? You may be experiencing what’s known as the Occlusion Effect.
The Occlusion Effect is usually experienced by new hearing aid wearers, but can happen to anyone who wears a hearing aid. It occurs when the earmold completely blocks the ear canal. This causes your voice to vibrate and echo in your ear, making you sound louder than you really are. Your voice “booms” inside your ear and you feel like you’re screaming.
This distortion can be quite unnerving. Don’t give up though. There are several fixes that can be done. First and foremost, see your audiologist. While most hearing aids are built with pressure vents in them, these vents are usually not enough to dispel all the vibrations that happen. Your audiologist may add vents to your earmold, allowing the rest of the blocked noise to escape. Another way to circumvent the occlusion is to have your audiologist adjust your hearing aid programming. Sometimes just a few decibels tweaked helps remove these noise vibrations.
For more information on the Occlusion Effect, visit these websites:
Hear-It: My Voice Sounds Strange
RERC: The Occlusion Effect
Deafness and Hearing Aids: The Occlusion Effect