The Occlusion Effect
So What is the occlusion effect? Hell, honestly, pure hell. The occlusion effect occurs when our ears are completely blocked. For instance, when a hearing aid completely fills the outer part of the ear canal. It can cause the wearer’s voice to sound loud and boomy in their own head. Many people complain that they sound hollow or it’s like they are talking into a barrel. Chewing food can also sound odd, and even cause discomfort, to someone with occluded canals.
Normally when people talk or chew, the produced sound vibrations escape through the unblocked ear – nothing is heard. But when the ear is blocked by a hearing aid, the vibrations cannot escape and are instead bounced back down to the eardrum, which produces the louder hollow sound.
Open Fit hearing aids are an answer to this problem as they do not occlude the canal. The in-ear section of the aid is not moulded to fit tightly in the way that other types of hearing aids are.
If you think you are suffering from the occlusion effect, visit an audiologist. Depending on the type of hearing aid you have, they may be able to open up the vent to reduce the problem.