In some instances, maybe when you talk, it might sound like you are in a barrel, have a head cold, or your voice reverberates.
This is known as the occlusion effect. It’s when an object blocks the outer part of your ear canal, and as a result, your own voice appears to have a booming, an echo, or a hollow sound when you speak.
This effect is usually bothersome to new hearing aid users, but even long-time hearing aid users can find it annoying.
There are some tips to help reduce these issues.
How to Reduce Occlusion or Echo Noises in Hearing Aids
Bring up this problem with your hearing instrument specialist. There are a few techniques that they can try in order to help reduce the nuisance coming from your hearing aids.
Reprogram the hearing aids
When you contact your hearing instrument specialist, explain what you are noticing while wearing the devices.
A few easy adjustments to the hearing aid program can significantly reduce the occlusion effect.
The typical repair for this is decreasing the amount of low-frequency gain that the hearing aids provide.
Use a larger vent on the hearing aids
If you use in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids or custom earmolds with behind-the-ear (BTE) or receiver-in-canal (RIC) style hearing aids, your earmold probably features a “vent”.
The vent essentially helps circulate air into your ears and makes the noises that you hear sound more natural.
Making the vent’s diameter larger will significantly lower the occlusion effect. Talk to our hearing instrument specialists at Pure Sound Hearing to implement this adjustment.
Trim down the length of the canal on the earmold
The earmold’s “canal” is the piece that rests in the deepest part of your ear canal.
In some cases, shortening the length of the canal portion of the earmold will greatly diminish the occlusion effect.
If you are wondering whether this would be the best solution for you, slightly and carefully pull each of your hearing aids out of your ears by a few millimeters.
If you notice that the occlusion has decreased, this indicates that shortening the length of the canal will be helpful.
Contact our office and let one of our hearing instrument specialists know what issues you are having with your hearing aids, and find out if this solution would fix your problem.
Get New Earmolds
This would be a last resort.
In some cases, hearing aids parts need to be replaced or in this case, rebuilt differently with a new ear impression.
The earmolds may need to securely fit deeper in the ear canal, looser in the canal, or more tapered at the end.
Please be Aware
Sometimes when you make modifications to your hearing aids, when one issue gets fixed, other problems may arise.
For instance, getting a larger vent for the earmold may affect the amount of gain the hearing aid can provide for you.
Shortening the length of the hearing aid’s canal might cause feedback noise or the whistling noise that occurs due to hearing aids that are poorly fit.
The main point is that these are things to take into consideration. The problem may not be completely fixed, and more problems may arise.
The reality is, nearly all hearing aids might cause users to hear an echo. It’s something that users will become accustomed to as long as they practice wearing their hearing aids from the moment when they wake up, to the moment when they are getting ready for bed. Adapting to hearing aids take time, and wearing them as often as possible will help in the long run.
If you or a loved one are experiencing an echo sound with hearing aids, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to schedule an appointment and our hearing instrument specialists will help.