Patient Resources & FAQ
You can expect your voice to sound different with a hearing aid. Patients sometimes ask "Am I talking too loud?" or "Does my voice sound louder too you?". Your voice with hearing aids is never louder than without. However, you may perceive your voice to be louder with hearing aids.
Hearing impaired people tend to adapt to their vocal loudness and quality with a hearing loss. They may even be unaware that there was any change in the perception of their own voice, because hearing loss typically occurs very gradually. In contrast to the gradual loss of hearing, a hearing aid immediately replaces much of your lost hearing range with amplified sound. It will take the brain some time to adapt because the change is immediate. With time, most patients learn to monitor their voice and eventually their voice with the hearing aid becomes normal.
In some cases, paticularly with custom in ear devices, patients perceive an "echo" or "talking in a barrel" sensation when first using hearing aids. This sensation can result from the hearing aid blocking the exit of sound through the ear canal as it would normally travel. Depending on the degree and type of hearing loss the sensation may be intolerable to some and not even noticeable to others. If the problem continues there may be modifications which can improve the "echo" sensation. The sensation often becomes less noticeable after a few days of hearing aid use. The Audiologist may prefer that you wear the hearing aids for a week or two prior to attempting any major modifications, as this could result in adverse effects such as increased feedback ("whistle"). If you are unable to adapt, the Audiologist may decided to attempt to reduce the sensation of echo by modifying or adjusting the hearing aid.
Today's popular "open style" hearing aids have greatly reduced our patient's own voice complaints by leaving the ear canal completely open thereby allowing both internal and external sounds to enter and exit without blockage.