When we fit a patient with hearing aids, one of the first comments we hear is: “I can hear my own voice”. It may seem like a weird comment, especially if you are looking at this from the outside. But if you think about it, throughout your life, your brain has gotten used to hearing your own voice, so it’s not a signal we pay attention to. We could call this acclimatization. An example of this is when you put a shirt on, you don’t really keep paying attention to the feel of it on your skin.
This same acclimatization process happens when you get hearing aids, and especially with your own voice, because it is the one signal we hear on a daily basis. Audiologists sometimes call this a sensation of occlusion. Basically, the patient can feel like their ears are blocked, and therefore their voice is louder. Another reason they feel it’s louder is because they are now hearing a fuller range of speech due to their hearing loss, and they are also hearing their voice through a new transition path.
Typically, a patient’s brain is able to adapt and their “new voice” because their new normal. This said, if we have a patient that really cannot tolerate their own voice, we may have to make acoustic changes to the hearing aids, to allow for their ear to be more open, therefore trying to alleviate this sensation of occlusion. This, however, is not always simple. Sometimes we have to balance out what is required acoustically for the hearing loss, and the preference of the patient.
Regardless, an Audiologist will be able to guide and counsel you along the way to help you adapt.