When you first start wearing hearing aids, your ears may feel “plugged”. This is known among hearing professionals as “occlusion”. The occlusion effect occurs when low frequency sounds like your own voice, are trapped in the ear canal by the hearing aid blocking the ear canal. This sound is transmitted to the cochlea and often causes a feeling of plugged ears, or the sensation that your voice is boomy, hollow, or like talking in a barrel.
“Open fit” hearing aids like receiver-in-canal hearing aids can help reduce the risk of occlusion and deliver sufficient amplification or “gain” for people with mild to moderate hearing losses. These types of hearing aids leave the ear canal open so that low-frequency sounds can enter the ear naturally, while other frequencies can be amplified through the hearing aid.
However, such hearing aids may not always be appropriate for people with hearing loss in the lower frequencies. While high-frequency hearing loss is more common, especially with age-related hearing loss, some low-frequency hearing loss can also occur along with high-frequency loss, or with conditions like Meniere’s Disease or infections. Open fit hearing aids may also present a challenge for people who are not able to get enough gain in the upper frequencies without feedback or whistling. In such cases, an audiologist may recommend a closed ear mold with a small vent, which prevents sounds from escaping out of the ear canal but can contribute to a “plugged” feeling.
The Earlens Contact Hearing Solution offers a wide vent in the ear mold, which can help reduce the risk of feeling plugged, while delivering high levels of gain across a broader frequency range than any other hearing aid on the market. Unlike hearing aids, Earlens transmits sound using pulses of energy, and activates the natural hearing system by directly vibrating a custom Lens that is placed non-surgically on the eardrum. See how Earlens works. For some users, this can offer more natural sound quality without the occlusion effect that typically comes with closed ear molds on hearing aids.
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