Why does my hearing aid sound unnatural?

When people first experience a hearing aid, the first sensation is often: Hey, I hear myself, how strange my own voice sounds or how unnatural this sounds! They are all right about this. If we start to “improve” your hearing, we will change the situation to which you may have been used to for years. Often a hearing loss develops very gradually and you have little or no notice. Only after a measurement and experience with a hearing aid, you discover what you have been missing all this time. The brain has to adjust itself completely to this again and needs some time for this. The human brain is so incredibly clever that this is soon the case.

Does a hearing aid sound sharp?

The high tones are extra amplified because you miss them. This sharpness is necessary because most of the speech information is contained in the sharp tones. Adjusting this “sharpness” can often mean a deterioration in understanding.

I hear myself talking!

Your voice that comes out of the mouth is also picked up by the microphones in the hearing aid and also sent back into the ear. Again with a timbre that you are not used to yet. If your voice sounds very strange, this may be due to the degree of blockage of your ear canal. Just put your fingers in your ears and talk. Your voice will be very muffled and heady. We call this occlusion. (closing). Actually, the head is a kind of sound box.

How can we resolve these changes?

Many of these side effects often resolve themselves through the habituation over time.When someone has a high-pitched loss, this is often the case with aging, we want to let the low notes come to the ear in such a true-to-life way. and amplify only those pitches you need. We also want to prevent the low tones from being accentuated by that occlusion. So we want to send the sound into the ear but close the ear canal as little as possible. We often do this with open domes (a kind of umbrellas) or a tailor-made earpiece that is open.

Then why does the sound still seem unnatural?

If sound enters the hearing aid via the microphones, it is amplified by the microcomputer precisely for you and sent into the ear via the earmold. This operation in the hearing aid takes a few milliseconds. You can imagine that the sound that comes directly into the ear through such an open earmold is earlier at the eardrum than the hearing aid sound. So there is a difference between the sound that comes through the device and what comes directly into the ear. This creates a kind of delay or “phase difference”. This phenomenon just makes the sound sound unnatural.

Can we make the sound sound natural?

Yes, the bright minds of the various hearing aid manufacturers have started working on this. Take for example the MOMENT from Widex , this is the latest device from Widex that has a new chip that is so incredibly fast that there is hardly any delay between the hearing aid sound and the direct sound, so that one is now able to make it sound really natural. The experience is truly unbelievable. This device also has the option to connect directly to your phone for calling, to use as a remote control and to listen to the music directly in your ears in HiFi stereo!

Be informed by your audiologist, it is and always will be much better.

View the Widex Moment hearing aids with natural sound

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By Yvan Karman