Dear Lipreading Mom,
Can you post a question to your readers about the occlusion you get when
hearing your own voice accompanying hearing loss? When I Google this issue the only thing I can find is that people will often get a voice occlusion when wearing hearing aids (HAs). However, I have it with and without HAs, and it seems to be getting worse. It’s so utterly annoying and at times my own voice is so distorted I don’t want to speak. Has anyone else had this affliction? It is really affecting my quality of life and, although I am learning to deal with progressive hearing loss, this is more insidious. My own voice sounds distorted as if I’m speaking with massive cotton in my ears. It’s awful! And yet I’ve gotten no help from several doctors. They just say it’s part of the hearing loss. Meniere’s disease has been ruled out by doctors…no vertigo, and had a hearing test recently with no significant loss. Yet the ear fullness and voice distortion have risen acutely recently. I have 16% voice recognition in my bad ear (the one that has the most fullness) and 67% recognition in the left ear. I have no headaches and while I have had the fullness since the onset of hearing loss it never was this intrusive. It really is causing anxiety due to it’s impact only when I speak. I’m a teacher and I fear going back to school in the fall.
Voice of Confusion
Voice occlusion is the perception of one’s voice when wearing hearing aids. Sometimes the voice sounds too loud, muffled, or like an echo. While rare, you mention experiencing voice occlusion even when not wearing hearing aids. Since you have sought out other opinions from ENTs and audiologists and no help has been found, I'm wondering if it's even known what the cause of your occlusion is. Have you been diagnosed with any other ear or health issues? Have you taken any medication that could have affected your hearing---or had any inner ear infections?
Continue to seek out as many medical opinions as possible. Then it may be helpful to seek out speech therapy to help you cope with the changing sound of your voice. Finally, take time to relax as stress can also have an enormous impact on hearing issues.
Please keep me posted on what you find out.
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Shanna Groves was diagnosed with progressive hearing loss after the birth of her first child. She was 27. Raised in a hearing family, Shanna traces her hearing loss to a genetic loss on the paternal side of her family. She is mom to three young children, a published author, and speaker. Her books are featured at www.ShannaGroves.com. Shanna blogs about being a hard of hearing mom at http://LipreadingMom.com.