Claus Nielsen

Research Audiologist

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During our studies, we realised that in order to convince the world at large about the existence of own-voice issues other than occlusion problems, we needed to conduct a large-scale, external substantiation study. We began by developing a dedicated Own Voice Qualities (OVQ) questionnaire at Eriksholm.

Testing 250 people in Germany

Hörzentrum Oldenburg in Germany collected data from 250 OVQ questionnaires filled in during interview sessions. The results clearly showed that hearing-aid users have more problems related to own voice than an age-matched group of normal-hearing people. They had problems with own voice level control, speaking and hearing at the same time, and the use of whispering.

Unexpected results

Much to our surprise, we found no differences in own-voice problems between sub-groups of hearing-aid users with large and small vents. This was unexpected, as there should be a major difference in occlusion effect between the two groups. The most likely explanation is ‘self-selection’ – only people who are comfortable with small-vent fittings have accepted and use these devices. This question was subsequently re-examined in a follow-up study, where the self-selection mechanism was eliminated.

Further reading

Laugesen S, Jensen NS, Maas P, Nielsen C (2010) Own Voice Qualities (OVQ) in hearing-aid users: There is more than just occlusion. International journal of audiology, 50, p 226-236.

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    A large-scale substantiation of own-voice issues in hearing-aid users