Claus Nielsen

Research Audiologist

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Own-voice perception with open fittings and small-vent earmould fittings was compared in a balanced crossover field study with 43 experienced hearing-aid users. The results supported the hypothesis that solving occlusion problems makes a significant difference. Results from a previous study comparing two independent user groups had failed to support this hypothesis.

Why this study?

In another study where own voice qualities were explored, no differences in own-voice problems were found between sub-groups of hearing-aid users with large and small vents. This unexpected finding was tentatively explained as being due to self-selection in the two groups. To test this hypothesis, a follow-up study based on a crossover design was conducted.


Study design

The participants were fitted with Oticon Epoq RITE, using in turn either ‘Open domes’ (large vents) or custom-made ‘Micro moulds’ (small vents). Each type was used for one month. At the end of each test period, the self-perceived own-voice qualities were assessed using an abbreviated version of the Own Voice Qualities (OVQ) questionnaire.



The OVQ data revealed a significant decrease in occlusion-related own voice issues in the large-vent (open-fitting) condition, which is in accordance with the general clinical experience with open fittings. The large-vent condition was preferred by most participants - particularly with respect to own voice but also in general. However, some participants preferred the small-vent condition, indicating that the impact of the occlusion effect is highly individual.

Further reading

Laugesen S, Jensen NS, Maas P, Nielsen C (2011). Own Voice Qualities (OVQ) in Hearing-Aid Users. There is more than just occlusion. International journal of audiology, 50(4), p. 226-236.

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