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What is the occlusion effect? Is it an issue for noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds?

Lynda Clark, AuD


02 December 2019 - 1.8K Views

The occlusion effect can be experience by placing your fingers in your ear canals and talking. Occlusion occurs when the speaker's own voice resonating within the ear canal is the blocked at the canal opening, by fingers, earwax, a hearing device or anything place within the ear canal, and therefore their voice sounds much louder to them. The occlusion effect can result in as much as a 20 dB increase in the loudness of the speaker own voice within their ear canal. Noise-cancelling will not reduce this if the ear canal is occluded.  
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Audiologist in Hickory

09 December 2019 - 1.66K Views

Occlusion effect takes place when the ear is stopped in and patient feels they are in a bucket. This is a product of not having enough ventilation to the ear-canal. Noise-cancelling headphones can you this perception due to the blockage of sounds around you. You are feeling cut off from the world around you. It is not the same exact thing as having something stuffed inside your ear. Proper fitting of hearing instruments can limit the occlusion effect. How ever not much can be done for earphones unless they are custom made for your ear, which would allow us to put vents in to get rid of the plugged feeling. 

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Carolynne Pouliot, AuD

Doctor of Audiology

02 December 2019 - 1.8K Views

When you plug your ears with your fingers and you can hear your own voice loudly in your own head because there’s no venting. The sound vibrates back and forth between what’s plugging and your ear drum. This is not usually a huge concern with headphones because air can still escape around them and even if it couldn’t, the sound would just come out sounding very base.
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