You’re having a Zoom call with your granddaughter and you’ve been looking forward to it all week! You’ll be able to catch up, check-in, and, have a laugh.
But when the call begins, you are horrified to find out, you can’t hear what your family members are saying. You’re wearing your hearing aids but things still sound muffled.
You’re incredibly discouraged.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well recognized that you can achieve crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So it can be really, really discouraging when that doesn’t occur. You should have better hearing when you’re using hearing aids, right? But, recently, every time you’ve used your hearing aids, everything has sounded muffled and distorted (and that’s definitely not an improvement over your normal hearing). The issue might not be the hearing aid at all.
Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?
All right, so, if the hearing aid is working correctly, why does everybody sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a few things you can do to try to fix the issue.
You’d be rich if you had a dime for every time earwax caused trouble. The issue with your hearing aid could be a build-up of earwax against the microphone. The earwax impedes your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound and, thus, the amplification is muffled.
Here are some signs that earwax could be the problem.:
- Visually inspect your hearing aids. In other words, have a good look at the hearing aid before you put it in your ear. If you notice any earwax, try to remove it.
- Turning the hearing aid on. The problem is likely to be the microphone (probably wax buildup) and not the speaker if all of the start-up sounds are normal when you power-up the hearing aid.
It’s also possible that earwax has accumulated not on your hearing aid but inside of your ear. In those situations, make sure to clean out your ears in a safe way (a cotton swab, by the way, is not a safe way). The troubleshooting will need to continue if the muffled sound persists even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.
Infection will be the next thing to consider if earwax isn’t responsible. Sometimes, this could be a standard ear infection. Sometimes, it may be an inner ear infection. In both situations, a hearing evaluation is suggested.
Ear infections of various kinds and causes can produce swelling in your ear canal or middle ear. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this inflammation blocks the transmission of sound. Management might include some antibiotics. As soon as the infection has cleared, your hearing will usually go back to normal.
It’s also entirely possible that your hearing aid batteries are in need to be charged. As hearing aids drain, they sometimes begin to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this would be something to check). Even if you have rechargeable batteries this can still be true. Sometimes, changing the batteries with new ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
It may also be feasible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be adjusted to make up for that. Consider making an appointment for a hearing examination if you haven’t had one in the last year. While you’re here having your hearing aid reprogrammed we can also do an inspection and cleaning.
Don’t let it linger
It’s definitely a smart plan to come see us for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid still sounds muffled. If your muffled hearing lingers, you could find yourself using your hearing aids less (or turning up the volume on your TV again). And all of that could start renewed hearing damage.
Letting it linger is not a wise plan. Schedule an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family get-together. You’ll enjoy yourself more if you can actually hear what they’re saying!