You’ve been waiting for this all week: a Zoom call with your son and daughter-in-law. You’ll have a great time and get caught up with your beloved family members.
But when you log in you realize, to your sadness and disappointment, that you can’t hear very well. Your hearing aids are in, but everything seems muffled.
You can’t believe how discouraged you are.
Modern marvels muffled
Modern hearing aids are known for their ability to deliver very clear sounds. So when that doesn’t happen, that can be really depressing. You should have clearer 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 certainly not an improvement over your regular hearing). The issue may not be the hearing aid at all.
Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?
Ok, so, if the hearing aid is working properly, why does everybody sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a couple of things you can do to try to fix the issue.
If I had a dime for every problem that earwax has caused (in general, not me personally), I’d be a rich (but still cranky) man. Earwax might have accumulated against the microphone and that could be the source of your trouble. The earwax inhibits your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound and, as a result, the amplification is muffled.
You might be able to determine if earwax is the problem by:
- Doing a visual assessment. In other words, have a good look at the device before you put it in your ear. If you notice any earwax, try to clean it off.
- Power-up the hearing aid. The issue is likely to be the microphone (probably wax accumulation) 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 cases, make sure to clean out your ears in a safe way (a cotton swab, by the way, is not a safe way). If the muffled problem continues once you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll have to keep troubleshooting.
Infection will be the next thing to consider if earwax isn’t accountable. This could be a common ear infection. Sometimes, it might be an inner ear infection. Both are worth making an appointment for an evaluation.
Swelling of the ear canal and middle ear can be the outcome of both kinds of infection. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this inflammation blocks the transmission of sound. Management may include some antibiotics. Once the infection clears, your hearing will usually return to normal.
You just need to replace your battery. As hearing aids drain, they sometimes begin to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this would be something to keep an eye on). This is still true even if you have rechargeable batteries. Sometimes, replacing the batteries with fresh ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
If you’re still having problems hearing, don’t discount the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. If you haven’t had a hearing exam in the last year or so, consider scheduling an appointment. Not only will you be able to be certain your hearing aids are correctly tuned, but we will also be able to do a professional clean and check on your device.
Don’t let it linger
If you try all this troubleshooting and nothing really helps, it’s certainly worth taking some time to come in for a consultation. You may find yourself leaving your hearing aids in a drawer and turning your TV up again if you don’t eliminate this muffling problem. Your hearing may then begin to sustain further damage.
So, don’t let it linger. Make an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family event. If you can actually hear what they’re saying you’ll you’ll have a lot more fun.