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 the call begins, you are mortified to realize, you can’t hear what your loved ones are saying. You’re wearing your hearing aids but things still sound muffled.
You’re incredibly disappointed.
Modern marvels muffled
Modern hearing aids are famous for their ability to deliver crystal clear sounds. So when that doesn’t happen, that can be very discouraging. Hearing aids are supposed to help you hear better, right? But your hearing aids are not improving your hearing. In fact, they’re making everything sound muffled. The hearing aid itself may not even be the issue.
What’s causing that muffling?
Ok, so, if the hearing aid is working properly, why does everybody sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a few things you can do to try to fix the issue.
If I had a nickel for every issue that earwax has caused (in general, not me personally), I’d be a rich (but still cranky) man. The problem with your hearing aid might be a build-up of earwax against the microphone. The earwax impedes your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound and, hence, the amplification is muffled.
You may be able to tell if earwax is the problem by:
- Doing a visual check. Don’t simply put your hearing aid in without taking a good look at it. Clean it completely if you see any earwax.
- Turning the hearing aid on. The problem 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.
Alternatively, it’s possible that earwax in your ear and not on the hearing aid is the issue here. Make sure, in those instances, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). If the muffled problem continues once you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll have to continue troubleshooting.
Infection will be the next thing to consider if earwax isn’t accountable. This could be a normal ear infection. Or it might be an inner ear infection. In both situations, a hearing assessment is recommended.
Ear infections of various kinds and causes can generate inflammation in your ear canal or middle ear. This inflammation blocks the transmission of sound and, therefore, your hearing is muffled. Typical, antibiotics will clear this kind of infection up. Once the infection has cleared, your hearing will usually return to normal.
You just need to change your battery. As hearing aids lose power, they sometimes start to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this would be something to check). Even if your hearing aids are rechargeable this can still be true. It’s possible, in many instances, that your hearing aids will be crystal clear again after you replace the batteries with fresh ones.
It may also be feasible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be adjusted to make up for that. If you haven’t had your hearing tested in the last year or so, consider scheduling an appointment. While you’re here having your hearing aid reprogrammed we can also do an inspection and cleaning.
Don’t let it linger
If you try all this troubleshooting and your hearing is still muffled, it’s definitely worth taking some time to come in and see us. You may find yourself putting your hearing aids in a drawer and cranking your TV up again if you don’t eliminate this muffling problem. And all of that could begin renewed hearing damage.
So, don’t let it linger. Schedule an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family event. You’ll enjoy yourself more if you can actually hear what everyone is saying!