You’re having a Zoom call with your grandchild and you’ve been waiting for it all week! You’ll be able to catch up, check-in, and, laugh.
But when you log in you realize, to your horror and disappointment, that you can’t hear very well. Your hearing aids are in, but everything seems muffled.
You can’t believe how disappointed you are.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well recognized that you can achieve crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. That’s why it can be really, really discouraging when that doesn’t happen. Hearing aids are supposed to help you hear better, right? But, lately, every time you’ve turned your hearing aids on, 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.
What’s causing that muffling?
So why do voices sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher if your hearing aids are working correctly? Well, there are several things you can do to correct 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 may have built up against the microphone and that could be the source of your trouble. Amplification is muffled when earwax hinders your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound.
You may be able to determine if earwax is the issue by:
- Visually inspect your hearing aids. Don’t simply put your hearing aid in without taking a good look at it. Clean it thoroughly if you see any earwax.
- Power-up the hearing aid. 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 turn on the hearing aid.
It’s also possible that earwax has accumulated not on your hearing aid but in your ear. Make sure, in those situations, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). The troubleshooting will need to continue if the muffled sound persists even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.
So, if earwax isn’t the issue, the next likely reason will be an infection. This could be a common ear infection. Or it may be an inner ear infection. In both cases, a hearing evaluation is suggested.
Ear infections of several kinds and causes can create inflammation in your ear canal or middle ear. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this swelling blocks the transmission of sound. Treatments may include some antibiotics. Once the infection has cleared, your hearing will usually go back to normal.
You just have to change your battery. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries are drained so be sure to watch for that. Even if your hearing aids are rechargeable this can be true. It’s possible, in many cases, that your hearing aids will become crystal clear again after you replace the batteries with new ones.
If you’re still having trouble hearing, don’t discount the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. If you haven’t had your hearing tested in the last year or so, consider making an appointment. While you’re here having your hearing aid reprogrammed we can also do an inspection and cleaning.
Don’t let it linger
It’s certainly a smart idea to come in for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid still sounds muffled. You may find yourself putting your hearing aids in a drawer and cranking your TV up again if you don’t solve this muffling problem. Your hearing could then begin to sustain further damage.
Letting it linger is not a smart plan. 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!