You’ve been anticipating this all week: a Zoom call with your grandchildren. You’ll have a blast and get caught up with your cherished family members.
But when you get online you notice, to your sadness and frustration, that you can’t hear very well. You’re wearing your hearing aids but you still can’t hear anything.
You’re incredibly discouraged.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well recognized that you can experience crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So it can be really, really discouraging when that doesn’t happen. You’re supposed to have clearer hearing with hearing aids, right? But, lately, 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 might not be the hearing aid at all.
Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?
So why do voices sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher if your hearing aids are functioning correctly? Well, there are a couple things you can do to fix the problem.
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. Earwax may have accumulated against the microphone and that may be the source of your problem. Amplification is muffled when earwax obstructs your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound.
You might be able to determine if earwax is the issue by:
- Turning the hearing aid on. 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.
- Visually look over your hearing aids. In other words, take a good look at the device before you put it in your ear. If you notice any earwax, try to remove it.
It’s also possible that earwax has accumulated not on your hearing aid but in your ear. In those situations, be certain to clean out your ears in a safe way (a cotton swab, by the way, is not a safe way). If the muffled problem remains after you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll need to keep troubleshooting.
Infection will be the next thing to consider if earwax isn’t responsible. This could be a normal ear infection. Or it may be an inner ear infection. Both are worth scheduling an appointment for an assessment.
Ear infections of several 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. Normally, antibiotics will clear this type of infection up. Once the infection clears, your hearing should go back to normal.
You just need to change your battery. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries are drained so make sure you watch for that. Even if you have rechargeable batteries this can still be true. Sometimes, switching out the batteries with fresh ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
It might 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 making an appointment. While you’re here getting your hearing aid reprogrammed we can also do an inspection and cleaning.
Don’t let it linger
It’s definitely a smart idea to come in for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid is still muffled. You might 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 may then start to sustain additional 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 everyone is saying you’ll you’ll have a lot more fun.