You’ve been looking forward to this all week: a Zoom call with your son and daughter-in-law. You’ll be able to catch up, check-in, and, laugh.
But when you get online you realize, to your sadness and frustration, that you can’t hear very well. Your hearing aids are in, but everything sounds muffled.
You’re incredibly frustrated.
Modern marvels muffled
Modern hearing aids are celebrated for their ability to provide crystal clear sounds. So it can be really, really aggravating when that doesn’t happen. You should have clearer hearing with hearing aids, right? But your hearing aids aren’t improving your hearing. In fact, they’re making everything sound muffled. The hearing aid itself might not even be the issue.
What’s causing that muffling?
So why do voices sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher if your hearing aids are working properly? Well, there are a few things you can do to correct the issue.
You’d be rich if you had a nickel for every time earwax caused trouble. The problem with your hearing aid might be a build-up of earwax against the microphone. Amplification is muffled when earwax obstructs your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound.
You may be able to determine if earwax is the issue by:
- Visually look over your hearing aids. Don’t simply put your hearing aid in without taking a good look at it. If you notice any earwax, try to remove it.
- Turning the hearing aid on. If the start-up songs and dings all sound fine, but speech is later muffled, the problem is probably with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the most likely culprit).
It’s also possible that earwax has built up not on your hearing aid but in your ear. Be sure, in those cases, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). If the muffled issue persists after you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll have to continue troubleshooting.
So, if earwax isn’t the problem, the next likely culprit is going to be an infection. Sometimes, this could be a common ear infection. Sometimes, it might be an inner ear infection. Both are worth making an appointment for an evaluation.
Inflammation of the ear canal and middle ear can be the result of both kinds of infection. This swelling blocks the transmission of sound and, therefore, the sound you’re hearing is muffled. Typical, antibiotics will clear this kind of infection up. As soon as the infection has cleared, your hearing should go back to normal.
You just need to replace your battery. As hearing aids drain, they sometimes start to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this would be something to keep an eye on). This is still true even if your batteries are rechargeable. Sometimes, replacing the batteries with new ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
If you’re still having difficulty hearing, don’t ignore 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. Not only will you be able to make sure 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
It’s certainly a smart plan to come in for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid still sounds muffled. You may find yourself leaving your hearing aids in a drawer and turning your TV up again if you don’t solve this muffling problem. And all of that could start causing hearing damage again.
So, don’t let it linger. If you can’t clear out some earwax and get hearing again, schedule a hearing assessment with us right away and get everything taken care of before your next family event. You’ll enjoy yourself more if you can actually hear what they’re saying!