You’ve been waiting for this all week: a Zoom call with your son and daughter-in-law. You’ll have a blast and get caught up with your cherished 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
It’s well known that you can experience crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So when that doesn’t occur, that can be really discouraging. You should have better hearing when you’re using hearing aids, right? But your hearing aids are not helping your hearing. Actually, they’re making everything sound muffled. The hearing aid itself might not even be the issue.
Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?
All right, so, if the hearing aid is working correctly, why does everybody sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a couple of things you can do to try to right the ship, as it were.
If I had a nickel for every problem that earwax has caused (in general, not me personally), I’d be a rich (but still cranky) man. The problem with your hearing aid may be an accumulation of earwax against the microphone. Amplification is muffled when earwax hinders your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound.
Here are some signs that earwax may be the problem.:
- Visually look over your hearing aids. Don’t just put your hearing aid in without getting a good look at it. Clean it completely if you see any earwax.
- Power-up the hearing aid. If the start-up songs and dings all sound normal, but speech is later muffled, the problem is probably with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the likely reason).
Conversely, it’s possible that earwax in your ear rather than on the hearing aid is the problem here. In those instances, 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 issue persists after you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll need to continue troubleshooting.
Infection will be the next thing to think about if earwax isn’t responsible. Sometimes, this could be a common ear infection. Or it may be an inner ear infection. Both are worth scheduling an appointment for an assessment.
Inflammation of the ear canal and middle ear can be the result of both kinds of infection. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this swelling blocks the transmission of sound. Treatments might include some antibiotics. As soon as the infection has cleared, your hearing will usually go back to normal.
You just have 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). 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.
It might also be feasible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be reprogrammed to make up for that. Consider making an appointment for a hearing test if you haven’t had one in the last year. Not only will you be able to be certain your hearing aids are properly 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 your hearing is still muffled, it’s certainly worth taking some time to come in for a consultation. You may find yourself putting your hearing aids in a drawer and turning your TV up again if you don’t resolve this muffling problem. And all of that could begin renewed hearing damage.
Letting it linger is not a good plan. Schedule 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.