You’re having a Zoom call with your granddaughter and you’ve been anticipating it all week! You’ll have a blast and get caught up with your cherished family members.
But when you get online you realize, to your sadness and disappointment, that you can’t hear properly. Your hearing aids are in, but everything seems muffled.
You can’t believe how frustrated you are.
Modern marvels muffled
Modern hearing aids are famous for their ability to deliver crystal clear sounds. That’s why it can be really, really frustrating when that doesn’t occur. Hearing aids are designed to help you hear better, right? But, recently, every time you’ve used your hearing aids, everything has sounded muffled and distorted (and that’s certainly not an improvement over your normal hearing). The issue may not be the hearing aid at all.
What’s the cause of that muffling?
So why do voices sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher if your hearing aids are functioning correctly? Well, there are a couple of things you can do to try to fix the issue.
You’d be rich if you had a nickel for every time earwax caused trouble. Earwax may have accumulated against the microphone and that may be the source of your trouble. The earwax impedes your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound and, as a result, the amplification is muffled.
You may be able to tell if earwax is the problem by:
- Doing a visual assessment. In other words, take a good look at the device before you put it in your ear. If you see earwax, try to remove it.
- Turning the hearing aid on. The issue is likely to be the microphone (probably wax buildup) and not the speaker if all of the start-up sounds are normal when you power-up the hearing aid.
Conversely, it’s possible that earwax in your ear rather than on the hearing aid is the issue here. In those instances, 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 issue continues after you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll need to keep troubleshooting.
Infection will be the next thing to think about if earwax isn’t responsible. In many cases, this could be a common ear infection. Sometimes, it might be an inner ear infection. Both are worth setting up an appointment for an assessment.
Swelling of the ear canal and middle ear can be the result of both kinds of infection. This inflammation blocks the transmission of sound and, therefore, the sound you’re hearing is muffled. Normally, antibiotics will clear this type of infection up. Once the infection clears, your hearing will usually go back to normal.
You just have to replace your battery. As hearing aids drain, they sometimes start to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this would be something to check). Even if you have rechargeable batteries this can still be true. It’s possible, in many instances, that your hearing aids will be crystal clear again after you change the batteries with fresh ones.
It may also be feasible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be reprogrammed to make up for that. Think about scheduling an appointment for a hearing exam if you haven’t had one in the past year. While you’re here getting your hearing aid adjusted 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 still sounds muffled. If the muffled sounds linger, you might find yourself using your hearing aids less (or turning up the volume on your TV again). And all of that could begin renewed hearing damage.
So, don’t let it linger. If you can’t clean out some earwax and get hearing again, schedule a hearing test with us right away and get everything cleared up before your next family event. You’ll have more fun if you can actually hear what they’re saying!