You’re having a Zoom call with your granddaughter and you’ve been looking forward to it all week! You’ll have a blast and catch-up with your beloved family members.
But when the call begins, you are mortified to realize, you can’t hear what your family members are saying. Your hearing aids are in, but everything sounds muffled.
You can’t believe how disappointed you are.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well recognized that you can attain crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. That’s why it can be really, really aggravating when that doesn’t happen. You’re supposed to have better hearing with hearing aids, right? But your hearing aids are not helping your hearing. Actually, they’re making everything sound muffled. 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 functioning properly? 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 issue that earwax has caused (in general, not me personally), I’d be a rich (but still cranky) man. The problem with your hearing aid could be an accumulation of earwax against the microphone. Amplification is muffled when earwax hinders your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound.
You may be able to tell if earwax is the issue by:
- Power-up the hearing aid. 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 turn on the hearing aid.
- Visually look over your hearing aids. Don’t simply put your hearing aid in without getting a good look at it. Clean it completely if you notice any earwax.
It’s also possible that earwax has built up not on your hearing aid but in your ear. Be sure, in those instances, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). The troubleshooting will have to continue if the muffled sound remains even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.
So, if earwax isn’t the problem, the next likely culprit is going to be an infection. This could be a common ear infection. Sometimes, it may be an inner ear infection. In both situations, a hearing evaluation is suggested.
Swelling of the ear canal and middle ear can be the outcome of both kinds of infection. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this inflammation blocks the transmission of sound. Management might include some antibiotics. Once the infection clears, your hearing should return to normal.
It’s also entirely possible that your hearing aid batteries need to be changed. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries are drained so make sure you check for that. 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.
It might also be possible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be adjusted to compensate for that. If you haven’t had a hearing exam in the last year or so, think about scheduling 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 see us for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid is still muffled. You might find yourself leaving your hearing aids in a drawer and cranking your TV up again if you don’t solve this muffling issue. 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. You’ll enjoy yourself more if you can actually hear what they’re saying!