You’ve been looking forward to this all week: a Zoom call with your grandchildren. You’ll be able to get caught up, check-in, and, have a laugh.
But when you get online you notice, 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. That’s why it can be really, really discouraging when that doesn’t occur. Hearing aids are designed to help you hear better, 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 problem may not be the hearing aid at all.
Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?
All right, so, if the hearing aid is working properly, why does everybody sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a few things you can do to try to right the ship, as it were.
You’d be rich if you had a dime for every time earwax caused trouble. The problem with your hearing aid could be an accumulation of earwax against the microphone. The earwax impedes your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound and, as a result, the amplification is muffled.
Here are some signs that earwax may be the issue.:
- Doing a visual check. In other words, have 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. If the start-up songs and dings all sound fine, but speech is later muffled, the issue is likely with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the likely culprit).
Alternatively, it’s possible that earwax in your ear and not on the hearing aid is the issue here. Be sure, in those cases, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). The troubleshooting will need to continue if the muffled sound persists even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.
Infection will be the next thing to think about if earwax isn’t accountable. In many cases, this could be a standard ear infection. Or it may be an inner ear infection. Both are worth making an appointment for an evaluation.
Swelling of the ear canal and middle ear can be the outcome of both kinds of infection. This swelling 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 has cleared, your hearing will usually return to normal.
It’s also very possible that your hearing aid batteries need to be changed. As hearing aids drain, they sometimes start to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this would be something to keep an eye on). Even if you have rechargeable batteries this can still be true. Sometimes, replacing the batteries with new 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 examination if you haven’t had one in the past year. While you’re here having your hearing aid adjusted we can also do an inspection and cleaning.
Don’t let it linger
If you try all this troubleshooting and nothing really helps, it’s definitely worth taking some time to come in for a consultation. You might find yourself leaving your hearing aids in a drawer and turning your TV up again if you don’t resolve this muffling issue. Your hearing may then start to sustain further damage.
Letting it linger is not a wise plan. If you are unable to clean 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. If you can actually hear what they’re saying you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more.