You’ve been waiting for this all week: a Zoom call with your grandchildren. 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 known for their ability to produce crystal clear sounds. So it can be really, really frustrating when that doesn’t occur. You should have clearer hearing with hearing aids, right? But, lately, every time you’ve turned your hearing aids on, everything has sounded muffled and distorted (and that’s definitely not an improvement over your regular hearing). 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 functioning properly? Well, there are a few things you can do to fix the problem.
You’d be rich if you had a dime for every time earwax caused trouble. The problem with your hearing aid might be an accumulation of earwax against the microphone. The earwax interferes with your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound and, thus, the amplification is muffled.
You may be able to tell if earwax is the issue by:
- Doing a visual assessment. In other words, take a good look at the device before you put it in your ear. Clean it completely if you see any earwax.
- Turning the hearing aid on. If the start-up songs and dings all sound normal, but speech is later muffled, the issue is likely with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the most likely culprit).
It’s also possible that earwax has accumulated not on your hearing aid but inside of your ear. Be sure, in those situations, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). If the muffled problem remains once you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll have to continue troubleshooting.
Infection will be the next thing to think about if earwax isn’t accountable. Sometimes, this could be a standard ear infection. Sometimes, it may be an inner ear infection. Both are worth making 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, consequently, the sound you’re hearing is muffled. Usually, antibiotics will clear this kind of infection up. Once the infection has cleared, your hearing will usually go back to normal.
You just have to change your battery. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries are drained so make sure you watch for that. This is still true even if you have rechargeable batteries. It’s possible, in many cases, that your hearing aids will become crystal clear again after you replace the batteries with new ones.
If you’re still having problems hearing, don’t dismiss the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. If you haven’t had a hearing exam in the last year or so, consider making an appointment. Not only will you be able to be certain your hearing aids are properly programmed, 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 good plan to come see us for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid still sounds muffled. You might find yourself leaving 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 start causing hearing damage again.
Letting it linger is not a good idea. If you can’t clean out some earwax and get hearing again, schedule a hearing test with us today and get everything cleared up before your next family event. If you can actually hear what they’re saying you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more.