You’ve been waiting for 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 realize, to your horror and frustration, that you can’t hear properly. You’re wearing your hearing aids but things still sound muffled.
You can’t believe how disappointed you are.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well recognized that you can achieve crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. That’s why it can be really, really aggravating when that doesn’t happen. Hearing aids are designed to help you hear better, right? But, lately, every time you’ve turned your hearing aids on, everything has sounded muffled and distorted (and that’s certainly not an improvement over your regular hearing). The hearing aid itself may not even be the problem.
Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?
So why do voices sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher if your hearing aids are working 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. Earwax may have accumulated against the microphone and that could be the source of your trouble. The earwax inhibits 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:
- Power-up the hearing aid. The problem 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.
- Visually inspect your hearing aids. Don’t simply put your hearing aid in without getting a good look at it. Clean it thoroughly if you notice any earwax.
Alternatively, it’s possible that earwax in your ear and not on the hearing aid is the issue here. In those cases, be certain to clean out your ears in a safe way (a cotton swab, by the way, is not a safe way). The troubleshooting will need to continue if the muffled sound remains even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.
So, if earwax isn’t the issue, the next likely reason is going to be an infection. This could be a normal ear infection. Or it may be an inner ear infection. Both are worth setting up an appointment for an assessment.
Inflammation of the ear canal and middle ear can be the result of both kinds of infection. This swelling blocks the transmission of sound and, therefore, your hearing is muffled. Normally, antibiotics will clear this kind of infection up. Once the infection has cleared, your hearing should return to normal.
It’s also very possible that your hearing aid batteries are in need to be charged. As hearing aids drain, they sometimes start to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this would be something to check). This is true even if you have rechargeable batteries. Sometimes, replacing the batteries with fresh ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
If you’re still having trouble hearing, don’t discount the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. 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
If you try all this troubleshooting and nothing really helps, it’s certainly worth taking some time to come in and see us. You might find yourself putting your hearing aids in a drawer and turning your TV up again if you don’t solve this muffling problem. Your hearing could then start to sustain further damage.
So, don’t let it linger. If you are unable to 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. You’ll enjoy yourself more if you can actually hear what they’re saying!