You’ve been waiting for this all week: a Zoom call with your grandchildren. You’ll be able to catch up, check-in, and, laugh.
But when the call begins, you are mortified to find out, you can’t hear what your loved ones are saying. Your hearing aids are in, but everything sounds muffled.
You can’t believe how discouraged you are.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well recognized that you can attain crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So when that doesn’t happen, that can be really frustrating. You should have better hearing when you’re using hearing aids, 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 hearing aid itself may not even be the issue.
What’s the cause of that muffling?
All right, so, if the hearing aid is functioning correctly, why does everyone sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a couple things you can do to fix the issue.
You’d be rich if you had a dime for every time earwax caused trouble. The issue with your hearing aid might be a build-up of earwax against the microphone. Amplification is muffled when earwax obstructs your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound.
You might be able to tell if earwax is the issue by:
- Visually look over your hearing aids. Don’t just put your hearing aid in without taking a good look at it. If you see earwax, try to remove it.
- 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.
Conversely, it’s possible that earwax in your ear and not on the hearing aid is the problem here. In those instances, make sure to clean out your ears in a safe way (a cotton swab, by the way, is not a safe way). If the muffled issue persists after you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll need to continue troubleshooting.
So, if earwax isn’t the issue, the next likely reason is going to be an infection. In many cases, this could be a common ear infection. Or it may be an inner ear infection. In both instances, a hearing evaluation is recommended.
Ear infections of various kinds and causes can generate swelling in your ear canal or middle ear. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this swelling blocks the transmission of sound. Normally, antibiotics will clear this type of infection up. When the infection has cleared, your hearing will usually return to normal.
It’s also altogether possible that your hearing aid batteries are in need to be charged. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries get low so be sure to watch for that. Even if you have rechargeable batteries this can still be true. It’s possible, in many cases, that your hearing aids will become crystal clear again after you replace the batteries with fresh ones.
It could also be feasible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be reprogrammed to make up for that. If you haven’t had your hearing tested 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
If you try all this troubleshooting and nothing really helps, it’s definitely worth taking some time to come in and see us. You may find yourself putting your hearing aids in a drawer and cranking your TV up again if you don’t eliminate this muffling problem. Your hearing could then start to sustain additional damage.
Letting it linger is not a smart plan. If you are unable to clean out some earwax and get hearing again, schedule a hearing exam 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.