You’re having a Zoom call with your granddaughter and you’ve been looking forward to it all week! You’ll have a great time and get caught 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’re incredibly frustrated.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well recognized that you can attain crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So it can be really, really discouraging when that doesn’t happen. You should have better hearing when you’re using hearing aids, right? But your hearing aids aren’t helping your hearing. Actually, they’re making everything sound muffled. The issue may not be the hearing aid at all.
What’s the cause of that muffling?
So why do voices sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher if your hearing aids are functioning correctly? Well, there are several things you can do to fix the issue.
You’d be rich if you had a nickel for every time earwax caused trouble. Earwax might have built up against the microphone and that could be the source of your trouble. Amplification is muffled when earwax blocks your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound.
Here are some indications that earwax may be the problem.:
- Doing a visual check. Don’t simply put your hearing aid in without taking a good look at it. If you see earwax, try to clean it off.
- Power-up the hearing aid. If the start-up music and dings all sound fine, but speech is later muffled, the issue is probably 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. In those situations, be certain to clean out your ears in a safe way (a cotton swab, by the way, is not a safe way). If the muffled problem continues after you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll have to keep troubleshooting.
So, if earwax isn’t the problem, the next likely culprit will be an infection. In many cases, this could be a standard ear infection. Or it may be an inner ear infection. Both are worth setting up an appointment for an evaluation.
Swelling of the ear canal and middle ear can be the result of both kinds of infection. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this swelling blocks the transmission of sound. Typical, antibiotics will clear this type of infection up. Once the infection goes away, your hearing will usually go back to normal.
It’s also very possible that your hearing aid batteries are in need to be charged. As hearing aids lose power, they sometimes begin to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this would be something to check). This is still true even if your batteries are rechargeable. It’s possible, in many situations, that your hearing aids will become crystal clear again after you change the batteries with fresh ones.
It may also be feasible 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 making an appointment. While you’re here getting 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 in for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid is still muffled. If the muffled sounds linger, you might find yourself using your hearing aids less (or cranking up the volume on your TV again). Your hearing may then begin to sustain additional damage.
So, don’t let it linger. Schedule an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family event. If you can actually hear what everyone is saying you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more.