You’ve been waiting for this all week: a Zoom call with your son and daughter-in-law. You’ll have a great time and catch-up with your cherished family members.
But when you get online you notice, to your horror and disappointment, that you can’t hear properly. Your hearing aids are in, but everything sounds muffled.
You’re incredibly discouraged.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well recognized that you can experience crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So it can be really, really frustrating when that doesn’t occur. You should have better hearing with hearing aids, right? But, recently, every time you’ve used your hearing aids, everything has sounded muffled and distorted (and that’s definitely not an improvement over your normal hearing). The hearing aid itself may not even be the problem.
What’s causing that muffling?
Ok, so, if the hearing aid is functioning correctly, 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.
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 impedes your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound and, hence, the amplification is muffled.
Here are some signs that earwax may be the problem.:
- Turning the hearing aid on. The issue is likely to be the microphone (probably wax accumulation) and not the speaker if all of the start-up sounds are normal when you power-up the hearing aid.
- Visually look over your hearing aids. Don’t just put your hearing aid in without getting a good look at it. If you notice any earwax, try to remove it.
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 have to continue if the muffled sound remains even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.
So, if earwax isn’t the problem, the next likely culprit will be an infection. This could be a normal ear infection. Or it may be an inner ear infection. In both instances, a hearing assessment is suggested.
Ear infections of several kinds and causes can create inflammation in your ear canal or middle ear. This swelling blocks the transmission of sound and, therefore, your hearing is muffled. Normally, antibiotics will clear this type of infection up. Once the infection goes away, your hearing will usually return to normal.
It’s also entirely possible that your hearing aid batteries are in need to be charged. As hearing aids drain, they sometimes begin to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this would be something to keep an eye on). Even if your hearing aids are rechargeable this can be true. Sometimes, changing 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. If you haven’t had your hearing tested in the last year or so, consider making an appointment. While you’re here getting 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 cranking your TV up again if you don’t resolve this muffling problem. Your hearing could then start 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 you’ll have a lot more fun.