You’ve been anticipating this all week: a Zoom call with your grandchildren. You’ll be able to catch up, check-in, and, have a laugh.
But when you get online you notice, 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
Modern hearing aids are known for their ability to provide crystal clear sounds. So when that doesn’t happen, that can be very frustrating. You should have clearer hearing with hearing aids, right? But your hearing aids aren’t helping your hearing. In fact, 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 working correctly? Well, there are a few things you can do to fix the problem.
If I had a dime for every problem that earwax has caused (in general, not me personally), I’d be a rich (but still cranky) man. Earwax might have built up against the microphone and that could be the source of your trouble. The earwax inhibits your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound and, thus, the amplification is muffled.
You may be able to determine if earwax is the issue by:
- Doing a visual inspection. Don’t simply put your hearing aid in without taking a good look at it. If you see earwax, try to clean it off.
- 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 turn on the hearing aid.
It’s also possible that earwax has accumulated not on your hearing aid but in your ear. Make sure, in those instances, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). The troubleshooting will have to continue if the muffled sound lingers even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.
So, if earwax isn’t the issue, the next likely culprit will be an infection. In many cases, this could be a standard ear infection. Sometimes, it could be an inner ear infection. In both cases, a hearing assessment is recommended.
Ear infections of various kinds and causes can produce inflammation in your ear canal or middle ear. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this swelling blocks the transmission of sound. Treatments may include some antibiotics. When the infection has cleared, 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 lose power, they sometimes begin to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this should be something to keep an eye on). Even if your hearing aids are rechargeable this can still be true. Sometimes, changing the batteries with fresh ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
If you’re still having difficulty hearing, don’t ignore the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. If you haven’t had your hearing tested in the last year or so, consider making an appointment. While you’re here having your hearing aid adjusted we can also do an inspection and cleaning.
Don’t let it linger
It’s definitely a smart plan to come in for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid still sounds muffled. You may find yourself putting your hearing aids in a drawer and turning your TV up again if you don’t resolve this muffling issue. And all of that could begin renewed hearing damage.
Letting it linger is not a good idea. Schedule an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family event. If you can actually hear what they’re saying you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more.