You’re having a Zoom call with your granddaughter and you’ve been looking forward to it all week! You’ll be able to get caught up, check-in, and, laugh.
But when you get online you realize, to your horror and disappointment, 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 known that you can attain crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So when that doesn’t occur, that can be really depressing. Hearing aids are supposed 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 definitely not an improvement over your normal hearing). The problem might not be the hearing aid at all.
What’s the cause of that muffling?
All right, so, if the hearing aid is functioning properly, why does everybody sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a few things you can do to fix the issue.
You’d be rich if you had a nickel for every time earwax caused trouble. The issue with your hearing aid may be an accumulation of earwax against the microphone. The earwax inhibits your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound and, as a result, the amplification is muffled.
You might be able to determine if earwax is the issue by:
- Power-up the hearing aid. If the start-up music and dings all sound fine, but speech is later muffled, the problem is likely with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the likely culprit).
- Doing a visual assessment. In other words, have a good look at the device before you put it in your ear. Clean it thoroughly if you see any earwax.
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 continues 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 will be an infection. Sometimes, this could be a common ear infection. Sometimes, it might be an inner ear infection. Both are worth setting up an appointment for an assessment.
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 inflammation blocks the transmission of sound. Management might include some antibiotics. As soon as 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. As hearing aids drain, they sometimes start to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this should be something to check). This is true even if you have rechargeable batteries. 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. Think about making an appointment for a hearing exam if you haven’t had one in the past year. Not only will you be able to make sure your hearing aids are correctly programmed, but we will also be able to do a professional clean and check on your device.
Don’t let it linger
It’s definitely a smart idea to come in for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid still sounds muffled. If the muffled sounds linger, you may find yourself wearing your hearing aids less (or turning up the volume on your TV again). And all of that could start causing hearing damage again.
So, don’t let it linger. Make an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family get-together. You’ll enjoy yourself more if you can actually hear what everyone is saying!