You’ve been looking forward to this all week: a Zoom call with your son and daughter-in-law. You’ll have a blast and catch-up with your cherished family members.
But when you get online you realize, to your horror and disappointment, that you can’t hear very well. Your hearing aids are in, but everything seems muffled.
You’re incredibly discouraged.
Modern marvels muffled
Modern hearing aids are celebrated for their ability to provide crystal clear sounds. So when that doesn’t happen, that can be very frustrating. Hearing aids are supposed to help you hear better, right? But your hearing aids aren’t helping your hearing. Actually, they’re making everything sound muffled. The hearing aid itself might not even be the issue.
Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?
All right, so, if the hearing aid is functioning properly, why does everyone sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are several things you can do to correct the problem.
You’d be rich if you had a dime 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, thus, the amplification is muffled.
You may be able to tell if earwax is the issue by:
- Visually inspect your hearing aids. Don’t simply 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, be certain to clean out your ears in a safe way (a cotton swab, by the way, is not a safe way). The troubleshooting will have to continue if the muffled sound persists even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.
Infection will be the next thing to consider if earwax isn’t accountable. This could be a common ear infection. Or it might be an inner ear infection. In both cases, a hearing assessment is recommended.
Inflammation of the ear canal and middle ear can be the outcome of both kinds of infection. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this inflammation blocks the transmission of sound. Management may include some antibiotics. Once the infection goes away, your hearing should return to normal.
It’s also very 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 check for that. Even if your hearing aids are rechargeable this can still be true. Sometimes, switching out the batteries with new ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
If you’re still having difficulty hearing, don’t discount the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. Consider scheduling an appointment for a hearing examination if you haven’t had one in the past year. Not only will you be able to make sure 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 your hearing is still muffled, it’s certainly worth taking some time to come in and see us. If your muffled hearing lingers, you might find yourself using your hearing aids less (or cranking up the volume on your TV again). Your hearing may then start to sustain further damage.
So, don’t let it linger. Schedule an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family get-together. You’ll have more fun if you can actually hear what they’re saying!