You’re having a Zoom call with your granddaughter and you’ve been anticipating it all week! You’ll have a great time and catch-up with your beloved family members.
But when you log in you notice, to your horror and disappointment, that you can’t hear properly. Your hearing aids are in, but everything sounds muffled.
You can’t believe how frustrated you are.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well known that you can experience crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. That’s why it can be really, really discouraging when that doesn’t occur. You should have better hearing with hearing aids, right? But your hearing aids are not improving your hearing. Actually, they’re making everything sound muffled. The hearing aid itself may not even be the issue.
What’s the cause of that muffling?
All right, so, if the hearing aid is working correctly, why does everyone sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a few things you can do to try to fix the issue.
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 may have accumulated against the microphone and that may be the source of your trouble. Amplification is muffled when earwax obstructs your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound.
Here are some signs that earwax could be the issue.:
- Visually look over your hearing aids. Don’t just put your hearing aid in without taking a good look at it. Clean it completely if you notice any earwax.
- 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.
Alternatively, it’s possible that earwax in your ear rather than 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). The troubleshooting will need to continue if the muffled sound remains 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 normal ear infection. Sometimes, it might be an inner ear infection. Both are worth making an appointment for an evaluation.
Ear infections of several kinds and causes can produce swelling in your ear canal or middle ear. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this swelling blocks the transmission of sound. Normally, antibiotics will clear this kind of infection up. Once the infection goes away, your hearing should return to normal.
You just need to replace your battery. 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). This is true even if you have rechargeable batteries. Sometimes, replacing the batteries with fresh ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
It may also be feasible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be adjusted to make up for that. If you haven’t had a hearing exam in the last year or so, consider scheduling an appointment. While you’re here having your hearing aid reprogrammed 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. If your muffled hearing lingers, you might find yourself wearing your hearing aids less (or turning up the volume on your TV again). And all of that could begin causing hearing damage again.
So, don’t let it linger. If you can’t clean out some earwax and get hearing again, schedule a hearing exam with us right away and get everything taken care of before your next family get-together. You’ll enjoy yourself more if you can actually hear what they’re saying!