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, have a laugh.
But when you get online you notice, to your sadness and disappointment, that you can’t hear very well. Your hearing aids are in, but everything sounds muffled.
You can’t believe how frustrated you are.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well recognized that you can achieve crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. That’s why it can be really, really aggravating when that doesn’t happen. You should have clearer hearing when you’re using 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 issue.
What’s causing that muffling?
So why do voices sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher if your hearing aids are working correctly? Well, there are a couple of 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. The issue with your hearing aid might be an accumulation of earwax against the microphone. The earwax interferes with your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound and, thus, the amplification is muffled.
You might be able to tell if earwax is the issue by:
- Doing a visual assessment. Don’t simply put your hearing aid in without getting a good look at it. Clean it thoroughly 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 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 cases, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). 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 think about if earwax isn’t accountable. This could be a normal ear infection. Or it might be an inner ear infection. Both are worth making an appointment for an assessment.
Inflammation of the ear canal and middle ear can be the result of both kinds of infection. 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 clears, your hearing should go back to normal.
You just need to replace your battery. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries are drained so be sure to watch for that. Even if your hearing aids are rechargeable this can still be true. It’s possible, in many instances, that your hearing aids will be crystal clear again after you switch out the batteries with fresh ones.
It could also be possible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be adjusted to make up for that. If you haven’t had your hearing tested in the last year or so, think about making an appointment. Not only will you be able to be certain 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 nothing really helps, it’s definitely worth taking some time to come in and see us. You may find yourself leaving your hearing aids in a drawer and cranking your TV up again if you don’t eliminate this muffling issue. Your hearing could then start to sustain further damage.
Letting it linger is not a smart plan. Schedule an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family event. You’ll have more fun if you can actually hear what they’re saying!