You’ve been anticipating this all week: a Zoom call with your son and daughter-in-law. You’ll have a great time and get caught up with your cherished family members.
But when the call starts, you are horrified to realize, you can’t hear what your family members are saying. Your hearing aids are in, but everything sounds muffled.
You’re incredibly discouraged.
Modern marvels muffled
Modern hearing aids are known for their ability to provide crystal clear sounds. So it can be really, really discouraging when that doesn’t happen. Hearing aids are designed 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 hearing aid itself might not even be the issue.
What’s causing that muffling?
Ok, so, if the hearing aid is functioning correctly, why does everyone sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a few things you can do to try to right the ship, as it were.
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 problem with your hearing aid might be a build-up of earwax against the microphone. The earwax impedes your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound and, thus, the amplification is muffled.
Here are some indications that earwax could be the issue.:
- Turning the hearing aid on. If the start-up songs and dings all sound fine, but speech is later muffled, the problem is probably with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the most likely reason).
- Visually look over your hearing aids. In other words, have a good look at the hearing aid before you put it in your ear. If you notice any earwax, try to remove it.
Alternatively, it’s possible that earwax in your ear rather than on the hearing aid is the issue here. In those cases, 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 persists after you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll need to keep troubleshooting.
Infection will be the next thing to think about if earwax isn’t responsible. In many cases, this could be a common ear infection. Sometimes, 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. Management may include some antibiotics. Once the infection goes away, your hearing will usually return to normal.
It’s also altogether 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. It’s possible, in many instances, that your hearing aids will be crystal clear again after you replace the batteries with new ones.
If you’re still having difficulty hearing, don’t discount the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. If you haven’t had your hearing tested in the last year or so, consider scheduling an appointment. While you’re here getting your hearing aid reprogrammed we can also do an inspection and cleaning.
Don’t let it linger
It’s certainly a smart plan to come in for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid is still muffled. If your muffled hearing lingers, you could find yourself wearing your hearing aids less (or cranking up the volume on your TV again). Your hearing may then start to sustain additional damage.
So, don’t let it linger. If you can’t clean out some earwax and get hearing again, schedule a hearing test with us today and get everything taken care of before your next family get-together. If you can actually hear what everyone is saying you’ll you’ll have a lot more fun.