You’re having a Zoom call with your granddaughter and you’ve been looking forward to it all week! You’ll have a great time and catch-up with your beloved family members.
But when the call begins, you are mortified to realize, you can’t hear what your loved ones are saying. You’re wearing your hearing aids but things still sound muffled.
You’re incredibly disappointed.
Modern marvels muffled
Modern hearing aids are famous for their ability to deliver crystal clear sounds. That’s why it can be really, really discouraging when that doesn’t occur. You’re supposed to have better hearing with hearing aids, right? But your hearing aids aren’t improving your hearing. Actually, they’re making everything sound muffled. The problem might not be the hearing aid at all.
Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?
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.
If I had a nickel for every issue that earwax has caused (in general, not me personally), I’d be a rich (but still cranky) man. The problem with your hearing aid may be a build-up of earwax against the microphone. Amplification is muffled when earwax hinders your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound.
You might be able to determine if earwax is the problem by:
- Doing a visual assessment. In other words, have a good look at the device before you put it in your ear. Clean it completely if you notice any earwax.
- Power-up the hearing aid. If the start-up songs and dings all sound fine, but speech is later muffled, the issue is probably with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the most likely reason).
It’s also possible that earwax has built up not on your hearing aid but inside of your ear. In those situations, be certain to clean out your ears in a safe way (a cotton swab, by the way, is not a safe way). If the muffled issue remains 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. This could be a normal ear infection. Sometimes, it might be an inner ear infection. Both are worth scheduling an appointment for an evaluation.
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. Treatments might include some antibiotics. Once the infection has cleared, your hearing should return to normal.
It’s also entirely possible that your hearing aid batteries need to be changed. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries are drained so be sure to watch for that. Even if you have rechargeable batteries this can still be true. It’s possible, in many cases, that your hearing aids will be crystal clear again after you replace the batteries with fresh ones.
If you’re still having difficulty hearing, don’t discount the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. Think about scheduling an appointment for a hearing test if you haven’t had one in the past year. While you’re here having your hearing aid adjusted we can also do an inspection and cleaning.
Don’t let it linger
It’s definitely a good idea to come see us for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid is still muffled. You might find yourself leaving your hearing aids in a drawer and turning your TV up again if you don’t resolve this muffling issue. 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 have more fun if you can actually hear what they’re saying!