You’ve been looking forward to this all week: a Zoom call with your son and daughter-in-law. You’ll be able to catch up, check-in, and, have a laugh.
But when the call starts, you are mortified to realize, you can’t hear what your family members are saying. Your hearing aids are in, but everything seems muffled.
You’re incredibly disappointed.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well recognized that you can achieve crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So it can be really, really frustrating when that doesn’t occur. Hearing aids are designed to help you hear better, right? But your hearing aids aren’t helping your hearing. Actually, they’re making everything sound muffled. The issue may not be the hearing aid at all.
What’s the cause of that muffling?
So why do voices sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher if your hearing aids are functioning properly? 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. Earwax may have accumulated against the microphone and that may be the source of your trouble. The earwax inhibits your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound and, thus, the amplification is muffled.
You may be able to determine if earwax is the problem by:
- Power-up the hearing aid. 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.
- Visually inspect your hearing aids. In other words, take a good look at the hearing aid before you put it in your ear. If you see earwax, try to remove it.
It’s also possible that earwax has accumulated not on your hearing aid but in your ear. Be sure, in those cases, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). 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. This could be a common ear infection. Or it might be an inner ear infection. In both cases, a hearing evaluation is recommended.
Ear infections of several kinds and causes can create swelling in your ear canal or middle ear. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this inflammation blocks the transmission of sound. Treatments might 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. This is true even if you have rechargeable batteries. Sometimes, replacing the batteries with new ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
It could also be possible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be adjusted to compensate for that. Think about making an appointment for a hearing examination if you haven’t had one in the past year. While you’re here getting your hearing aid reprogrammed we can also do an inspection and cleaning.
Don’t let it linger
It’s definitely a smart plan to come in for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid still sounds muffled. If your muffled hearing lingers, you may find yourself using your hearing aids less (or turning up the volume on your TV again). And all of that could start renewed hearing damage.
Letting it linger is not a good idea. Schedule an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family event. If you can actually hear what they’re saying you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more.