You’ve been looking forward to this all week: a Zoom call with your son and daughter-in-law. You’ll have a blast 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. Your hearing aids are in, but everything sounds muffled.
You’re incredibly discouraged.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well recognized that you can experience crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So when that doesn’t occur, that can be really frustrating. You should have clearer hearing when you’re using hearing aids, right? But your hearing aids are not improving your hearing. In fact, they’re making everything sound muffled. The problem might 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 working correctly? Well, there are several things you can do to correct 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 impedes your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound and, hence, the amplification is muffled.
You may be able to determine if earwax is the issue by:
- Turning the hearing aid on. If the start-up music and dings all sound normal, but speech is later muffled, the problem is likely with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the most likely reason).
- Visually look over your hearing aids. Don’t just put your hearing aid in without getting a good look at it. Clean it thoroughly if you see any earwax.
Alternatively, it’s possible that earwax in your ear and not on the hearing aid is the issue here. In those cases, 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 once you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll need to continue troubleshooting.
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 evaluation.
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 type of infection up. Once the infection goes away, your hearing should return to normal.
You just need to change your battery. As hearing aids lose power, they sometimes start to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this should be something to check). Even if your hearing aids are rechargeable this can still be true. It’s possible, in many instances, that your hearing aids will become crystal clear again after you change the batteries with new ones.
If you’re still having problems hearing, don’t ignore 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
If you try all this troubleshooting and your hearing is still muffled, 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 turning your TV up again if you don’t eliminate this muffling problem. And all of that could begin 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 enjoy yourself more if you can actually hear what they’re saying!