You’ve been waiting for 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 you log in you notice, to your horror and disappointment, that you can’t hear properly. Your hearing aids are in, but everything seems muffled.
You can’t believe how frustrated you are.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well known that you can experience crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So it can be really, really aggravating when that doesn’t occur. Hearing aids are supposed to help you hear better, 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.
Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?
So why do voices sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher if your hearing aids are working correctly? Well, there are a couple things you can do to fix the problem.
You’d be rich if you had a dime for every time earwax caused trouble. The issue with your hearing aid might be an accumulation of earwax against the microphone. Amplification is muffled when earwax hinders your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound.
You may be able to determine if earwax is the issue by:
- 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 power-up the hearing aid.
- Visually inspect your hearing aids. In other words, have a good look at the device before you put it in your ear. Clean it completely if you see any earwax.
It’s also possible that earwax has accumulated not on your hearing aid but in your ear. Make sure, in those instances, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). The troubleshooting will need to continue if the muffled sound persists even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.
So, if earwax isn’t the issue, the next likely reason will be an infection. In many cases, this could be a standard ear infection. Sometimes, it could be an inner ear infection. In both cases, a hearing evaluation is suggested.
Swelling of the ear canal and middle ear can be the result of both kinds of infection. This inflammation blocks the transmission of sound and, therefore, your hearing is muffled. Usually, antibiotics will clear this kind of infection up. Once the infection goes away, your hearing should return to normal.
You just have to replace your battery. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries get low so make sure you watch for that. This is true even if your batteries are rechargeable. Sometimes, switching out the batteries with new ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
It might also be feasible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be reprogrammed to compensate for that. If you haven’t had a hearing exam in the last year or so, consider 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 certainly worth taking some time to come in for a consultation. You might find yourself leaving your hearing aids in a drawer and cranking your TV up again if you don’t resolve this muffling issue. And all of that could begin causing hearing damage again.
Letting it linger is not a wise idea. 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 everyone is saying!