You’ve been anticipating this all week: a Zoom call with your grandchildren. You’ll have a blast and get caught up with your beloved family members.
But when you log in you realize, to your horror and frustration, that you can’t hear properly. You’re wearing your hearing aids but things still sound 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 happen. You should have clearer hearing with hearing aids, right? But your hearing aids are not helping your hearing. In fact, they’re making everything sound muffled. The hearing aid itself might not even be the issue.
Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?
All right, so, if the hearing aid is working correctly, why does everyone sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? 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 might have accumulated against the microphone and that could be the source of your trouble. The earwax interferes with your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound and, thus, the amplification is muffled.
Here are some signs that earwax could be the issue.:
- Doing a visual inspection. Don’t just put your hearing aid in without taking a good look at it. If you see earwax, try to clean it off.
- Turning the hearing aid on. The problem is likely to be the microphone (probably wax accumulation) and not the speaker if all of the start-up sounds are normal when you turn on the hearing aid.
Conversely, it’s possible that earwax in your ear rather than on the hearing aid is the problem here. Be sure, in those situations, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). The troubleshooting will have to continue if the muffled sound persists even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.
Infection will be the next thing to think about if earwax isn’t accountable. In many cases, this could be a standard ear infection. Or it might be an inner ear infection. Both are worth making an appointment for an assessment.
Swelling of the ear canal and middle ear can be the result of both kinds of infection. This swelling blocks the transmission of sound and, therefore, the sound you’re hearing is muffled. Treatments 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 are drained so make sure you check for that. Even if your hearing aids are rechargeable this can be true. Sometimes, switching out the batteries with fresh 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 adjusted to make up 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 correctly tuned, 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 your hearing is still muffled, it’s certainly worth taking some time to come in and see us. You might find yourself putting your hearing aids in a drawer and cranking your TV up again if you don’t eliminate this muffling issue. And all of that could begin causing hearing damage again.
Letting it linger is not a smart plan. If you can’t clean out some earwax and get hearing again, schedule a hearing exam with us right away and get everything cleared up before your next family event. If you can actually hear what they’re saying you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more.