You’re having a Zoom call with your grandchild and you’ve been anticipating it all week! You’ll be able to get caught up, check-in, and, laugh.
But when you log in you notice, to your horror and frustration, that you can’t hear properly. 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 produce very clear sounds. So when that doesn’t happen, that can be really discouraging. Hearing aids are supposed to help you hear better, right? But, recently, every time you’ve turned your hearing aids on, everything has sounded muffled and distorted (and that’s definitely not an improvement over your regular hearing). The issue may 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 everyone sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a few things you can do to correct the problem.
You’d be rich if you had a nickel for every time earwax caused trouble. The issue with your hearing aid could be a build-up of earwax against the microphone. The earwax interferes with your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound and, hence, the amplification is muffled.
Here are some indications that earwax may be the problem.:
- Doing a visual assessment. Don’t simply put your hearing aid in without taking a good look at it. If you notice any earwax, try to remove it.
- Turning the hearing aid on. If the start-up music and dings all sound fine, but speech is later muffled, the issue is likely with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the likely culprit).
It’s also possible that earwax has built up not on your hearing aid but in your ear. Be sure, in those situations, 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 is going to be an infection. In many cases, this could be a common ear infection. Sometimes, it may be an inner ear infection. Both are worth setting up an appointment for an evaluation.
Ear infections of various kinds and causes can create inflammation in your ear canal or middle ear. This swelling blocks the transmission of sound and, consequently, the sound you’re hearing is muffled. Management might include some antibiotics. When the infection has cleared, your hearing should return to normal.
You just need to change your battery. As hearing aids lose power, they sometimes begin to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this would be something to check). This is still true even if you have rechargeable batteries. Sometimes, replacing 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 reprogrammed to make up for that. If you haven’t had your hearing tested in the last year or so, consider scheduling an appointment. While you’re here having your hearing aid reprogrammed we can also do an inspection and cleaning.
Don’t let it linger
It’s definitely a good idea to come in for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid still sounds muffled. If the muffled sounds linger, you might find yourself wearing your hearing aids less (or cranking up the volume on your TV again). Your hearing may then begin to sustain further damage.
Letting it linger is not a wise plan. Schedule an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family event. If you can actually hear what everyone is saying you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more.