You’ve been anticipating this all week: a Zoom call with your son and daughter-in-law. You’ll be able to catch up, check-in, and, laugh.
But when the call begins, 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 can’t believe how frustrated you are.
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 depressing. You’re supposed to have better hearing with hearing aids, right? But, lately, every time you’ve turned your hearing aids on, 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.
What’s causing that muffling?
Ok, so, if the hearing aid is functioning correctly, why does everybody sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a few things you can do to try to fix the issue.
You’d be rich if you had a nickel for every time earwax caused trouble. Earwax may have built up against the microphone and that could be the source of your trouble. Amplification is muffled when earwax hinders your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound.
You might be able to tell if earwax is the issue by:
- Visually look over your hearing aids. In other words, take a good look at the device before you put it in your ear. Clean it completely if you notice any earwax.
- Power-up the hearing aid. If the start-up songs 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).
It’s also possible that earwax has accumulated not on your hearing aid but in your ear. Make 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 lingers even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.
So, if earwax isn’t the problem, the next likely culprit is going to be an infection. This could be a common ear infection. Or it may be an inner ear infection. In both instances, a hearing assessment is recommended.
Swelling of the ear canal and middle ear can be the outcome of both kinds of infection. This swelling blocks the transmission of sound and, consequently, your hearing is muffled. Management 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. As hearing aids drain, they sometimes start to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this would be something to keep an eye on). Even if you have rechargeable batteries this can still be true. It’s possible, in many cases, that your hearing aids will become crystal clear again after you replace the batteries with new ones.
If you’re still having trouble hearing, don’t discount the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. Think about scheduling an appointment for a hearing examination if you haven’t had one in the last year. 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
It’s definitely a smart idea to come in for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid is still muffled. You may find yourself putting your hearing aids in a drawer and turning your TV up again if you don’t eliminate this muffling problem. Your hearing could then begin to sustain additional damage.
Letting it linger is not a good plan. If you can’t clean out some earwax and get hearing again, schedule a hearing examination with us today 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.