You’re having a Zoom call with your granddaughter and you’ve been looking forward to it all week! You’ll be able to catch up, check-in, and, have a laugh.
But when you log in you realize, to your sadness and disappointment, that you can’t hear properly. You’re wearing your hearing aids but things still sound muffled.
You’re incredibly frustrated.
Modern marvels muffled
Modern hearing aids are celebrated for their ability to produce crystal clear sounds. So it can be really, really frustrating when that doesn’t happen. You’re supposed to have better hearing when you’re using 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 problem may not be the hearing aid at all.
Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?
So why do voices sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher if your hearing aids are working properly? Well, there are a couple of things you can do to try to fix the issue.
You’d be rich if you had a dime for every time earwax caused trouble. Earwax may have accumulated against the microphone and that could be the source of your problem. The earwax inhibits your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound and, hence, the amplification is muffled.
Here are some signs that earwax could be the problem.:
- Visually look over your hearing aids. Don’t just put your hearing aid in without getting a good look at it. If you see earwax, try to remove it.
- Power-up the hearing aid. If the start-up songs and dings all sound normal, but speech is later muffled, the issue is probably with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the most likely reason).
It’s also possible that earwax has built up not on your hearing aid but inside of your ear. Be 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 remains even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.
Infection will be the next thing to consider if earwax isn’t accountable. In many cases, this could be a standard ear infection. Or it might be an inner ear infection. In both situations, a hearing evaluation is suggested.
Ear infections of several kinds and causes can generate swelling in your ear canal or middle ear. This inflammation blocks the transmission of sound and, therefore, the sound you’re hearing is muffled. Typical, antibiotics will clear this type of infection up. As soon as the infection has cleared, your hearing should return to normal.
It’s also very possible that your hearing aid batteries need to be changed. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries are drained so make sure you watch for that. This is still true even if you have rechargeable batteries. Sometimes, changing the batteries with new ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
If you’re still having problems hearing, don’t ignore the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. Consider making 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 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. If the muffled sounds linger, you could find yourself using your hearing aids less (or turning up the volume on your TV again). And all of that could start renewed hearing 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 get-together. You’ll have more fun if you can actually hear what they’re saying!