You’ve been looking forward to this all week: a Zoom call with your son and daughter-in-law. You’ll have a great time and get caught up with your cherished 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 you still can’t hear anything.
You can’t believe how discouraged 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. Hearing aids are meant to help you hear better, right? But, lately, 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 issue might not be the hearing aid at all.
Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?
Ok, so, if the hearing aid is working properly, why does everyone sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a few things you can do to fix the problem.
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. The issue with your hearing aid could be a build-up of earwax against the microphone. Amplification is muffled when earwax blocks your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound.
Here are some indications that earwax may be the problem.:
- Doing a visual inspection. In other words, take a good look at the hearing aid before you put it in your ear. Clean it thoroughly if you notice any earwax.
- Turning the hearing aid on. If the start-up music and dings all sound fine, but speech is later muffled, the problem is probably with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the likely culprit).
Conversely, it’s possible that earwax in your ear and not on the hearing aid is the issue here. Be sure, in those situations, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). If the muffled problem persists after you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll have to keep troubleshooting.
Infection will be the next thing to think about if earwax isn’t accountable. In many cases, this could be a common ear infection. Sometimes, it could be an inner ear infection. In both situations, a hearing assessment 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. Management may 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. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries are drained so be sure to watch for that. This is still true even if your batteries are rechargeable. It’s possible, in many instances, that your hearing aids will be crystal clear again after you switch out the batteries with fresh ones.
If you’re still having difficulty hearing, don’t discount the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. Think about making an appointment for a hearing examination if you haven’t had one in the last year. While you’re here getting your hearing aid adjusted we can also do an inspection and cleaning.
Don’t let it linger
If you try all this troubleshooting and nothing really helps, it’s definitely worth taking some time to come in for a consultation. You might find yourself leaving your hearing aids in a drawer and turning your TV up again if you don’t resolve this muffling problem. Your hearing could then begin to sustain further damage.
So, don’t let it linger. If you are unable to clean out some earwax and get hearing again, schedule a hearing assessment with us right away and get everything taken care of before your next family event. You’ll have more fun if you can actually hear what they’re saying!