You’re having a Zoom call with your grandchild and you’ve been waiting for it all week! You’ll have a great time and get caught up with your cherished family members.
But when you log in you notice, to your sadness and disappointment, that you can’t hear properly. Your hearing aids are in, but everything seems muffled.
You can’t believe how disappointed you are.
Modern marvels muffled
Modern hearing aids are famous for their ability to produce very clear sounds. That’s why it can be really, really aggravating when that doesn’t happen. You should have clearer hearing with hearing aids, right? But, lately, every time you’ve used your hearing aids, everything has sounded muffled and distorted (and that’s certainly not an improvement over your normal hearing). The problem may not be the hearing aid at all.
What’s causing that muffling?
All right, 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 try to right the ship, as it were.
If I had a dime for every issue that earwax has caused (in general, not me personally), I’d be a rich (but still cranky) man. Earwax may have accumulated against the microphone and that could be the source of your trouble. The earwax impedes your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound and, as a result, the amplification is muffled.
Here are some indications that earwax may be the issue.:
- Visually inspect your hearing aids. In other words, have a good look at the hearing aid before you put it in your ear. Clean it completely if you see any earwax.
- Turning the hearing aid on. If the start-up songs and dings all sound fine, but speech is later muffled, the problem is likely with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the most likely culprit).
It’s also possible that earwax has accumulated not on your hearing aid but inside of your ear. In those situations, be certain to clean out your ears in a safe way (a cotton swab, by the way, is not a safe way). The troubleshooting will need to continue if the muffled sound lingers even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.
Infection will be the next thing to think about if earwax isn’t responsible. Sometimes, this could be a standard ear infection. Or it may be an inner ear infection. Both are worth scheduling an appointment for an assessment.
Ear infections of various kinds and causes can produce inflammation in your ear canal or middle ear. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this inflammation blocks the transmission of sound. Treatments may include some antibiotics. When the infection has cleared, your hearing should go back to normal.
You just have to change your battery. As hearing aids drain, they sometimes start to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this should be something to check). Even if you have rechargeable batteries this can still be true. Sometimes, replacing the batteries with new ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
If you’re still having trouble hearing, don’t discount the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. If you haven’t had your hearing tested in the last year or so, think about making an appointment. Not only will you be able to make sure your hearing aids are correctly programmed, 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 nothing really helps, it’s definitely worth taking some time to come in for a consultation. You may find yourself putting your hearing aids in a drawer and cranking your TV up again if you don’t solve this muffling problem. Your hearing could then begin to sustain additional damage.
So, don’t let it linger. Schedule an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family get-together. If you can actually hear what everyone is saying you’ll you’ll have a lot more fun.