You’re having a Zoom call with your grandchild and you’ve been anticipating it all week! You’ll be able to catch up, check-in, and, laugh.
But when you log in you notice, to your horror and frustration, that you can’t hear properly. Your hearing aids are in, but everything seems muffled.
You’re incredibly frustrated.
Modern marvels muffled
Modern hearing aids are celebrated for their ability to provide crystal clear sounds. So it can be really, really aggravating when that doesn’t occur. You should have clearer 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 regular hearing). The issue might not be the hearing aid at all.
What’s the cause of that muffling?
All right, so, if the hearing aid is functioning correctly, 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 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 may be an accumulation of earwax against the microphone. Amplification is muffled when earwax obstructs your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound.
You may be able to tell if earwax is the problem by:
- Turning the hearing aid on. If the start-up music 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).
- Visually inspect your hearing aids. In other words, have a good look at the device before you put it in your ear. If you see earwax, try to clean it off.
It’s also possible that earwax has built up not on your hearing aid but in your ear. In those situations, make sure to clean out your ears in a safe way (a cotton swab, by the way, is not a safe way). If the muffled problem continues once you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll have to continue troubleshooting.
Infection will be the next thing to think about if earwax isn’t accountable. This could be a common ear infection. Or it might be an inner ear infection. Both are worth scheduling an appointment for an evaluation.
Ear infections of various kinds and causes can produce swelling in your ear canal or middle ear. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this inflammation blocks the transmission of sound. Management may include some antibiotics. As soon as the infection has cleared, your hearing should go back to normal.
You just need to replace your battery. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries get low so be sure to check for that. This is still true even if you have rechargeable batteries. It’s possible, in many instances, that your hearing aids will become crystal clear again after you change the batteries with fresh ones.
It might also be feasible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be adjusted to compensate for that. Think about making an appointment for a hearing test if you haven’t had one in the past year. While you’re here having your hearing aid reprogrammed we can also do an inspection and cleaning.
Don’t let it linger
If you try all this troubleshooting and your hearing is still muffled, it’s definitely worth taking some time to come in and see us. You might find yourself leaving your hearing aids in a drawer and cranking your TV up again if you don’t solve this muffling problem. And all of that could begin renewed hearing damage.
Letting it linger is not a good plan. Make 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.