You’re having a Zoom call with your granddaughter and you’ve been looking forward to it all week! You’ll be able to get caught up, check-in, and, laugh.
But when you get online you notice, to your horror and frustration, that you can’t hear very well. Your hearing aids are in, but everything sounds muffled.
You can’t believe how disappointed you are.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well known that you can experience crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. That’s why it can be really, really discouraging when that doesn’t happen. You’re supposed to have better hearing with hearing aids, right? But, recently, every time you’ve turned your hearing aids on, everything has sounded muffled and distorted (and that’s certainly not an improvement over your normal hearing). The problem might 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 functioning correctly? Well, there are a few things you can do to try to fix the issue.
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. The problem with your hearing aid might be a build-up of earwax against the microphone. Amplification is muffled when earwax hinders your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound.
You may be able to tell if earwax is the problem by:
- Power-up the hearing aid. If the start-up music and dings all sound normal, but speech is later muffled, the issue is likely with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the likely culprit).
- Doing a visual check. Don’t simply put your hearing aid in without taking a good look at it. If you notice any earwax, try to remove it.
It’s also possible that earwax has built up not on your hearing aid but in your ear. Make sure, in those instances, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). The troubleshooting will have 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 think about if earwax isn’t responsible. This could be a common ear infection. Sometimes, it might be an inner ear infection. Both are worth making an appointment for an evaluation.
Inflammation of the ear canal and middle ear can be the result of both kinds of infection. This swelling blocks the transmission of sound and, consequently, your hearing is muffled. Normally, antibiotics will clear this type of infection up. When the infection has cleared, your hearing will usually go back to normal.
You just have to change your battery. As hearing aids lose power, they sometimes start to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this should be something to keep an eye on). This is true even if you have rechargeable batteries. Sometimes, changing the batteries with fresh ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
It might also be feasible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be reprogrammed to compensate for that. If you haven’t had your hearing tested in the last year or so, consider making an appointment. 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 nothing really helps, it’s definitely worth taking some time to come in and see us. If your muffled hearing lingers, you may find yourself using your hearing aids less (or turning up the volume on your TV again). And all of that could begin renewed hearing damage.
Letting it linger is not a smart plan. Schedule an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family get-together. If you can actually hear what they’re saying you’ll you’ll have a lot more fun.