You’ve been anticipating this all week: a Zoom call with your grandchildren. You’ll have a great time and catch-up with your beloved family members.
But when the call starts, you are horrified to realize, you can’t hear what your family members are saying. 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. That’s why it can be really, really frustrating when that doesn’t happen. Hearing aids are meant to help you hear better, right? But your hearing aids are not improving your hearing. Actually, they’re making everything sound muffled. The problem may not be the hearing aid at all.
What’s the cause of that muffling?
Ok, so, if the hearing aid is functioning correctly, why does everybody 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. Earwax may have accumulated against the microphone and that may be the source of your problem. The earwax impedes your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound and, thus, the amplification is muffled.
Here are some signs that earwax could be the issue.:
- Doing a visual assessment. Don’t simply 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).
Conversely, it’s possible that earwax in your ear rather than on the hearing aid is the problem here. Make sure, in those instances, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). If the muffled issue 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 responsible. This could be a normal ear infection. Or it may be an inner ear infection. Both are worth making an appointment for an evaluation.
Swelling of the ear canal and middle ear can be the result of both kinds of infection. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this inflammation blocks the transmission of sound. Usually, antibiotics will clear this type of infection up. Once the infection goes away, your hearing should go back to normal.
You just have to change your battery. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries are drained so be sure to check for that. Even if your hearing aids are rechargeable this can still be true. Sometimes, changing the batteries with fresh ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
It may also be feasible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be reprogrammed to make up for that. If you haven’t had a hearing exam in the last year or so, consider making an appointment. While you’re here having your hearing aid adjusted we can also do an inspection and cleaning.
Don’t let it linger
It’s definitely a smart idea to come in for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid is still muffled. You may find yourself putting your hearing aids in a drawer and cranking your TV up again if you don’t resolve this muffling issue. And all of that could start causing hearing damage again.
Letting it linger is not a wise idea. If you can’t clean out some earwax and get hearing again, schedule a hearing test with us today and get everything taken care of before your next family event. You’ll have more fun if you can actually hear what everyone is saying!