You’ve been anticipating this all week: a Zoom call with your son and daughter-in-law. You’ll be able to catch up, check-in, and, have a laugh.
But when the call starts, you are mortified to find out, you can’t hear what your loved ones are saying. Your hearing aids are in, but everything sounds muffled.
You can’t believe how disappointed you are.
Modern marvels muffled
Modern hearing aids are known for their ability to produce very clear sounds. So it can be really, really aggravating when that doesn’t happen. Hearing aids are designed to help you hear better, right? But, recently, every time you’ve used your hearing aids, everything has sounded muffled and distorted (and that’s certainly not an improvement over your regular hearing). The issue may not be the hearing aid at all.
Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?
All right, so, if the hearing aid is functioning correctly, why does everybody sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a couple things you can do to fix the issue.
You’d be rich if you had a dime for every time earwax caused trouble. The problem with your hearing aid could be a build-up of earwax against the microphone. Amplification is muffled when earwax hinders your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound.
Here are some indications that earwax could be the issue.:
- Turning the hearing aid on. The problem is likely to be the microphone (probably wax accumulation) and not the speaker if all of the start-up sounds are normal when you turn on the hearing aid.
- Visually look over your hearing aids. Don’t just put your hearing aid in without taking a good look at it. Clean it completely if you notice any earwax.
Conversely, it’s possible that earwax in your ear and not on the hearing aid is the problem here. 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). If the muffled issue continues after you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll need to keep troubleshooting.
So, if earwax isn’t the problem, the next likely reason is going to be an infection. In many cases, this could be a standard ear infection. Sometimes, it could be an inner ear infection. In both instances, a hearing evaluation is recommended.
Inflammation of the ear canal and middle ear can be the result of both kinds of infection. This inflammation blocks the transmission of sound and, therefore, your hearing is muffled. Management might include some antibiotics. Once the infection goes away, your hearing should return to normal.
You just have to replace your battery. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries are drained so make sure you check for that. Even if you have rechargeable batteries this can still be true. Sometimes, switching out the batteries with fresh ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
If you’re still having difficulty hearing, don’t ignore the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. If you haven’t had your hearing tested in the last year or so, consider making an appointment. Not only will you be able to be certain your hearing aids are properly tuned, but we will also be able to do a professional clean and check on your device.
Don’t let it linger
It’s definitely a smart idea to come see us for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid still sounds muffled. If your muffled hearing lingers, you might find yourself using your hearing aids less (or turning up the volume on your TV again). And all of that could start renewed hearing damage.
Letting it linger is not a smart plan. If you are unable to clear out some earwax and get hearing again, schedule a hearing examination with us right away and get everything cleared up before your next family event. If you can actually hear what they’re saying you’ll you’ll have a lot more fun.