You’re having a Zoom call with your granddaughter and you’ve been anticipating it all week! You’ll be able to get caught up, check-in, and, have a laugh.
But when the call begins, you are mortified to realize, you can’t hear what your family members are saying. You’re wearing your hearing aids but you still can’t hear anything.
You’re incredibly frustrated.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well known that you can achieve crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. That’s why it can be really, really frustrating when that doesn’t occur. Hearing aids are designed to help you hear better, right? But your hearing aids aren’t helping your hearing. In fact, they’re making everything sound muffled. 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 working correctly, why does everybody sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a few things you can do to try to fix the issue.
You’d be rich if you had a dime for every time earwax caused trouble. The issue with your hearing aid might be a build-up of earwax against the microphone. The earwax interferes with your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound and, thus, the amplification is muffled.
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 probably with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the likely reason).
- 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 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, make sure to clean out your ears in a safe way (a cotton swab, by the way, is not a safe way). The troubleshooting will have to continue if the muffled sound persists 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 normal ear infection. Or it might be an inner ear infection. In both situations, a hearing assessment is suggested.
Ear infections of various kinds and causes can generate swelling in your ear canal or middle ear. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this inflammation blocks the transmission of sound. Normally, antibiotics will clear this kind of infection up. Once the infection clears, your hearing will usually return to normal.
You just need to replace your battery. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries get low so make sure you watch for that. Even if you have rechargeable batteries this can be true. It’s possible, in many cases, that your hearing aids will be crystal clear again after you replace the batteries with fresh ones.
It could also be possible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be adjusted to make up for that. If you haven’t had a hearing exam in the last year or so, think about scheduling an appointment. Not only will you be able to make sure your hearing aids are properly 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 and see us. You might find yourself leaving your hearing aids in a drawer and cranking your TV up again if you don’t resolve this muffling problem. And all of that could start causing hearing damage again.
Letting it linger is not a wise 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.