You’re having a Zoom call with your grandchild and you’ve been waiting for it all week! You’ll have a blast and get caught up with your cherished family members.
But when you log in you notice, to your sadness and disappointment, that you can’t hear properly. 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. So it can be really, really discouraging when that doesn’t occur. You should have clearer hearing when you’re using hearing aids, right? But your hearing aids are not improving your hearing. Actually, they’re making everything sound muffled. The hearing aid itself may not even be the issue.
What’s causing that muffling?
Ok, so, if the hearing aid is working properly, 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 nickel for every issue 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. 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:
- Visually inspect your hearing aids. Don’t just put your hearing aid in without getting a good look at it. Clean it completely if you see any earwax.
- Power-up the hearing aid. If the start-up music and dings all sound normal, but speech is later muffled, the problem is probably with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the likely reason).
Conversely, it’s possible that earwax in your ear rather than on the hearing aid is the problem here. In those instances, be certain 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.
So, if earwax isn’t the problem, the next likely reason will be an infection. This could be a normal ear infection. Sometimes, it may be an inner ear infection. In both instances, a hearing evaluation is suggested.
Swelling of the ear canal and middle ear can be the outcome of both kinds of infection. This inflammation blocks the transmission of sound and, consequently, your hearing is muffled. Usually, antibiotics will clear this type of infection up. Once the infection goes away, your hearing should return to normal.
It’s also very possible that your hearing aid batteries are in need to be charged. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries are drained so make sure you check for that. This is still true even if your batteries are rechargeable. Sometimes, replacing the batteries with new ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
It might 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 your hearing tested in the last year or so, think about making an appointment. Not only will you be able to be certain 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 your hearing is still muffled, it’s certainly worth taking some time to come in and see us. If the muffled sounds linger, you might find yourself using your hearing aids less (or turning up the volume on your TV again). And all of that could start causing hearing damage again.
Letting it linger is not a wise plan. If you are unable to clean out some earwax and get hearing again, schedule a hearing assessment with us today and get everything taken care of before your next family get-together. You’ll enjoy yourself more if you can actually hear what they’re saying!