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 you log in you notice, to your horror and disappointment, that you can’t hear properly. You’re wearing your hearing aids but you still can’t hear anything.
You can’t believe how discouraged you are.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well known that you can achieve crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So when that doesn’t happen, that can be really frustrating. You should have clearer hearing with hearing aids, right? But your hearing aids aren’t improving your hearing. In fact, they’re making everything sound muffled. The problem may 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 working properly? Well, there are several things you can do to fix the problem.
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 might have built up against the microphone and that could be the source of your problem. Amplification is muffled when earwax obstructs your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound.
You might be able to determine if earwax is the issue by:
- Doing a visual inspection. Don’t simply put your hearing aid in without taking a good look at it. If you notice any earwax, try to remove it.
- Turning the hearing aid on. The issue is likely to be the microphone (probably wax buildup) and not the speaker if all of the start-up sounds are normal when you turn on the hearing aid.
It’s also possible that earwax has accumulated not on your hearing aid but in your ear. 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). If the muffled issue remains after you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll have to keep troubleshooting.
Infection will be the next thing to consider if earwax isn’t responsible. This could be a common ear infection. Or it may be an inner ear infection. In both situations, a hearing assessment is suggested.
Ear infections of several kinds and causes can produce inflammation in your ear canal or middle ear. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this inflammation blocks the transmission of sound. Treatments may include some antibiotics. When the infection has cleared, your hearing should return to normal.
You just need to replace your battery. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries get low so be sure to check for that. Even if your hearing aids are rechargeable this can still be true. Sometimes, replacing the batteries with new ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
It may also be possible 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
It’s definitely a smart idea to come in for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid still sounds muffled. If your muffled hearing lingers, you could find yourself using your hearing aids less (or cranking up the volume on your TV again). Your hearing may then begin to sustain additional damage.
Letting it linger is not a good idea. If you can’t clear out some earwax and get hearing again, schedule a hearing examination with us right away and get everything taken care of before your next family event. You’ll enjoy yourself more if you can actually hear what everyone is saying!