You’ve been waiting for this all week: a Zoom call with your son and daughter-in-law. You’ll have a blast and get caught up with your beloved family members.
But when the call begins, you are horrified to realize, you can’t hear what your loved ones are saying. You’re wearing your hearing aids but things still sound muffled.
You can’t believe how frustrated you are.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well recognized that you can attain crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So when that doesn’t occur, that can be really depressing. You’re supposed to have better hearing when you’re using hearing aids, right? But your hearing aids aren’t improving your hearing. Actually, they’re making everything sound muffled. The problem might not be the hearing aid at all.
What’s causing that muffling?
Ok, 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.
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 inhibits your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound and, as a result, the amplification is muffled.
You might be able to tell if earwax is the issue by:
- Visually inspect your hearing aids. In other words, have a good look at the device before you put it in your ear. Clean it completely if you see any earwax.
- Power-up the hearing aid. If the start-up music and dings all sound fine, but speech is later muffled, the issue is likely with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the most likely reason).
Alternatively, it’s possible that earwax in your ear and not on the hearing aid is the issue here. Be sure, in those cases, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). If the muffled problem continues once 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 accountable. This could be a normal ear infection. Sometimes, it might be an inner ear infection. In both cases, a hearing evaluation is suggested.
Swelling of the ear canal and middle ear can be the outcome of both kinds of infection. This swelling blocks the transmission of sound and, consequently, your hearing is muffled. Treatments might include some antibiotics. Once the infection clears, your hearing will usually go back to normal.
You just have to change your battery. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries get low so make sure you check for that. This is true even if your batteries are rechargeable. Sometimes, changing the batteries with fresh ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
If you’re still having difficulty hearing, don’t dismiss the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. If you haven’t had a hearing exam in the last year or so, consider making an appointment. Not only will you be able to make sure 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 certainly a good plan 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 turning your TV up again if you don’t solve this muffling issue. And all of that could begin renewed hearing damage.
So, don’t let it linger. If you can’t clean out some earwax and get hearing again, schedule a hearing exam with us today and get everything cleared up before your next family event. You’ll have more fun if you can actually hear what everyone is saying!