You’re having a Zoom call with your granddaughter and you’ve been looking forward to it all week! You’ll be able to get caught up, check-in, and, laugh.
But when the call starts, you are horrified to realize, you can’t hear what your family members are saying. You’re wearing your hearing aids but things still sound muffled.
You’re incredibly frustrated.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well known that you can experience crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. That’s why it can be really, really discouraging when that doesn’t happen. Hearing aids are supposed to help you hear better, right? But, lately, every time you’ve turned your hearing aids on, 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.
What’s the cause of that muffling?
So why do voices sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher if your hearing aids are functioning correctly? Well, there are a couple things you can do to fix the problem.
You’d be rich if you had a dime for every time earwax caused trouble. The problem with your hearing aid might be a build-up of earwax against the microphone. Amplification is muffled when earwax obstructs your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound.
Here are some signs that earwax could be the problem.:
- Visually look over your hearing aids. In other words, have a good look at the device before you put it in your ear. If you notice any earwax, try to clean it off.
- Turning the hearing aid on. The issue is likely to be the microphone (probably wax accumulation) and not the speaker if all of the start-up sounds are normal when you power-up the hearing aid.
Conversely, it’s possible that earwax in your ear rather than on the hearing aid is the issue here. In those cases, 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 need 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 consider if earwax isn’t accountable. This could be a normal ear infection. Or it may be an inner ear infection. In both cases, a hearing assessment is suggested.
Ear infections of several kinds and causes can generate swelling in your ear canal or middle ear. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this swelling blocks the transmission of sound. Management may include some antibiotics. Once the infection goes away, your hearing should go back to normal.
You just need to change your battery. As hearing aids lose power, they sometimes begin to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this should be something to keep an eye on). This is true even if your batteries are rechargeable. It’s possible, in many situations, that your hearing aids will be crystal clear again after you switch out the batteries with new ones.
If you’re still having trouble hearing, don’t discount the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. 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 correctly tuned, 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 turning your TV up again if you don’t solve this muffling problem. And all of that could start renewed hearing damage.
So, don’t let it linger. Schedule an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family event. If you can actually hear what everyone is saying you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more.