You’re having a Zoom call with your granddaughter and you’ve been anticipating it all week! You’ll have a blast and catch-up with your cherished family members.
But when you log in you realize, to your sadness and disappointment, that you can’t hear very well. Your hearing aids are in, but everything sounds muffled.
You’re incredibly discouraged.
Modern marvels muffled
Modern hearing aids are famous for their ability to provide very clear sounds. That’s why it can be really, really discouraging when that doesn’t happen. You’re supposed to have clearer hearing with hearing aids, right? But your hearing aids are not helping your hearing. Actually, they’re making everything sound muffled. The issue might not be the hearing aid at all.
Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?
Ok, so, if the hearing aid is functioning properly, why does everybody sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a few things you can do to correct the problem.
If I had a nickel for every problem that earwax has caused (in general, not me personally), I’d be a rich (but still cranky) man. Earwax might have accumulated against the microphone and that could be the source of your problem. The earwax impedes your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound and, as a result, the amplification is muffled.
You may be able to tell if earwax is the issue by:
- Visually inspect your hearing aids. Don’t just put your hearing aid in without taking a good look at it. If you notice any earwax, try to remove it.
- Power-up the hearing aid. If the start-up music and dings all sound fine, but speech is later muffled, the problem 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 problem here. In those cases, 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 need to continue if the muffled sound lingers even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.
So, if earwax isn’t the issue, the next likely culprit will be an infection. This could be a common ear infection. Or it may be an inner ear infection. In both situations, a hearing evaluation is recommended.
Ear infections of various kinds and causes can generate inflammation in your ear canal or middle ear. This inflammation blocks the transmission of sound and, therefore, your hearing is muffled. Usually, antibiotics will clear this kind of infection up. Once the infection clears, your hearing should go back to normal.
It’s also altogether possible that your hearing aid batteries need to be changed. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries get low so make sure you check for that. Even if your hearing aids are rechargeable this can still be true. Sometimes, switching out the batteries with new ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
It could also be feasible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be reprogrammed to compensate for that. Consider making an appointment for a hearing exam if you haven’t had one in the last year. While you’re here getting your hearing aid adjusted we can also do an inspection and cleaning.
Don’t let it linger
It’s certainly a good idea to come in for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid is still muffled. If the muffled sounds linger, you may find yourself using your hearing aids less (or cranking up the volume on your TV again). Your hearing may then start to sustain additional damage.
So, don’t let it linger. Make an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family event. You’ll have more fun if you can actually hear what they’re saying!