You’ve been waiting for this all week: a Zoom call with your son and daughter-in-law. You’ll be able to catch up, check-in, and, laugh.
But when the call begins, you are mortified to find out, you can’t hear what your family members are saying. You’re wearing your hearing aids but things still sound muffled.
You can’t believe how disappointed you are.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well known that you can attain crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So it can be really, really discouraging when that doesn’t happen. Hearing aids are supposed to help you hear better, right? But your hearing aids aren’t improving your hearing. In fact, they’re making everything sound muffled. The issue 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 correctly? Well, there are several things you can do to correct the problem.
You’d be rich if you had a dime for every time earwax caused trouble. Earwax may have accumulated against the microphone and that could be the source of your trouble. Amplification is muffled when earwax hinders your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound.
Here are some indications that earwax may be the issue.:
- Doing a visual check. Don’t simply put your hearing aid in without getting a good look at it. If you notice any earwax, try to clean it off.
- Power-up the hearing aid. The problem 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 built up not on your hearing aid but inside of your ear. Be sure, in those situations, 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 need to keep troubleshooting.
So, if earwax isn’t the issue, the next likely culprit will be an infection. This could be a common ear infection. Or it might be an inner ear infection. In both instances, a hearing evaluation is recommended.
Inflammation of the ear canal and middle ear can be the outcome of both kinds of infection. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this inflammation blocks the transmission of sound. Management might include some antibiotics. Once the infection clears, your hearing will usually go back to normal.
It’s also entirely possible that your hearing aid batteries need to be changed. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries get low so make sure you watch for that. This is true even if you have rechargeable batteries. Sometimes, changing the batteries with new ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
If you’re still having problems hearing, don’t discount the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. Think about 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 reprogrammed we can also do an inspection and cleaning.
Don’t let it linger
It’s certainly a good plan to come see us for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid still sounds muffled. If the muffled sounds linger, you may find yourself wearing your hearing aids less (or turning up the volume on your TV again). Your hearing could 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 get-together. You’ll have more fun if you can actually hear what everyone is saying!