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, have a laugh.
But when you log in you notice, to your horror and frustration, that you can’t hear very well. Your hearing aids are in, but everything sounds muffled.
You’re incredibly disappointed.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well known that you can attain crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So when that doesn’t happen, that can be really discouraging. Hearing aids are supposed to help you hear better, right? But, recently, every time you’ve turned your hearing aids on, everything has sounded muffled and distorted (and that’s certainly not an improvement over your normal hearing). 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 a couple things you can do to fix the problem.
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. The issue with your hearing aid could be a build-up of earwax against the microphone. The earwax interferes with your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound and, thus, the amplification is muffled.
You might be able to determine if earwax is the problem by:
- Doing a visual check. In other words, take a good look at the device before you put it in your ear. If you see earwax, try to clean it off.
- Turning the hearing aid on. 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 power-up the hearing aid.
It’s also possible that earwax has accumulated not on your hearing aid but inside of your ear. Be sure, in those cases, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). If the muffled problem remains once you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll need to continue troubleshooting.
So, if earwax isn’t the issue, the next likely culprit is going to be an infection. This could be a normal ear infection. Sometimes, it could be an inner ear infection. Both are worth making an appointment for an evaluation.
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. Treatments might include some antibiotics. Once the infection has cleared, your hearing should return to normal.
You just have to change your battery. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries are drained so be sure to watch for that. Even if you have rechargeable batteries this can be true. Sometimes, replacing the batteries with fresh ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
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 scheduling an appointment. Not only will you be able to make sure 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 certainly worth taking some time to come in for a consultation. You might find yourself leaving your hearing aids in a drawer and cranking your TV up again if you don’t resolve this muffling issue. Your hearing may then begin to sustain further damage.
Letting it linger is not a wise idea. Make an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family event. You’ll enjoy yourself more if you can actually hear what everyone is saying!