You’ve been waiting for this all week: a Zoom call with your son and daughter-in-law. You’ll have a great time and get caught up with your beloved family members.
But when the call starts, you are mortified to find out, you can’t hear what your family members are saying. Your hearing aids are in, but everything seems muffled.
You can’t believe how disappointed you are.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well recognized that you can experience crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So when that doesn’t occur, that can be very discouraging. Hearing aids are designed 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 normal hearing). The hearing aid itself might not even be the problem.
What’s causing that muffling?
All right, so, if the hearing aid is functioning properly, why does everybody sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a couple of 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. The problem with your hearing aid might be an accumulation of earwax against the microphone. The earwax interferes with your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound and, thus, the amplification is muffled.
Here are some indications that earwax could be the problem.:
- Visually look over your hearing aids. Don’t just put your hearing aid in without getting a good look at it. Clean it completely if you notice any earwax.
- 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 likely culprit).
It’s also possible that earwax has built up not on your hearing aid but in your ear. In those instances, be certain to clean out your ears in a safe way (a cotton swab, by the way, is not a safe way). If the muffled problem remains after 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. Sometimes, this could be a common ear infection. Sometimes, it could be an inner ear infection. In both situations, a hearing evaluation is suggested.
Ear infections of several kinds and causes can create swelling in your ear canal or middle ear. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this inflammation blocks the transmission of sound. Typical, antibiotics will clear this type of infection up. When the infection has cleared, your hearing should return to normal.
It’s also very possible that your hearing aid batteries are in need to be charged. 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 become crystal clear again after you switch out the batteries with fresh ones.
It might also be feasible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be adjusted to compensate for that. If you haven’t had a hearing exam in the last year or so, consider making an appointment. 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 idea to come in for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid is still muffled. You might find yourself leaving your hearing aids in a drawer and cranking your TV up again if you don’t eliminate this muffling problem. Your hearing may then begin to sustain further damage.
So, don’t let it linger. If you are unable to clear out some earwax and get hearing again, schedule a hearing test with us today and get everything taken care of before your next family event. If you can actually hear what they’re saying you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more.