You’ve been looking forward to this all week: a Zoom call with your grandchildren. You’ll have a great time and catch-up with your beloved family members.
But when the call starts, you are horrified 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 frustrated you are.
Modern marvels muffled
It’s well recognized that you can achieve crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. That’s why it can be really, really frustrating when that doesn’t happen. Hearing aids are designed to help you hear better, right? But your hearing aids are not improving your hearing. Actually, they’re making everything sound muffled. The hearing aid itself may not even be the issue.
What’s the cause of that muffling?
All right, so, if the hearing aid is functioning correctly, why does everybody sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a few things you can do to fix the problem.
You’d be rich if you had a dime for every time earwax caused trouble. Earwax might have accumulated against the microphone and that could be the source of your problem. The earwax inhibits your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound and, hence, the amplification is muffled.
Here are some indications that earwax could be the issue.:
- Doing a visual assessment. In other words, take a good look at the hearing aid before you put it in your ear. If you see earwax, try to remove it.
- Power-up the hearing aid. 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 turn on the hearing aid.
It’s also possible that earwax has built up not on your hearing aid but inside of your ear. 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 might be an inner ear infection. In both cases, a hearing evaluation is suggested.
Ear infections of several kinds and causes can produce swelling in your ear canal or middle ear. This inflammation blocks the transmission of sound and, consequently, your hearing is muffled. Management might include some antibiotics. Once the infection clears, your hearing should return to normal.
It’s also entirely possible that your hearing aid batteries are in need to be charged. As hearing aids drain, they sometimes begin to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this should be something to keep an eye on). This is still true even if you have rechargeable batteries. Sometimes, changing the batteries with fresh 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 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 having your hearing aid reprogrammed we can also do an inspection and cleaning.
Don’t let it linger
It’s certainly a smart plan to come in for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid still sounds muffled. You might find yourself putting your hearing aids in a drawer and cranking your TV up again if you don’t eliminate this muffling problem. Your hearing could then start 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 exam with us right away and get everything taken care of before your next family event. If you can actually hear what everyone is saying you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more.