You’re having a Zoom call with your grandchild and you’ve been anticipating it all week! You’ll be able to catch up, check-in, and, laugh.
But when you log in you realize, to your sadness and frustration, that you can’t hear very well. You’re wearing your hearing aids but you still can’t hear anything.
You can’t believe how disappointed 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 discouraging when that doesn’t occur. 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 definitely not an improvement over your normal hearing). The hearing aid itself might not even be the problem.
What’s the cause of that muffling?
Ok, 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 try to right the ship, as it were.
You’d be rich if you had a dime for every time earwax caused trouble. The problem with your hearing aid may be a build-up of earwax against the microphone. Amplification is muffled when earwax hinders your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound.
You might be able to determine if earwax is the issue by:
- Visually look over your hearing aids. Don’t simply put your hearing aid in without taking a good look at it. If you notice any earwax, try to clean it off.
- Turning the hearing aid on. The issue 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.
Conversely, it’s possible that earwax in your ear and not on the hearing aid is the problem here. Make sure, in those instances, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). 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 responsible. Sometimes, this could be a standard ear infection. Or it might be an inner ear infection. In both instances, a hearing assessment is recommended.
Inflammation of the ear canal and middle ear can be the outcome of both kinds of infection. This inflammation blocks the transmission of sound and, consequently, the sound you’re hearing is muffled. Typical, antibiotics will clear this kind of infection up. When the infection has cleared, your hearing will usually go back to normal.
It’s also altogether possible that your hearing aid batteries are in need to be charged. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries are drained so be sure to watch for that. This is true even if your batteries are rechargeable. Sometimes, switching out the batteries with fresh ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.
If you’re still having trouble hearing, don’t ignore the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. If you haven’t had your hearing tested in the last year or so, consider making an appointment. Not only will you be able to be certain your hearing aids are properly programmed, but we will also be able to do a professional clean and check on your device.
Don’t let it linger
It’s definitely 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 solve this muffling problem. Your hearing could then begin to sustain additional damage.
Letting it linger is not a smart idea. 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 everyone is saying!