Happy mature middle aged adult woman wearing hearing aids waving hand holding digital tablet computer video conference calling by social distance virtual family online chat meeting sitting on couch at home

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 get online you realize, to your sadness and disappointment, that you can’t hear very well. You’re wearing your hearing aids but you still can’t hear anything.

You’re incredibly frustrated.

Modern marvels muffled

It’s well known that you can attain crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So when that doesn’t occur, that can be very depressing. Hearing aids are meant to help you hear better, right? But, lately, every time you’ve used your hearing aids, everything has sounded muffled and distorted (and that’s definitely not an improvement over your regular hearing). The hearing aid itself might not even be the problem.

What’s causing that muffling?

So why do voices sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher if your hearing aids are working correctly? Well, there are a couple of things you can do to try to right the ship, as it were.

Earwax

If I had a nickel for every issue 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. Amplification is muffled when earwax obstructs your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound.

Here are some indications that earwax could be the issue.:

  • Visually look over your hearing aids. In other words, take a good look at the hearing aid before you put it in your ear. If you notice any earwax, try to clean it off.
  • Turning the hearing aid on. If the start-up music and dings all sound normal, 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 accumulated not on your hearing aid but in your ear. Make sure, in those cases, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). The troubleshooting will have to continue if the muffled sound remains even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.

Infection

Infection will be the next thing to think about if earwax isn’t accountable. Sometimes, this could be a standard ear infection. Sometimes, it might be an inner ear infection. In both cases, a hearing assessment is suggested.

Ear infections of various kinds and causes can generate swelling in your ear canal or middle ear. This swelling blocks the transmission of sound and, therefore, your hearing is muffled. Treatments might include some antibiotics. Once the infection clears, your hearing should go back to normal.

Batteries

You just have to replace your battery. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries get low so be sure to watch for that. Even if your hearing aids are rechargeable this can be true. Sometimes, replacing the batteries with fresh ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.

Hearing loss

It could also be possible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be adjusted to compensate for that. Think about making an appointment for a hearing test if you haven’t had one in the past year. While you’re here having your hearing aid reprogrammed we can also do an inspection and cleaning.

Don’t let it linger

If you try all this troubleshooting and nothing really helps, it’s definitely worth taking some time to come in and see us. If the muffled sounds linger, you could find yourself wearing your hearing aids less (or cranking up the volume on your TV again). And all of that could start renewed hearing damage.

Letting it linger is not a good plan. Make an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family event. If you can actually hear what everyone is saying you’ll you’ll have a lot more fun.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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