Puretone Hearing Aid Center - Longview, Marshall, and San Antonio, TX

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 granddaughter and you’ve been waiting for it all week! You’ll be able to catch up, check-in, and, laugh.

But when the call starts, you are horrified to find out, you can’t hear what your loved ones are saying. Your hearing aids are in, but everything seems muffled.

You can’t believe how frustrated you are.

Modern marvels muffled

Modern hearing aids are celebrated for their ability to provide crystal clear sounds. That’s why it can be really, really frustrating when that doesn’t happen. Hearing aids are supposed to help you hear better, right? But your hearing aids aren’t improving your hearing. In fact, they’re making everything sound muffled. The hearing aid itself may not even be the issue.

Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?

All right, so, if the hearing aid is functioning properly, why does everyone sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a couple of things you can do to try to right the ship, as it were.

Earwax

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, as a result, the amplification is muffled.

You might be able to tell if earwax is the issue by:

  • Turning the hearing aid on. The problem 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.
  • Doing a visual assessment. In other words, have a good look at the device before you put it in your ear. If you see earwax, try to remove it.

It’s also possible that earwax has accumulated not on your hearing aid but in your ear. 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

So, if earwax isn’t the issue, the next likely reason will be an infection. This could be a normal ear infection. Or it might be an inner ear infection. In both situations, a hearing assessment 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, therefore, your hearing is muffled. Management may include some antibiotics. When the infection has cleared, your hearing will usually return to normal.

Batteries

It’s also altogether possible that your hearing aid batteries need to be changed. As hearing aids drain, they sometimes start to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this would be something to keep an eye on). This is true even if you have rechargeable batteries. Sometimes, changing the batteries with fresh ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.

Hearing loss

If you’re still having difficulty hearing, don’t discount the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. Think about scheduling an appointment for a hearing exam if you haven’t had one in the past year. Not only will you be able to make sure your hearing aids are properly tuned, but we will also be able to do a professional clean and check on your device.

Don’t let it linger

It’s certainly a good plan to come in for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid is still muffled. If the muffled sounds linger, you could find yourself using your hearing aids less (or cranking up the volume on your TV again). Your hearing may then start to sustain additional damage.

So, don’t let it linger. If you can’t clean 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 get-together. If you can actually hear what everyone is saying you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more.

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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.