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Evanston Audiology - Evanston, IL

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 looking forward to it all week! You’ll be able to catch up, check-in, and, have a laugh.

But when the call begins, you are mortified to realize, you can’t hear what your loved ones are saying. Your hearing aids are in, but everything sounds muffled.

You’re incredibly discouraged.

Modern marvels muffled

It’s well recognized that you can attain crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So when that doesn’t occur, that can be very discouraging. You should have clearer hearing with hearing aids, right? But your hearing aids are not helping your hearing. In fact, they’re making everything sound muffled. The issue may not be the hearing aid at all.

Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?

So why do voices sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher if your hearing aids are functioning correctly? Well, there are a few things you can do to try to fix the issue.

Earwax

If I had a nickel for every problem that earwax has caused (in general, not me personally), I’d be a rich (but still cranky) man. Earwax may have built up against the microphone and that may be the source of your trouble. Amplification is muffled when earwax blocks your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound.

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

  • Visually inspect your hearing aids. In other words, have 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.

Alternatively, it’s possible that earwax in your ear rather than on the hearing aid is the issue here. 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

So, if earwax isn’t the issue, the next likely reason is going to be an infection. Sometimes, this could be a common ear infection. Or it might be an inner ear infection. Both are worth scheduling an appointment for an evaluation.

Ear infections of various kinds and causes can produce swelling in your ear canal or middle ear. This swelling blocks the transmission of sound and, therefore, the sound you’re hearing is muffled. Management may include some antibiotics. Once the infection goes away, your hearing will usually return to normal.

Batteries

You just need to change your battery. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries get low so make sure you watch for that. This is true even if your batteries are rechargeable. It’s possible, in many instances, that your hearing aids will become crystal clear again after you replace the batteries with new ones.

Hearing loss

If you’re still having problems hearing, don’t ignore the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. Think about making an appointment for a hearing examination if you haven’t had one in the last year. Not only will you be able to make sure 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 certainly a smart idea to come in for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid still sounds muffled. If the muffled sounds linger, you may find yourself using your hearing aids less (or cranking up the volume on your TV again). And all of that could begin causing hearing damage again.

So, don’t let it linger. If you can’t 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 get-together. You’ll have more fun if you can actually hear what they’re saying!

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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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