Why Does my Hearing Aid Sound Muffled?

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 anticipating it all week! You’ll be able to get caught up, check-in, and, laugh.

But when the call begins, you are mortified to realize, you can’t hear what your loved ones are saying. 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 experience crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So when that doesn’t happen, that can be very frustrating. Hearing aids are meant 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 certainly not an improvement over your normal hearing). The problem may not be the hearing aid at all.

What’s causing that muffling?

So why do voices sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher if your hearing aids are working properly? Well, there are a couple things you can do to correct the problem.

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 may be a build-up of earwax against the microphone. Amplification is muffled when earwax hinders your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound.

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

  • Doing a visual check. 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. If the start-up music and dings all sound fine, but speech is later muffled, the issue is likely with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the likely reason).

Alternatively, it’s possible that earwax in your ear and not on the hearing aid is the issue here. In those situations, be certain to clean out your ears in a safe way (a cotton swab, by the way, is not a safe way). If the muffled issue remains once you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll need to keep troubleshooting.

Infection

So, if earwax isn’t the problem, the next likely culprit is going to be an infection. This could be a common ear infection. Sometimes, it may be an inner ear infection. In both cases, a hearing assessment is suggested.

Swelling of the ear canal and middle ear can be the outcome of both kinds of infection. This swelling blocks the transmission of sound and, consequently, your hearing is muffled. Normally, antibiotics will clear this kind of infection up. Once the infection clears, your hearing will usually go back to normal.

Batteries

It’s also very possible that your hearing aid batteries need to be changed. As hearing aids drain, they sometimes begin to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this should be something to keep an eye on). Even if you have rechargeable batteries this can be true. It’s possible, in many instances, that your hearing aids will be crystal clear again after you replace the batteries with fresh ones.

Hearing loss

If you’re still having problems hearing, don’t ignore the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. Consider scheduling an appointment for a hearing examination if you haven’t had one in the last year. While you’re here having your hearing aid adjusted we can also do an inspection and cleaning.

Don’t let it linger

It’s certainly a smart plan to come see us for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid still sounds muffled. If your muffled hearing lingers, you might find yourself wearing your hearing aids less (or turning up the volume on your TV again). Your hearing may then begin to sustain further damage.

So, don’t let it linger. Schedule an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family event. If you can actually hear what they’re saying you’ll you’ll have a lot more fun.

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.

Questions?

    Theos Audiology Solutions, LLC

    Peru, IL

    2200 Marquette Rd. Ste. 115Peru, IL 61354

    Call or Text: 815-374-7954

    Mon - Thurs: 9am - 4pm
    Fri: 9am - 3pm

    Galesburg, IL

    360 E. Losey St. Galesburg, IL 61401

    Call or Text: 309-315-3506

    Mon - Thurs: 8am - 4pm
    Fri: by appointment only


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