Alternating between slightly muffled and clear

I need some help from other forum members. Anybody have a similar experience, or some insight into it?

I’ve had [digital] Aleras with custom earmolds made of Lucite (I think–they’re harder than silicone, anyway), mainly to help with retention. With domes, the Aleras tended to fall off my ears without me even feeling it happen at the time, so we went to earmolds so I wouldn’t lo$e them. I’ve had these since late last summer, and after the usual round of adjustments, have generally been very happy with both.

But I’m having one minor issue I haven’t noticed in other threads here, and I don’t know what to make of it. I will ask my audiologist about it next time I see her, but in the meantime, any thoughts are welcome.

Many days, the sound is good and steady for hours at a time if not all day. Other days, occasionally, the sound will seem slightly muffled for hours at a time. And then other days, including today, the sound slowly cycles in and out between seeming correct vs. seeming muffled. The cycles may last 30 seconds to a minute. It’s subtle and is primarily noticeable when listening to music or in a noisy environment with treble such as in a restaurant. The best way for me to characterize it when it’s cycling is that it’s like somebody’s slowly adjusting the treble knob on an older stereo amplifier from 0 to -10 and back again.

I don’t notice it much with ordinary conversation in a quiet environment. Particularly since I hear the same cycles in both ears simultaneously, and also since pulling the earmolds a little bit out of the ear canal sometimes alleviates it, I think it’s related more to the earmolds than the aids. The earmolds don’t feel tight.

I initially had a pair of silicone earmolds, but they sounded too muffled all the time, and my audiologist said, you know what, I ordered Lucite anyway, so they’re going to remake these for you. When I had the Aleras with domes, they never sounded muffled, but we had the retention issue. But even if it is the earmolds, how do we account for the occasional sensation of cycling?

This issue is not a dealbreaker, just mildly annoying. I realize the whole thing sounds a little Looney Tunes… other than that, any thoughts?

I have moments (times) when I wonder if my hearing aids are picking up sounds as they should. They sometimes just don’t seem to be working, or working well. Then I think it is perhaps the battery, maybe the voltage fluctuates a bit causing this to happen. Since my HA’s are not interconnected, it seems to happen perhaps more on the left side than the right.

Then, I think that perhaps my brain is just getting used to the hearing aids, as, when I remove them after the end of every day, I immediately feel as though I have just stuffed cotton in my ears. That is not the same as what I am experiencing with them in. My volume seems to go (on your zero to ten scale like a volume control on a stereo) from ten to perhaps seven, or even just to eight or even 8.5. My aids have never seemed to go out or off completely unless the batteries are definately going and I get the audible beeps indicating so.

Could there be a problem with some kind of partial obstruction of the hole where the sound is emmitted to the ear drum?

That’s more or less what I was experiencing with my Bernafon Verite7 ITCD. And here’s what I changed (and it seems to help, don’t ask me why):

a) I felt there was some connection between the muffled sound and my having Bluetooth (between neckloop and phone) turned ON. Now I disconnect Bluetooth (between neckloop and phone) after I’m done with a phone conversation. That seems to have eliminated the muffled-ness (more or less) by removing whatever goes on between neckloop and hearing aids. As I said earlier I can’t explain this any more than hypothesize…
b) Times I hear things muffled I realize I’ve inadvertently bumped on of those buttons in my neckloop (for the music or tel…). I turn them off, lock my neckloop so those features don’t turn on if I bump my neckloop…
c) The rare times I still experience some muffled-ness I toggle from one program to another and back. That always makes the aid sound fresh.

/s

There are several different things that might be causing what you’re experiencing (I’ve had a couple patients experience exactly what you’re describing) and it should be relatively straightforward to resolve once the cause is determined.

To assist the professional you’re working with you’ll want to note whether the effect occurs in both ears or in just the left or the right. You’ll also want to write down specific times of day or events that seem to trigger the effect. Lastly, if your hearing aids are setup with multiple programs you’ll want to note whether the effect occurs across all programs or only in your primary program. Having this information available should help the professional you’re working with eliminate certain possibilities and get to the root of the problem more quickly.

Thanks for all the great suggestions from all of you. Definitely many things there to try and to give some thought to. If we pin it down, I’ll follow up. Today I’m not hearing it, and I haven’t changed batteries since posting.