My Hearing Sounds 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 looking forward to it all week! You’ll have a great time and get caught up with your beloved family members.

But when you log in you notice, to your horror and frustration, that you can’t hear very well. Your hearing aids are in, but everything sounds muffled.

You can’t believe how frustrated you are.

Modern marvels muffled

Modern hearing aids are famous for their ability to provide crystal clear sounds. So when that doesn’t occur, that can be really discouraging. You should have better hearing when you’re using hearing aids, right? But your hearing aids aren’t helping your hearing. Actually, they’re making everything sound muffled. 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 functioning correctly? Well, there are a couple of things you can do to try to fix the issue.


If I had a dime for every issue that earwax has caused (in general, not me personally), I’d be a rich (but still cranky) man. The problem with your hearing aid might be an accumulation of earwax against the microphone. The earwax impedes your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound and, hence, the amplification is muffled.

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

  • Turning the hearing aid on. If the start-up songs and dings all sound normal, but speech is later muffled, the problem is probably with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the most likely culprit).
  • Doing a visual check. Don’t just put your hearing aid in without getting a good look at it. Clean it thoroughly if you see any earwax.

It’s also possible that earwax has accumulated not on your hearing aid but in your ear. In those instances, make sure to clean out your ears in a safe way (a cotton swab, by the way, is not a safe way). If the muffled problem remains after you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll need to continue troubleshooting.


Infection will be the next thing to think about if earwax isn’t accountable. Sometimes, this could be a standard ear infection. Or it may be an inner ear infection. In both instances, a hearing evaluation is recommended.

Swelling of the ear canal and middle ear can be the result of both kinds of infection. This swelling blocks the transmission of sound and, consequently, the sound you’re hearing is muffled. Normally, antibiotics will clear this kind of infection up. As soon as the infection has cleared, your hearing will usually go back to normal.


It’s also altogether possible that your hearing aid batteries are in need to be charged. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries are drained so be sure to check for that. Even if you have rechargeable batteries this can still be true. Sometimes, switching out the batteries with new ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.

Hearing loss

It could also be feasible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be adjusted to compensate for that. If you haven’t had a hearing exam in the last year or so, consider making an appointment. 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 your hearing is still muffled, it’s certainly worth taking some time to come in for a consultation. 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 begin causing hearing damage again.

Letting it linger is not a smart plan. Make an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family get-together. You’ll have more fun if you can actually hear what everyone is saying!

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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