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’ve been looking forward to this all week: a Zoom call with your son and daughter-in-law. You’ll be able to catch up, check-in, and, have a laugh.

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

You can’t believe how disappointed you are.

Modern marvels muffled

It’s well known that you can experience crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So when that doesn’t occur, that can be very frustrating. You’re supposed to have clearer hearing with hearing aids, right? But, recently, every time you’ve turned your hearing aids on, everything has sounded muffled and distorted (and that’s definitely not an improvement over your regular hearing). The problem might not be the hearing aid at all.

Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?

Ok, so, if the hearing aid is functioning correctly, why does everyone sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a couple things you can do to fix the issue.


You’d be rich if you had a nickel for every time earwax caused trouble. Earwax may have built up against the microphone and that could be the source of your trouble. Amplification is muffled when earwax obstructs your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound.

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

  • Visually inspect your hearing aids. Don’t simply put your hearing aid in without getting a good look at it. If you see earwax, try to clean it off.
  • 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.

It’s also possible that earwax has built up not on your hearing aid but in your ear. 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). The troubleshooting will need to continue if the muffled sound remains even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.


So, if earwax isn’t the problem, the next likely culprit will be an infection. In many cases, this could be a common ear infection. Sometimes, it might be an inner ear infection. Both are worth scheduling an appointment for an assessment.

Ear infections of several kinds and causes can generate swelling in your ear canal or middle ear. This swelling blocks the transmission of sound and, consequently, the sound you’re hearing is muffled. Normally, antibiotics will clear this type of infection up. Once the infection has cleared, your hearing will usually go back to normal.


You just have to change your battery. 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 still true even if your batteries are rechargeable. It’s possible, in many cases, that your hearing aids will become crystal clear again after you switch out the batteries with fresh ones.

Hearing loss

If you’re still having problems hearing, don’t discount the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. Consider making an appointment for a hearing test if you haven’t had one in the past year. While you’re here getting your hearing aid reprogrammed we can also do an inspection and cleaning.

Don’t let it linger

It’s certainly a good idea to come see us for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid is still muffled. You may find yourself putting your hearing aids in a drawer and turning your TV up again if you don’t resolve this muffling issue. Your hearing could then begin to sustain additional damage.

Letting it linger is not a wise idea. Schedule an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family get-together. You’ll enjoy yourself more if you can actually hear what they’re 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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