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 grandchild and you’ve been waiting for it all week! You’ll have a blast and get caught up with your cherished family members.

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 things still sound muffled.

You’re incredibly frustrated.

Modern marvels muffled

It’s well known that you can attain crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So when that doesn’t occur, that can be very frustrating. Hearing aids are supposed 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 definitely not an improvement over your normal hearing). The hearing aid itself may not even be the issue.

What’s causing that muffling?

Ok, so, if the hearing aid is working properly, why does everybody sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are several things you can do to fix the issue.


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. Earwax might have accumulated against the microphone and that could be the source of your trouble. The earwax interferes with your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound and, hence, the amplification is muffled.

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

  • Visually look over your hearing aids. Don’t just put your hearing aid in without taking a good look at it. Clean it thoroughly if you notice any earwax.
  • Turning the hearing aid on. If the start-up songs and dings all sound normal, but speech is later muffled, the issue is likely with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the likely reason).

Conversely, it’s possible that earwax in your ear and not on the hearing aid is the issue here. Be sure, in those cases, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). If the muffled issue persists after you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll have to continue troubleshooting.


So, if earwax isn’t the issue, the next likely culprit will be an infection. Sometimes, this could be a standard ear infection. Or it may be an inner ear infection. In both situations, 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, therefore, your hearing is muffled. Usually, antibiotics will clear this type of infection up. Once the infection has cleared, your hearing should return to normal.


You just need to change your battery. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries get low so be sure to check for that. This is true even if your batteries are rechargeable. Sometimes, changing the batteries with new ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.

Hearing loss

It may also be possible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be adjusted to compensate for that. Consider making an appointment for a hearing test if you haven’t had one in the past year. 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 nothing really helps, it’s definitely worth taking some time to come in for a consultation. If your muffled hearing lingers, you might find yourself using your hearing aids less (or cranking up the volume on your TV again). Your hearing may then begin to sustain further damage.

So, don’t let it linger. If you can’t clear out some earwax and get hearing again, schedule a hearing test with us right away and get everything taken care of before your next family get-together. You’ll enjoy yourself more 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.