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 grandchild and you’ve been waiting for it all week! You’ll have a blast and catch-up with your beloved family members.

But when you log in you notice, to your sadness and disappointment, that you can’t hear very well. You’re wearing your hearing aids but things still sound muffled.

You’re incredibly disappointed.

Modern marvels muffled

It’s well known that you can achieve crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So it can be really, really aggravating when that doesn’t occur. You should have better hearing when you’re using hearing aids, right? But your hearing aids are not helping your hearing. In fact, they’re making everything sound muffled. 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 functioning correctly? Well, there are a few things you can do to try to fix the issue.


You’d be rich if you had a nickel for every time earwax caused trouble. The issue with your hearing aid may be an accumulation of earwax against the microphone. Amplification is muffled when earwax blocks your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound.

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

  • Turning the hearing aid on. The problem is likely to be the microphone (probably wax buildup) and not the speaker if all of the start-up sounds are normal when you power-up the hearing aid.
  • Visually look over your hearing aids. In other words, have a good look at the device before you put it in your ear. Clean it thoroughly if you notice any earwax.

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


Infection will be the next thing to consider if earwax isn’t accountable. This could be a common ear infection. Sometimes, it might be an inner ear infection. In both situations, a hearing assessment is suggested.

Swelling of the ear canal and middle ear can be the result of both kinds of infection. This inflammation blocks the transmission of sound and, therefore, your hearing is muffled. Treatments may include some antibiotics. As soon as the infection has cleared, your hearing will usually go back to normal.


You just need to change your battery. As hearing aids drain, they sometimes start to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this should be something to keep an eye on). Even if your hearing aids are rechargeable 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 new ones.

Hearing loss

If you’re still having problems hearing, don’t ignore the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. If you haven’t had your hearing tested in the last year or so, consider scheduling an appointment. Not only will you be able to be certain your hearing aids are correctly tuned, but we will also be able to do a professional clean and check on your device.

Don’t let it linger

It’s definitely a smart plan to come see us for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid still sounds muffled. You might find yourself leaving your hearing aids in a drawer and cranking your TV up again if you don’t resolve this muffling problem. Your hearing may then start to sustain further damage.

So, don’t let it linger. Make 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 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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