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 looking forward to it all week! You’ll have a blast and catch-up with your cherished family members.

But when the call begins, you are horrified to realize, you can’t hear what your family members are saying. You’re wearing your hearing aids but things still sound muffled.

You can’t believe how frustrated you are.

Modern marvels muffled

Modern hearing aids are known for their ability to provide very clear sounds. So it can be really, really discouraging when that doesn’t occur. Hearing aids are meant to help you hear better, right? But, recently, every time you’ve used your hearing aids, everything has sounded muffled and distorted (and that’s certainly not an improvement over your regular hearing). The problem might not be the hearing aid at all.

What’s causing that muffling?

All right, so, if the hearing aid is functioning properly, why does everybody sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a couple of 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. Earwax might have built up against the microphone and that could be the source of your problem. The earwax impedes your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound and, hence, the amplification is muffled.

You might be able to determine if earwax is the problem by:

  • Turning the hearing aid on. The issue is likely to be the microphone (probably wax accumulation) and not the speaker if all of the start-up sounds are normal when you power-up the hearing aid.
  • Doing a visual assessment. In other words, take a good look at the device before you put it in your ear. If you see earwax, try to clean it off.

Alternatively, it’s possible that earwax in your ear rather than on the hearing aid is the issue here. In those instances, 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 persists even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.


Infection will be the next thing to consider if earwax isn’t accountable. This could be a common ear infection. Or it might be an inner ear infection. Both are worth making an appointment for an evaluation.

Swelling of the ear canal and middle ear can be the outcome of both kinds of infection. This inflammation blocks the transmission of sound and, consequently, the sound you’re hearing is muffled. Treatments might include some antibiotics. Once the infection has cleared, your hearing should return to normal.


You just need to replace your battery. As hearing aids lose power, they sometimes begin to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this would be something to check). This is true even if you have rechargeable batteries. It’s possible, in many instances, that your hearing aids will become crystal clear again after you replace the batteries with new ones.

Hearing loss

It might also be feasible 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 examination if you haven’t had one in the last year. While you’re here getting 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 definitely worth taking some time to come in and see us. You might find yourself leaving your hearing aids in a drawer and cranking your TV up again if you don’t solve this muffling problem. And all of that could start causing hearing damage again.

Letting it linger is not a smart idea. If you are unable to clean out some earwax and get hearing again, schedule a hearing exam with us today and get everything cleared up before your next family event. If you can actually hear what they’re saying you’ll you’ll have a lot more fun.

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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