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 great time and get caught up with your cherished family members.

But when you log in you realize, to your horror and frustration, that you can’t hear very well. You’re wearing your hearing aids but you still can’t hear anything.

You’re incredibly frustrated.

Modern marvels muffled

Modern hearing aids are celebrated for their ability to provide crystal clear sounds. That’s why it can be really, really frustrating when that doesn’t happen. You’re supposed to have clearer hearing with hearing aids, right? But your hearing aids aren’t improving your hearing. In fact, they’re making everything sound muffled. The hearing aid itself might not even be the issue.

What’s the cause of that muffling?

All right, so, if the hearing aid is functioning correctly, why does everyone sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are several things you can do to correct the issue.


You’d be rich if you had a dime for every time earwax caused trouble. The issue with your hearing aid could be an accumulation of earwax against the microphone. The earwax inhibits your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound and, hence, the amplification is muffled.

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

  • Power-up the hearing aid. If the start-up music and dings all sound normal, but speech is later muffled, the issue is probably with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the most likely reason).
  • Doing a visual inspection. In other words, take a good look at the hearing aid before you put it in your ear. Clean it completely if you notice any earwax.

It’s also possible that earwax has built up not on your hearing aid but inside of your ear. 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 lingers even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.


So, if earwax isn’t the problem, the next likely reason is going to be an infection. Sometimes, this could be a common ear infection. Sometimes, it might be an inner ear infection. Both are worth making an appointment for an evaluation.

Inflammation of the ear canal and middle ear can be the result of both kinds of infection. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this swelling blocks the transmission of sound. Management may include some antibiotics. Once the infection has cleared, your hearing should go back to normal.


You just have to change your battery. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries are drained so be sure to watch for that. Even if your hearing aids are rechargeable this can still be true. It’s possible, in many cases, that your hearing aids will become crystal clear again after you switch out the batteries with new ones.

Hearing loss

If you’re still having difficulty hearing, don’t dismiss the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. Think about scheduling an appointment for a hearing test if you haven’t had one in the last year. While you’re here getting your hearing aid adjusted we can also do an inspection and cleaning.

Don’t let it linger

It’s certainly a smart idea to come in for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid is still muffled. If your muffled hearing lingers, you could find yourself wearing your hearing aids less (or turning up the volume on your TV again). Your hearing could then begin to sustain additional damage.

Letting it linger is not a wise idea. If you are unable to clean out some earwax and get hearing again, schedule a hearing examination with us today and get everything cleared up before your next family event. You’ll have more fun 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.