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 have a blast and catch-up with your beloved family members.

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

You’re incredibly frustrated.

Modern marvels muffled

Modern hearing aids are celebrated for their ability to produce crystal clear sounds. So when that doesn’t occur, that can be very depressing. Hearing aids are meant to help you hear better, right? But your hearing aids aren’t improving your hearing. Actually, they’re making everything sound muffled. The issue may not be the hearing aid at all.

Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?

So why do voices sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher if your hearing aids are working properly? Well, there are a couple things you can do to correct the issue.


If I had a nickel for every issue that earwax has caused (in general, not me personally), I’d be a rich (but still cranky) man. Earwax may have built up against the microphone and that may be the source of your trouble. Amplification is muffled when earwax blocks your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound.

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

  • Power-up the hearing aid. The issue 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.
  • Doing a visual inspection. Don’t just put your hearing aid in without getting a good look at it. Clean it completely if you notice any earwax.

Alternatively, it’s possible that earwax in your ear rather than on the hearing aid is the issue here. 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 have to continue if the muffled sound remains even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.


Infection will be the next thing to think about if earwax isn’t responsible. This could be a normal ear infection. Sometimes, it could be an inner ear infection. In both situations, a hearing assessment is suggested.

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, your hearing is muffled. Management might include some antibiotics. Once the infection clears, your hearing should go back to normal.


You just have to change your battery. As hearing aids drain, they sometimes begin to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this would be something to check). Even if you have rechargeable batteries 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 problems hearing, don’t discount the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. Think about making an appointment for a hearing test if you haven’t had one in the past year. Not only will you be able to be certain your hearing aids are correctly programmed, but we will also be able to do a professional clean and check on your device.

Don’t let it linger

If you try all this troubleshooting and nothing really helps, it’s certainly worth taking some time to come in for a consultation. If your muffled hearing lingers, you might find yourself wearing your hearing aids less (or cranking up the volume on your TV again). And all of that could start renewed hearing damage.

So, don’t let it linger. Schedule an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family event. If you can actually hear what they’re saying you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more.

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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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