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 anticipating it all week! You’ll be able to catch up, check-in, and, have a laugh.

But when you get online you notice, to your horror and disappointment, that you can’t hear properly. You’re wearing your hearing aids but things still sound muffled.

You’re incredibly discouraged.

Modern marvels muffled

It’s well known that you can experience crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So it can be really, really frustrating when that doesn’t happen. Hearing aids are supposed to help you hear better, right? But your hearing aids aren’t improving your hearing. Actually, they’re making everything sound muffled. The hearing aid itself may not even be the problem.

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 few things you can do to try to right the ship, as it were.


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 hinders your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound.

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

  • Turning the hearing aid on. If the start-up music and dings all sound fine, but speech is later muffled, the issue is likely with the microphone and not the speaker (and wax is the most likely reason).
  • Doing a visual inspection. Don’t simply put your hearing aid in without getting a good look at it. If you see earwax, try to remove it.

It’s also possible that earwax has built up not on your hearing aid but inside of your ear. Make sure, in those cases, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). The troubleshooting will have to continue if the muffled sound remains even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.


So, if earwax isn’t the problem, the next likely culprit will be an infection. This could be a common ear infection. Sometimes, it might be an inner ear infection. Both are worth making an appointment for an assessment.

Inflammation of the ear canal and middle ear can be the outcome of both kinds of infection. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this inflammation blocks the transmission of sound. Typical, antibiotics will clear this type of infection up. Once the infection has cleared, your hearing will usually go back to normal.


It’s also entirely possible that your hearing aid batteries need to be changed. As hearing aids drain, they sometimes begin to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this would be something to keep an eye on). Even if your hearing aids are rechargeable this can be true. It’s possible, in many cases, that your hearing aids will be crystal clear again after you replace the batteries with fresh ones.

Hearing loss

It may also be possible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be reprogrammed to make up for that. Think about making an appointment for a hearing test if you haven’t had one in the last year. Not only will you be able to make sure 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

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.

Letting it linger is not a wise plan. If you are unable to clear out some earwax and get hearing again, schedule a hearing examination with us right away and get everything cleared up before your next family event. You’ll enjoy yourself more if you can actually hear what everyone is saying!

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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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