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 waiting for this all week: a Zoom call with your son and daughter-in-law. You’ll have a great time and get caught up with your cherished family members.

But when the call starts, you are horrified to find out, you can’t hear what your loved ones are saying. Your hearing aids are in, but everything sounds muffled.

You can’t believe how disappointed you are.

Modern marvels muffled

Modern hearing aids are known for their ability to provide crystal clear sounds. So it can be really, really frustrating when that doesn’t happen. Hearing aids are designed to help you hear better, right? But your hearing aids aren’t helping 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?

All right, so, if the hearing aid is working correctly, why does everybody sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a few things you can do to correct the problem.


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. The problem with your hearing aid could be an accumulation of earwax against the microphone. Amplification is muffled when earwax hinders your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound.

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

  • Power-up the hearing aid. If the start-up songs and dings all sound fine, 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 check. In other words, take a good look at the device before you put it in your ear. Clean it thoroughly if you notice any earwax.

Conversely, it’s possible that earwax in your ear rather than on the hearing aid is the issue here. Be sure, in those situations, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). The troubleshooting will have to continue if the muffled sound persists even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.


So, if earwax isn’t the issue, the next likely reason is going to be an infection. Sometimes, this could be a standard ear infection. Or it may be an inner ear infection. Both are worth setting up an appointment for an assessment.

Inflammation of the ear canal and middle ear can be the outcome of both kinds of infection. This inflammation blocks the transmission of sound and, therefore, the sound you’re hearing is muffled. Normally, antibiotics will clear this type of infection up. When the infection has cleared, your hearing will usually go back to normal.


It’s also altogether possible that your hearing aid batteries are in need to be charged. As hearing aids drain, they sometimes begin to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this would be something to check). Even if your hearing aids are rechargeable this can be true. It’s possible, in many situations, that your hearing aids will be crystal clear again after you change the batteries with new ones.

Hearing loss

It could also be feasible that your hearing loss has changed and your hearing aids need to be adjusted to compensate for that. If you haven’t had a hearing exam in the last year or so, think about scheduling an appointment. While you’re here having your hearing aid adjusted 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 certainly 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 turning up the volume on your TV again). Your hearing could then start to sustain additional damage.

Letting it linger is not a good idea. Schedule an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family event. You’ll enjoy yourself more if you can actually hear what they’re 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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