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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 grandchildren. You’ll have a blast and catch-up with your cherished family members.

But when you get online you notice, to your sadness and disappointment, that you can’t hear properly. Your hearing aids are in, but everything sounds muffled.

You can’t believe how frustrated you are.

Modern marvels muffled

Modern hearing aids are celebrated for their ability to produce very clear sounds. That’s why 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 improving your hearing. In fact, they’re making everything sound muffled. The issue might 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 functioning properly? Well, there are a few things you can do to try to right the ship, as it were.


You’d be rich if you had a dime for every time earwax caused trouble. The problem with your hearing aid could be a build-up of earwax against the microphone. Amplification is muffled when earwax hinders your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound.

Here are some indications that earwax may be the problem.:

  • Visually look over your hearing aids. Don’t simply put your hearing aid in without getting a good look at it. Clean it thoroughly if you notice any earwax.
  • Turning the hearing aid on. 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 culprit).

Conversely, it’s possible that earwax in your ear rather than on the hearing aid is the issue here. Make sure, in those situations, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). If the muffled problem continues after you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll need to keep troubleshooting.


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

Ear infections of various kinds and causes can produce inflammation in your ear canal or middle ear. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this swelling blocks the transmission of sound. Management may include some antibiotics. As soon as the infection has cleared, your hearing will usually go back to normal.


You just need to change your battery. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries get low so make sure you check for that. This is still true even if your batteries are rechargeable. It’s possible, in many instances, that your hearing aids will become crystal clear again after you replace the batteries with fresh ones.

Hearing loss

It may 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 your hearing tested in the last year or so, think about scheduling an appointment. Not only will you be able to be certain 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 certainly worth taking some time to come in for a consultation. You may find yourself putting your hearing aids in a drawer and turning 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 examination with us right away and get everything taken care of before your next family event. You’ll have more fun 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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