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 grandchildren. You’ll have a great time and get caught up with your beloved family members.

But when the call begins, you are mortified to find out, you can’t hear what your family members are saying. You’re wearing your hearing aids but you still can’t hear anything.

You can’t believe how frustrated you are.

Modern marvels muffled

Modern hearing aids are famous for their ability to produce crystal clear sounds. So it can be really, really aggravating when that doesn’t happen. Hearing aids are meant to help you hear better, 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.

Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?

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


You’d be rich if you had a dime for every time earwax caused trouble. Earwax might have built up against the microphone and that could be the source of your problem. Amplification is muffled when earwax hinders your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound.

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

  • Doing a visual check. In other words, have a good look at the hearing aid before you put it in your ear. Clean it thoroughly if you notice any earwax.
  • Power-up the hearing aid. The problem is likely to be the microphone (probably wax buildup) and not the speaker if all of the start-up sounds are normal when you turn on the hearing aid.

Conversely, it’s possible that earwax in your ear and not on the hearing aid is the problem here. 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). If the muffled issue continues after you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll have to continue troubleshooting.


So, if earwax isn’t the issue, 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 scheduling an appointment for an evaluation.

Ear infections of several kinds and causes can produce swelling in your ear canal or middle ear. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this swelling blocks the transmission of sound. Usually, antibiotics will clear this kind of infection up. Once the infection has cleared, your hearing will usually return to normal.


You just have to change your battery. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries get low so make sure you watch for that. This is still true even if you have rechargeable batteries. Sometimes, replacing the batteries with new ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.

Hearing loss

It could also be possible 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. Not only will you be able to make sure your hearing aids are properly tuned, but we will also be able to do a professional clean and check on your device.

Don’t let it linger

It’s certainly a good idea to come see us for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid still sounds muffled. If the muffled sounds linger, you might find yourself wearing your hearing aids less (or turning up the volume on your TV again). And all of that could start causing hearing damage again.

So, don’t let it linger. Make an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family get-together. 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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