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 anticipating this all week: a Zoom call with your son and daughter-in-law. You’ll have a great time and catch-up with your beloved family members.

But when you get online you notice, to your sadness and frustration, that you can’t hear very well. You’re wearing your hearing aids but things still sound muffled.

You’re incredibly frustrated.

Modern marvels muffled

It’s well known that you can achieve crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So it can be really, really aggravating when that doesn’t happen. You’re supposed to have clearer hearing when you’re using hearing aids, right? But, recently, every time you’ve used your hearing aids, everything has sounded muffled and distorted (and that’s definitely not an improvement over your regular hearing). The problem might not be the hearing aid at all.

Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?

Ok, so, if the hearing aid is working correctly, why does everyone sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are a few things you can do to fix 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. Earwax might have built up against the microphone and that may be the source of your problem. Amplification is muffled when earwax obstructs your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound.

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

  • Doing a visual inspection. Don’t simply put your hearing aid in without taking a good look at it. Clean it thoroughly if you see any earwax.
  • Power-up the hearing aid. The issue is likely to be the microphone (probably wax accumulation) and not the speaker if all of the start-up sounds are normal when you power-up the hearing aid.

It’s also possible that earwax has accumulated not on your hearing aid but in your ear. Be sure, in those instances, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). If the muffled issue remains after you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll need to keep troubleshooting.


Infection will be the next thing to think about if earwax isn’t responsible. In many cases, this could be a standard ear infection. Sometimes, it may be an inner ear infection. In both situations, a hearing evaluation is suggested.

Ear infections of several kinds and causes can generate swelling in your ear canal or middle ear. This swelling blocks the transmission of sound and, consequently, your hearing is muffled. Normally, antibiotics will clear this type of infection up. Once the infection clears, your hearing should return to normal.


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

Hearing loss

If you’re still having trouble hearing, don’t discount the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. Consider scheduling an appointment for a hearing examination if you haven’t had one in the last year. Not only will you be able to be certain 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 plan to come see us for a consultation if you’ve tried all this and your hearing aid is still muffled. You might find yourself leaving your hearing aids in a drawer and turning your TV up again if you don’t resolve this muffling issue. And all of that could begin causing hearing damage again.

So, don’t let it linger. 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 get-together. You’ll have more fun if you can actually hear what everyone is saying!

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment

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.
Why wait? You don't have to live with hearing loss. Call or Text Us