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 blast and get caught up with your beloved family members.

But when you log in you notice, to your horror and disappointment, that you can’t hear properly. Your hearing aids are in, but everything seems muffled.

You can’t believe how discouraged you are.

Modern marvels muffled

Modern hearing aids are famous for their ability to produce crystal clear sounds. So when that doesn’t happen, that can be very frustrating. You should have clearer hearing with hearing aids, right? But your hearing aids aren’t helping your hearing. In fact, they’re making everything sound muffled. The problem may not be the hearing aid at all.

What’s causing that muffling?

Ok, so, if the hearing aid is functioning correctly, why does everybody sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? Well, there are several 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 may be the source of your problem. The earwax inhibits your hearing aid’s ability to detect sound and, as a result, the amplification is muffled.

You might be able to determine if earwax is the issue by:

  • Doing a visual inspection. In other words, take a good look at the device before you put it in your ear. If you notice any earwax, try to clean it off.
  • Turning the hearing aid on. 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.

Alternatively, it’s possible that earwax in your ear rather than on the hearing aid is the issue here. 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 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. This could be a common ear infection. Sometimes, it might be an inner ear infection. Both are worth making an appointment for an evaluation.

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


It’s also altogether possible that your hearing aid batteries need to be changed. As hearing aids lose power, they sometimes begin to sound, well, muffled (you can see why this should be something to keep an eye on). This is still true even if you have rechargeable batteries. Sometimes, switching out the batteries with fresh ones can make your hearing aids sound crystal clear again.

Hearing loss

If you’re still having difficulty hearing, don’t discount the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. Consider making an appointment for a hearing test if you haven’t had one in the past year. 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 definitely a smart plan 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 may find yourself wearing your hearing aids less (or cranking up the volume on your TV again). Your hearing may then start to sustain further damage.

So, don’t let it linger. Schedule an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big family event. If you can actually hear what they’re saying you’ll you’ll have a lot more fun.

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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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