Edison Stanford Intelligent Hearing - Salt Lake City, Draper, and Provo, UT

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’re having a Zoom call with your granddaughter and you’ve been waiting for it all week! You’ll be able to get caught up, check-in, and, have a laugh.

But when you log in you realize, to your horror and disappointment, that you can’t hear very well. You’re wearing your hearing aids but you still can’t hear anything.

You can’t believe how discouraged you are.

Modern marvels muffled

It’s well known that you can experience crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. That’s why it can be really, really aggravating when that doesn’t occur. You’re supposed to have better hearing when you’re using hearing aids, right? But your hearing aids aren’t helping your hearing. Actually, they’re making everything sound muffled. The problem 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 working properly? Well, there are a few things you can do to fix the issue.


If I had a nickel for every problem that earwax has caused (in general, not me personally), I’d be a rich (but still cranky) man. Earwax may have accumulated against the microphone and that may be the source of your trouble. The earwax impedes your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound and, as a result, the amplification is muffled.

Here are some signs that earwax could be the issue.:

  • Turning the hearing aid on. The problem is likely to be the microphone (probably wax accumulation) and not the speaker if all of the start-up sounds are normal when you turn on the hearing aid.
  • Visually look over your hearing aids. In other words, have a good look at the device before you put it in your ear. Clean it completely if you notice any earwax.

It’s also possible that earwax has accumulated not on your hearing aid but inside of your ear. In those cases, 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 remains once you’ve cleaned up your hearing aid and your ears, you’ll need to continue troubleshooting.


So, if earwax isn’t the issue, the next likely reason is going to be an infection. This could be a normal ear infection. Sometimes, it could be an inner ear infection. In both cases, a hearing assessment is suggested.

Inflammation of the ear canal and middle ear can be the outcome of both kinds of infection. Your hearing will then sound muffled as this swelling blocks the transmission of sound. Treatments might include some antibiotics. As soon as the infection has cleared, your hearing should return to normal.


It’s also very possible that your hearing aid batteries need to be changed. Hearing aids can sound muffled when the batteries are drained so make sure you watch for that. Even if you have rechargeable batteries this can still be true. 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

If you’re still having trouble hearing, don’t dismiss the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. Consider scheduling an appointment for a hearing exam if you haven’t had one in the past year. While you’re here having your hearing aid reprogrammed 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 definitely worth taking some time to come in for a consultation. You may find yourself putting your hearing aids in a drawer and cranking your TV up again if you don’t eliminate this muffling problem. Your hearing may then start to sustain additional damage.

Letting it linger is not a smart idea. If you can’t clean out some earwax and get hearing again, schedule a hearing exam with us right away and get everything taken care of before your next family get-together. 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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