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Audiology Specialty Clinic - Sioux Falls, SD

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 be able to get caught up, check-in, and, laugh.

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

You can’t believe how disappointed you are.

Modern marvels muffled

It’s well recognized that you can attain crystal clear sound with modern hearing aids. So when that doesn’t happen, that can be really frustrating. 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 hearing aid itself might not even be the problem.

Why do my hearing aids sound muffled?

So why do voices sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher if your hearing aids are functioning correctly? Well, there are a couple things you can do to correct 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. The issue with your hearing aid could be an accumulation of earwax against the microphone. Amplification is muffled when earwax blocks your hearing aid’s ability to pick up sound.

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

  • Power-up the hearing aid. The issue 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.
  • Visually look over your hearing aids. In other words, take a good look at the hearing aid before you put it in your ear. Clean it completely if you see any earwax.

It’s also possible that earwax has built up not on your hearing aid but in your ear. Make sure, in those situations, you safely clean out your ears (cotton swabs are not recommended). The troubleshooting will have to continue if the muffled sound remains even after you’ve cleaned your ears and your hearing aid.


Infection will be the next thing to think about if earwax isn’t accountable. This could be a normal ear infection. Sometimes, it could be an inner ear infection. In both situations, a hearing assessment is recommended.

Ear infections of various kinds and causes can generate inflammation in your ear canal or middle ear. This swelling blocks the transmission of sound and, therefore, the sound you’re hearing is muffled. Normally, antibiotics will clear this kind of infection up. Once the infection goes away, your hearing will usually return to normal.


You just need 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 your batteries are rechargeable. 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 ignore the possibility that your hearing loss has changed. 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 programmed, 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 and see us. If your muffled hearing lingers, you may find yourself using your hearing aids less (or turning up the volume on your TV again). Your hearing could then begin to sustain further damage.

Letting it linger is not a good plan. Make an appointment with us so you can get back to hearing before that big 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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