Everyone loves to hear a crystal clear sound out of their headphones. However, sometimes the headphones sound muffled.
It ruins your music as well as the call listening experience. It is very frustrating when you cannot hear the other person on the call.
But, stop worrying because we are going to solve your issue. We will tell you that why your headphones sound muffled. Moreover, we will also help you fix your headphones.
You may be wondering why this issue arises in your headphones. There are a number of reasons; some are very trivial while others are complex.
So, we have to try a combination of the best troubleshooting methods. These methods will work for all sorts of headphones. So, let us discuss each cause and its solution.
Some Important Checks
As we said earlier, the issue is sometimes very trivial that is caused by our neglect. So, you need to check some very basic things before proceeding further;
Make sure that the battery of both your headphones and the connected device (computer, phone) is charged. Because a low battery percentage leads to muffled sound.
Due to continuous use, the headphones get overheated, the same can happen with your device. So, stop using your headphones and let them cool down.
Too much distance between your headphones and a connected device like laptops, smartphones can also cause a muffled voice.
Because Bluetooth functions well within 30 feet range. So, make sure that both devices are placed closer to each other.
If you are using a cable for connecting your headphones, make sure the cable is functioning. Also, confirm that the wire is connected firmly.
Always use a compatible cable that is provided with your headphones instead of a cheap and third-party product.
The audio connection port on your headphones should be in good condition-not broken or loose.
Connect your headphones to some other audio source. If still the sound is muffled then your headphones are the culprit. Otherwise, the connected device has some issues.
Headphones Sound Muffled: Causes and Solutions
In this section, we will describe the common causes of the muffled sound and will also suggest you the best solutions.
1. Weak Connection
Since the headphones are wireless, they are likely to get muffled due to a weak connection.
For example, you have connected your headphones to your smartphone via Bluetooth and you are listening to calls or music.
If the Bluetooth connection is weak, the sound will come muffled. In addition, there may be a compatibility issue; the Bluetooth version is older.
The Bluetooth 4.2 or 5 is considered ideal for headphones. Further, if you are playing music live on your device, a bad internet connection can also cause a muffled sound.
In case of making or receiving calls, the weak phone network can also cause a muffled sound.
One handy solution for this problem is to disconnect your headphones from the device. Reboot your device and connect the headphones again.
Another trick is to restart your mobile or computer. Workload, temporary bugs, and caches can cause a muffled voice.
If the battery is low, charge it fully and then reconnect. Change your position and orientation, this will help solve the weak connection issue.
Make sure your internet connection is strong. A temporary issue can be solved by disconnecting and reconnecting the headphones with the Wifi.
2. Trapped Dirt or Debris
You use headphones both indoor and outdoor. So, they are likely to accumulate dust in speakers and ports. Over time, the dust gets hard and clogged into the openings.
So, it causes muffled sound through your headphones. Because the air has to pass through the small gate of the dirt and some of it is lost on the way.
Earwax can also trap inside the audio ports and gives muffled sound.
Even if you cannot see dirt in the ports of your headphones, still you should clean them thoroughly.
One common method is to suck your earbuds, it will remove the earwax and dirt. It may sound odd, but this method worked well for many users.
Alternately, you can use cotton buds, move them gently around the cup area and speaker.
Another method is to blow the dirt out using a compressed air can. Take a paper clip and straighten it by unfolding it. Tightly, wrap the sticky tap at one end of the paper clip.
Now, insert this combo into the audio jack and other small openings on your headphones. The tiny dust particles will stick to the tap, change it once it gets dirty.
3. Liquid Damage
Sometimes, water or moisture enters your headphones and damages them. This can be caused due to careless handling.
For example, using the headphones with wet hands, wearing them during the shower or while your hair is wet, walking in rain, or spilling some liquid accidentally.
But, maybe your headphones are water-resistant as most of them are. But, it does not mean you can freely use them in water.
You have to check the IP rating of your headphones; some are only splash and moisture-proof. Water can harm the speakers of your headphones as well as corrode metallic components.
If you are sure that your headphones have contacted water then try to dry them out.
Take a cotton pad and dip it into the 91% isopropyl. Remember you have to make the cotton a little wet, it should not be dripping liquid.
Now, rub this pad onto the parts of your headphones that are wet or rusty.
Next, take a big-sized airtight jar and fill it with silica gel. Leave your headphones in this jar for 12 hours so that they can dry completely.
If you do not find the silica gel, you can use rice. But, this method may have side effects as your headphones can capture the dust from rice.
4. Incompatible Audio Format
Another common reason for muffled headphones is the incompatible audio format. A low-quality audio format results in a sound loss.
For instance, low-bitrate MP3 files are unable to output the file data. Hence, the sound reaching your headphones is muffled.
The sole solution to this problem is using high-quality audio sources. Whenever, you play a track on your phone or PC, make sure that it has a compatible format.
You can check the source issue by playing multiple audio files. If only a few are muffled then your headphones are working well and the problem is in particular audio files.
5. Software Issues in the Devices
Certain software issues in your headphones, computer, or phone can also cause a muffled sound. For example, pending software updates, glitches or bugs interfere with the sound quality.
You need to reset your headphones and clear the Bluetooth pairing list on them. The method differs across various headphones models and brands.
You can check the reset method in the user guide or online. Another solution is to install the software update on your phone or PC to which your headphones are connected.
Also, check the audio drivers on your devices, they should be running the latest firmware.
If this does not help, reset your phone or perform a factory reset. This can be done by accessing the settings on your phone. However, you can search for the relevant method online.
Related: Bose Headphones Not Turning OFF or ON Fixed
6. Fix Headphones Sounding Muffled While Connected to Windows PC
In some cases, the headphones deliver muffled sound only with a windows PC. While the sound is clear with other devices.
This is caused by the wrong settings on your PC. So, follow these guidelines to solve the issue.
Check the Audio Enhancement Settings on Your PC
- On your Windows computer, open ‘Settings’ and select ‘Audio/sound’ settings.
- Next, open the ‘audio/sound control panel’ and navigate to the ‘Enhancement’ settings.
- Choose the ‘Default Format’ and disable DSP sound effects like virtual surround or echo cancellation.
- Some audio features-when enabled- can cause a muffled sound. So, setting them to default will solve the issue.
You also need to check the Audio Drivers Compatibility, it should be set to 24-bit depth. The method is as follows;
- Right-click on the ‘Taskbar’ icon and then choose ‘Sound settings’.
- Click on ‘Device’ properties and next tap on the ‘Additional Device Properties’.
- Open the ‘Advanced’ tab and select 24bit from the drop-down menu.
Check for Issues in the Audio Drivers
If the audio drivers are expired, they can cause compatibility issues. Hence, the sound gets muffled on reaching your headphones.
This problem can be solved by updating the windows. Follow the guidelines given below;
- Connect your PC to a reliable internet connection.
- Click on the ‘Start/window’ button located at the bottom left of your computer.
- Select ‘Settings’ and then choose ‘Updates and Security’.
- Tap on the ‘Check for Updates’ option. If any pending updates are available, Windows will indicate.
- Next, complete the update process by following the on-screen prompts.
- Finally, connect your PC to your headphones and check the sound quality.
Run the Troubleshooter
If changing the settings cannot help the run the troubleshooter on your Windows PC for sound. It will detect the problem and will also suggest you the solution. The instructions are as follows;
- Open the settings on your PC by clicking the ‘Start’ icon.
- Next, choose ‘Updates and Security’ and then click on ‘Troubleshooting’ under the update option.
- Tap on ‘View all’ appearing on the left, this will show you more troubleshooting options.
- Choose ‘Windows Audio’ and your PC will start scanning for the sound issues.
- You will see the option ‘Playing Audio’, tap it, and run the troubleshooter.
- Complete the process by following the on-screen instructions.
7. Fix Headphones Sounding Muffled When Connected to Mac
Here is an exclusive solution if your headphones are connected to a Mac and give muffled sound.
Check the Apps
Some apps can use the microphone and cause a muffled sound. It happens because your Mac may be using the AAC audio codec.
While Bluetooth uses the SBC or SCO codecs, a low-quality codec than AAC. This happens when Mac receives a false message that some other device is using the built-in headphones mic.
The solution is as under;
- Click on the ‘Apple’ menu and select ‘system preferences’.
- Choose ‘security and privacy’ and then open the apps.
- Disallow the apps that have access to the microphone.
Install Tooth Fairy
It is an app that makes it easier to switch to different Apple devices while using your headphones. Moreover, it makes sure the usage of compatible AAC codec on your Mac.
- Install and launch Tooth Fairy on your Mac.
- Connect your headphones to your Mac and they will show on Tooth Fairy.
- Click the name of your headphones and tap the ‘Advanced’ option.
- Here, you will see an option “improve sound quality by disabling audio input from the device”, enable it.
8. Defective or Damaged Wires
In case, you have connected the headphones through wires, the sound is likely to get muffled with damaged wires. Sometimes, the damage is observable because it is external.
For instance, you can notice cuts, bends, or exposed inner wires. This indicates that wires are defective, hence sound comes distorted.
If you pull and push the wire forcefully into the port, it damages easily. Some wires are torn near the connector pin.
While frequent bending in the wires shows that they are internally damaged.
Cleaning the connection wires can help solve the issue. Soak a microfiber cloth or cotton pad in alcohol or isopropyl. Clean the wires to remove dirt and oil and let them dry.
Then, take a moldable glue such as Sugru and make it soft by rolling in your fingers.
Wrap this glue around the cable where it is bent or torn. Ideally, you can wrap the glue on the entire cable to protect it from further damages.
It will take 30 minutes to set it down and then you can mold it according to your choice. Once the glue is set, leave it for 24 hours at room temperature.
However, if the wires still fail to work, you need to replace them with new cables.
9. Expired Speakers
If the above-mentioned solutions do not work, the speakers of your headphones are exhausted or damaged. It happens due to over-usage.
In case, you use your headphones all day or continuously for several hours, they become overheated. The delicate wiring inside or the fragile components collapse.
Thus the speaker is blown out or disconnected from the mainboard. It can also happen because of overcharging the headphones.
Furthermore, it may be the result of overpowering; listening to music at high volumes for a longer time. Another reason is time decay- the speakers get weak over time and deliver muffled sound.
If the speakers of your headphones have expired, you can replace them at home.
However, confirm that they are really blown out and your headphones are not sounding muffled due to some other reasons.
We have mentioned all the causes, first, try their solutions and then go for replacement. Nevertheless, buying the new speakers may cost you equal to buying the new headphones.
So, the choice is yours. Consult a professional technician to get the speakers replaced or you can do it at home. Follow these guidelines;
- You just need to buy a new pair of speakers from Amazon or any other trusted supplier.
- Remove the ear pads from both headphones and expose the speakers.
- Using a screwdriver, open all the screws.
- Take out each speaker from its place and detach all the wires.
- Place the new speakers and attach them using a soldering iron.
- Re-attach all the wires correctly and put the ear pads.
- Finally, check the audio quality of your headphones.
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This article is a comprehensive guide to solving the muffled sound issues on your headphones. Kindly try all the solutions in the correct order.
If one fails, move on to the next. You may need to combine two or three solutions such as cleaning, reconnecting, and resetting your devices.
We are sure they will fix your headphones. However, if they do not work then your headphones speakers are expired.
If this problem occurs in brand new headphones, immediately consult the manufacturer and ask for a replacement.
However, if you have been using your headphones for a long time, they might have expired. The solution is to replace the speakers or purchase new headphones.
Surely, your quest has ended with this article, and your headphones are working well now.
We hope, we have provided you with the best answers and solutions to your question “why do my headphones sound muffled”.