7 Reasons Why Your Earbuds Sound Muffled & How to Fix Them

Have you ever listened to distorted sounds and found yourself asking why your earbuds sound muffled? If you have, I understand such an experience is not pleasant, and you might think that you’ve broken your earbuds.

These distorted sounds can make you tirelessly scour the internet to search for the root cause of the problem, time that you could spend listening to your favorite playlist.t.

Distorted sounds in earbuds can result from an array of issues, most of which can be fixed. In this article, I will take you through some common reasons that might lead to you having distorted sounds on your earbuds.

I will also walk you through all the possible solutions to each problem and the helpful tips I have learned while trying to fix the muffled sound on my earbuds.


7 Reasons Why Your Earbuds Sound Muffled & How to Fix Them

Let’s look at common reasons why earbuds sound muffled and possible solutions to the problems.


1. Overpowered or Blown Speakers

1. Overpowered or Blown Speakers

Inside the earbuds are components known as the voice coil and the moving coil. These components are built to withstand a specific amount of power. If the components are subjected to a higher current, they are at higher risk of damaging the earbuds speakers.

Listening to music at a higher volume for an extended period can also cause damage to the speakers. Over time they will be weaker, causing you to experience distorted sounds.

The only way to know if your blown earbuds speaker is the root cause of distorted sound is by taking them to a professional to check them out.

How To Fix It

Though there are few remedies for a blown earbuds speaker, you can take preventive measures to avoid this problem. Make sure that your earbuds’ volume levels are manageable at all times. This will significantly lower the chances of a blown speaker.

You can also apply safe charging measures for your earbuds from a source or adapter that is functioning correctly. If you take the earbuds for repair and the diagnosis is a blown speaker, it will be best to get a new pair.


2. Low Battery

2. Low Battery

The most common reason why earbuds sound muffled is their battery. Since Earbuds are wireless and work to connect with devices via Bluetooth, they have an in-built battery to aid in powering their functions.

With their battery capacity running low after hours of use, they will be susceptible to distorted sounds, affecting your listening experience.

Most earbuds brands have a mechanism to shut down when the battery percentage gets lower, as the sound experience of the device gets affected when it falls below 20%.

The problems caused by a lower battery on the earbuds mainly affect the amplifier component and not the speaker; most of them can be easily fixed.

How To Fix It

To take care of this type of problem causing muffled sound on your earbuds, make sure they have enough battery at all times. If you notice that the battery percentage is lower than 20%, plug them in their casing and leave them for a few minutes before you continue using the earbuds.

I found that fully charged earbuds have a lower chance of having muffled sounds while listening to music. Suppose they discharge at a faster rate than normal.

In that case, it is an indication of dying batteries, and you will have to replace your earbuds sooner or later as the sound quality might get worse than what you are currently experiencing.

Recommended: Why Do My Earbuds Keep Disconnecting [7 Reasons + Fixes].


3. Wireless Connection Issues

3. Wireless Connection Issues

While earbuds are convenient because of their wireless feature, they have proved that they are yet to be perfect. The wired connection earphones are known to be more secure than the wireless counterpart as they are not susceptible to interference or their battery draining.

There have also been claims that they offer a better sound quality, but with the latest technological advancement, sound quality has significantly improved.

With many household devices built to function wirelessly, their signals tend to cause interference over time. Some common and potential interference sources include wireless phones, Wi-Fi networks, and microwaves.

How To Fix It

If your earbuds’ sound gets muffled when you are close to other wireless devices, try to move away from the source of interference and check if the sound quality improves.

The best way is to go into another room or outside, and if the sound clears up, you will know that there is no other reason causing the muffled sound problem other than the wireless interference.

Once you identify that the muffled sound resulted from interference, reconnecting your earbuds to your sound source will fix this issue in many cases.


4. Bluetooth Codec

4. Bluetooth Codec

A Bluetooth codec is one of the most important features as it assists in good-quality transmission. This is because they assist in matching the Bluetooth earbuds’ sound quality to that of the wired earphones.

The default codec settings on your device can transmit lower-quality sound, making it the principal reason why earbuds sound muffled.

There are several codec settings, such as aptX and LDAC. All these settings offer different sound qualities for different listening experiences.

There is no Bluetooth codec setting that offers a superior sound quality than the other consistently at all times which is why it is better to change the settings regularly.

How To Fix It

To change the Bluetooth codec settings on your device, you must go to Settings and tap on System. Navigate your phone’s Developer Options and turn them on.

Next, you will have to find the Bluetooth Audio Codec menu and select the preferred option out of all the possible choices.

On top of what the developer preinstalled on your devices, there are multiple other new ones you can install by using the Enable Optional Codec and Disable Optional Codec options.

While no particular codec feature is the absolute best, aptX adaptive and LDAC options have a better sound quality that fits almost all purposes. These options can help remove distorted sound if they are compatible with earbuds; if they are not, your phone will default to a compatible codec.


5. Moisture Damage

5. Moisture Damage

With technological advancement, there has been a common misconception that water-resistant earbuds are protected against damage from a water source.

A common example is some brands claim their earbuds are water-resistant and waterproof. However, this can be misleading as the internal components are not 100% protected from moisture.

Even without submerging earbuds underwater, the moisture from earwax and sweat can be a common reason why earbuds sound muffled over time.

Each earbuds brand has a unique IP rating, describing its ability to washstand solids and moisture. An example is earbuds rated IP69. The first numerical digit represents its protection against solids and the second against moisture.

The scale for moisture protection ranges from 0 to 9. The highest numerical figure represents the highest possible protection level against moisture, which is quite rare.

It is common for earbuds with a rating between 0 to 4 on the second digits to develop issues due to moisture from a sauna, light rain, and sweat.

How To Fix It

The safest way to prevent muffled sound because of damage from moisture is by studying your earbuds’ IP rating. If you are using your listening device during intense workout sessions, always go for brands with a higher rating, as they offer better moisture protection.


6. Accumulation of Debris

6. Accumulation of Debris

Most people need to remember that it is essential to properly clean their earbuds regularly to prevent them from developing issues. It is common for some earbuds to have muffled sounds because they contain a considerable amount of lint, earwax, and dust.

As mentioned earlier, earbuds have a debris protection mechanism, but it varies through different manufacturers. The rating for debris protection ranges from 0 to 6, with the highest number offering better protection.

Brands with higher IP ratings have protection mechanisms against debris, such as providing an airtight casing that prevents debris’s possible build-up.

If the brand you are using lacks an IP rating, there is a high chance that wax and dust are stacking up internally within the earbuds, causing the sound to feel distorted.

If you intend to purchase earbuds with a higher IP rating and it is not on the purchase documents, you must contact the manufacturer through their customer service contact.

How To Fix It

Some common household items that can be handy while cleaning include a toothbrush, soft cloth, and rubbing alcohol. If you maintain the cleanliness of your listening device, debris will never be a reason why earbuds sound muffled.

The easiest way to solve this problem causing distorted sound on your earbuds is by using a soft cloth to remove all visible debris. If some of the debris on the listening device is out of your reach, you can try to blow or suck them from the internal parts.

Recommended: The 8 Best Noise-Cancelling Earbuds for Construction Workers.


7. Source File

7. Source File

The last point on this list about why earbuds sound muffled might not be common, but it has affected me at least twice.

The source audio file can be distorted, and that might be why you hear a muffled sound while you try to play it. Downloading files from untrustworthy sources can lead to audio files that sound muffled.

How To Fix It

Fortunately, there are multiple and easy solutions to this problem. If you are listening to a muffled audio file on your earbuds, play it with another set of earbuds or speakers to see if the file has issues. If it still sounds muffled, delete and download a new copy from a trusted source, which will fix the issue.

If you are streaming something and the audio keeps sounding muffled, clearing the cache and restarting the application is the best way to solve the problem.

Some websites and applications might also have issues, and you can opt to stream or play your audio through another streaming platform, such as YouTube or any other that you find convenient.

In many cases, these solutions have solved the problem and given me a better listening experience.



Listening to muffled sounds on your earbuds can be an annoying experience, and sometimes what might seem frustrating to fix has an easy solution to it.

In most of these noted reasons of why earbuds sound muffled, you can easily fix it yourself without buying a new pair or taking them to a professional. As long as you keenly follow the tips stated, your earbuds will sound as good as they were before.

In the unfortunate scenario that your earbuds have suffered non-reversible issues, do not worry, as plenty of brands can offer a better listening experience.

All it takes is researching and acquiring one that will fit your needs. Some of the issues I highlighted causing muffled sound can easily be avoidable by performing necessary maintenance on your earbuds.


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Is a musician and journalist with over 13 years of experience writing for some of the music world's biggest brands. Ray loves getting nerdy about everything from guitar gear and synths, to microphones and music production hardware.

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