I always leave the house with my headphones. After all, I’m a music enthusiast and just can’t imagine going anywhere without my headset. My headphones also help me focus and avoid the usual office small talk. If in doubt, just Google to find out how headphones help with productivity.
Anyway, I know you are here for other reasons. Your cherished headphones have just let you down when you need them the most, and you’re wondering why they sound muffled.
I’ve been there, done that. My current headphones also had similar sound issues, and I’m delighted to help you to fix the problem.
Follow this guide to troubleshoot and fix your muffled headphones.
- Your headphones might sound muffled simply because you forgot to increase the volume. Check and adjust the volume level to see if the sound is back to where you want it.
- Most high-end headphones have a built-in equalizer controlled via a smartphone app. Adjusting preset EQ settings can cause the headphones to sound muffled.
- Dirt, wax, and gunk can block the headset speakers causing your headphones to sound muffled. Clean your headphones regularly to fix and prevent this problem.
- Some manufacturers produce headphones intended for their proprietary devices. Your headphones might sound muffled because they are incompatible with the audio source device.
- If using Bluetooth headphones, they might sound muffled because you are out of range from the source device. Ensure you are within range (at least 10 meters) to fix the problem.
- Exposure to excess moisture can cause your headphones to sound muffled. Wipe the headphones with a dry cloth and let them dry naturally to resolve the issue.
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Why Do My Headphones Sound Muffled?
The possible reasons your headphones sound muffled are broad. They could be aged and beyond their best years, or the internal speakers are blown and can’t deliver quality sound.
Here are the main reasons your headphones sound muffled and how to fix them like a pro.
Premium headphones have built-in controls, including toggles for adjusting the volume. The headphones might sound muffled because the volume is too low. You might have decreased the volume level mistakenly or intentionally and forgot about it.
The solution is simple. Check and increase the volume to see if the sound is back to where you want it. Press the volume up button on the headset to adjust the sound level. If that doesn’t help, increase the volume level on the audio source device by pressing the appropriate controls.
Imbalanced Audio Settings
Most headphones nowadays have dedicated smartphone apps for EQ and audio settings. Through the app, you can adjust the audio to play on one side of the headphones, leaving the other muted. You can also customize EQ settings to fit your sound preferences. However, messing with preset EQ settings can cause your headphones to sound muffled.
Fixing this issue shouldn’t be complex. Go to the app on your device, look for sound or EQ settings, and restore them to default settings. Also, disable the bass boost feature if it’s enabled. You can also reset your headphones to factory defaults before configuring them afresh.
Broken or Faulty Wires
Wired headphones comparatively deliver better sound quality than their wireless counterparts. After all, the audio signals are not prone to electromagnetic interference as it is with the alternative. However, these headphones also have their downsides. You may have to contend with tangled or broken wires, causing your headphones to sound muffled.
While replacing or repairing broken or faulty headphone wires is possible, it can be tricky if you are not a technician. You require various tools and some expertise. Your best bet is to schedule a repair service with your headphone manufacturer or local technician.
It does not matter whether you use your headphones indoors or outdoors. Dirt and wax will inevitably build up around your headphones’ earpads. The contact between the outer ears and the headphones triggers excess earwax production. If you do not clean your headphones, the accumulated wax and sediments can cause them to sound muffled.
How to Clean Earpads on Over-Ear and On-Ear Headphones
Regularly cleaning your headphones can help fix and prevent this problem. Use a clean, slightly damp cloth to wipe down dirt and wax. If your headphones are waterproof or water-resistant, you can rinse them under the faucet for a few minutes to remove the dirt and other elements.
How to Clean Earbuds and In-Ear Headphones
Damaged or Bent Headphones Jack/Plug
Wired headphones have a 3.5 mm plug with at least two rings for the right and left channels. The plug connects with the headphone jack in the source device to transmit audio signals to your headphones. If the headphone jack or plug is bent, it might produce a distorted or muffled sound. Sometimes, you might not hear anything, depending on the extent of the damage.
Fortunately, a bent headphone jack or plug is repairable. You can use a pair of thin pliers to straighten it if it is slightly bent. If the damage is severe, you may have to replace the bent jack/plug. You can use tips from my previous post to fix a bent headphone jack.
Fixing a Bent Headphone Jack
Incompatible Audio Source
I have nothing against headphone manufacturers. However, some can be mean, only producing headphones that work with their proprietary devices. You probably know what I mean if you’ve ever had a gaming console.
Not to mention any brands, but your headphones might sound muffled because they are incompatible with the audio source gadget. If you try the headphones with another device, they will probably work perfectly. Try this hack and see if it works.
Exposing your headphones to excess moisture and high humidity can cause them to sound muffled. If you were out in the rain with your headphones or someone accidentally spilled water on your headphones, you might become a victim of muffled headphones. Sweat from intense workouts can also cause this problem.
Depending on the amount of moisture, the chances of salvaging your headphones are 50-50. You can use a dry cloth to wipe away the liquid and let the headphones dry naturally to see if they work.
Bluetooth Range Issues
Wireless Bluetooth headphones are popular with many for their portability and convenience. After all, you no longer have to contend with messy wires and cables. You can move around your house or the office while dancing to your favorite tunes.
However, Bluetooth headphones also have their shortcomings. They have a limited range meaning you must stay within a given radius to prevent audio and connection issues. Moving too far from the source device might make your headphones sound muffled or produce distorted sounds.
The ideal Bluetooth range for wireless headphones is usually 33 feet or 10 meters. Ensure you are within range for an impeccable audio experience.
If your headphones persistently sound muffled even after trying various troubleshooting tips, you might be dealing with a case of blown speakers.
Your headphones have tiny built-in speakers, which are susceptible to damage, especially when constantly playing at high volumes. The coils might wear down over time and eventually blow.
The only way to save this situation is to replace the blown speakers. If your warranty is valid, consult your supplier or manufacturer to know whether they can replace or repair the blown speakers.
How to Replace Broken Speaker Drivers on BOSE QC35 Headphones
Muffled headphones might result from worn-out earpads. The earpads on your headphones cover your ears, ensuring audio signals remain confined within the outer ears.
No matter how well you care for your headphones, the earpads might require replacements at some point. They don’t last long and often wear down over time. If the earpads are worn-out, your headphones might sound muffled.
The quickest way to solve this issue is to replace the earpads. Fortunately, most headphone brands and vendors offer quality replacement earpads.
How to Replace Headphone Ear Pads?
Wireless headphones require an adequate charge to function optimally. Your headphones might sound muffled or distorted if the battery level is critically low. Some headphones might not even play any sound when the charge reaches a certain level.
Check your headphones’ battery level to determine if they require a recharge. Charge your headset for a while before trying again.
Poor Quality Headphones
The quality of your headphones matters as far as sound quality is concerned. When your headphones were new, they probably produced the best sound. But as they age, they might not work at their best anymore. Instead, they might sound muffled or distorted, even if you increase the volume.
Poor-quality headphones are likely to deteriorate faster, given their cheap components. Invest in high-quality headphones for the best audio experience.
Your headphones might develop bugs and glitches, causing them to sound muffled. Software bugs impact a range of aspects, including sound.
Fortunately, you can resolve this issue by resetting your headphones. A reset erases custom settings and configurations that might be causing problems. It also corrects bugs and glitches.
This hack might involve pressing two or more buttons on your headphones simultaneously for a few seconds. You can check your headset’s user manual or our guide on how to reset various headphones.
Remember to update the firmware to the latest version to get the best out of your headphones.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Question: Why does the sound on my headphones sound muffled?
- Answer: Your headphones might sound muffled for several reasons. Perhaps the headphones are aged and beyond their best years. The volume level on the headphones or from the audio source might be low and requires adjusting. Broken wires or a faulty connection can also cause your headphones to sound muffled.
- Question: Can I fix muffled headphones?
- Answer: Yes. You can fix muffled headphones. However, the solution depends on the cause of the problem. For instance, if the headphones are severely aged and damaged beyond repair, you might be unable to mend them. The only way out is to replace them. Installing the latest software updates can help if the issue results from outdated firmware.
- Question: How do you fix muffled headphones?
- Answer: Fixing muffled headphones depends on the cause of the issue in the first place. In most cases, a reset might do the trick. If the headphones have physical damage, you may want to replace the damaged components. Cleaning the headset can also help if the issue results from wax and dirt buildup.
- Question: How do you clean muffled headphones to make them louder?
- Answer: Different headphones have varying cleaning procedures. Some manufacturers recommend using alcohol wipes and homemade products, while others are against them. Whatever the case, use a soft fabric to wipe down dirt and wax from the earcups and earpads to make your muffled headphones louder. You can also use cotton swabs to clean smaller gaps and hard-to-reach places.
Muffled headphones can ruin your audio experience and leave you frustrated. Fortunately, this problem is not usually irreparable. Sometimes you only need to increase the volume or clean your headset. Other times, a reset might work wonders to restore your headphones. Follow this guide for more tips on fixing headphones that sound muffled.