Why Do My Headphones Sound Muffled? Common Causes & How To Fix

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Why do my headphones sound muffled? If you want to find the answer, the detailed article below will give you the important info and recovery methods.

Many people who regularly use headphones have a problem that the headset is clogged. Imagine that when you are on an important call, the sound through your headset is muffled, and you miss important information.

Or you are enjoying your music, and the sound quality is worse than ever, which not only makes you uncomfortable but can also damage your hearing.

So, why do my headphones sound muffled? Here are some main reasons. 

  • Damaged conductor
  • Water and high humidity
  • Dirt clogs headphones
  • Broken speakers
  • Connection problem
  • Audio feed problem

How to solve the above discomfort? If you want to find the answer to this question, this article is for you.

Let’s start with the causes of headphone sound blockage!

Why Do My Headphones Sound Muffled?

There are many reasons for poor headphone sound quality. Some of the most common reasons include:

Damaged conductor

With wired headphones, the conductor under the cover is one of the most important parts because it transmits signals from another source to the headset.

However, that part of the wire is not as sturdy as you think. 

After a period of use, if you have a habit of regular stretching, improper storage, you may accidentally cause the wire to fail from the inside and fray on the outside.

Whether the problem is internal or external, one thing is for sure, and faulty wiring is one of the leading causes of audio instability.

Water and high humidity

Water and high humidity

Water and high humidity

Undoubtedly, water and humidity are among the thorns of electronics, including earphones. 

When storing the headset regularly in a humid environment or accidentally causing the headset to soak in water, your headphones will be seriously affected. 

Not only does it produce muffled sound, but your device can also be permanently damaged.

Even with waterproof headphones, you can’t be sure your device is safe from high humidity.

There are many types of waterproof headphones with different IP rating guarantees. Some headphones with lower IP ratings can only be to water for short periods and at specific depths. 

Therefore, problems can still occur when your waterproof headphones are in the water for too long.

Dirt clogs headphones

Dirt clogs headphones

Dirt clogs headphones

When using headphones, whether in the studio or everyday life, you cannot prevent dust, lint, and debris from accumulating in the headset.

The sound emitted from the headset must pass through a layer of dirt, thus causing congestion and loss of quality.

Broken speakers

Speakers are an essential part of headphones. Inside this unit, there is a voice coil. The upper coil is responsible for sound processing, but the processing capacity is only at a particular power level.

If you use the headset continuously for a long time with high volume, you force the speaker to work beyond the device’s capacity. Speakers may weaken, thereby making the sound weaker and timider.

Connection problem

Connection problem

Connection problem

Unstable signal transmission is also the cause of the muffled sound. Depending on the type of headset, you might consider the following:

  • With wired headphones, you need to check that the device is properly to the source. Loose jacks or incompatible jacks are a few issues you should be aware of. 
  • With wireless headphones, a weak connection can come from many causes. Some of the most common problems are as The transmitter is too far from the headset, the headset is out of battery, there are many other wireless devices in the area.

Audio feed problem

Sometimes the problem with muffled sound is not coming from your headphones but your source.

Not all devices are compatible with your headset. Or some software of the device has a problem that makes the connection unstable.

So if you don’t find anything unusual on your headphones, you can look for the problem with the transmitter.

Troubleshooting Headphones

Based on the above causes, here are some things you can do to solve your headphone sound problem.

Conductor repair

For visible external wiring damage, you can fix it with Sugru Moldable Glue. This type of glue has a silicone rubber component, which has a much more sticky texture than conventional glues. When using Sugru Moldable Glue, you can temporarily cover the wear of wires.

With tears inside the headset, the bad news is that you can hardly mend the wires yourself at home. Instead, you can consider some other solutions, such as replacing the cables.

One problem is how you can detect the problem inside the conductor. The answer is that you can use a multimeter to check the flow of current in the wire. You can perform the test by doing the following:

  • Make an incision near the headphone speaker and headphone jack. After making a slight incision, you need to use a knife to scrape off the copper protective layer of the wire.
  • Insert the blackjack of the power meter into the copper wire of the headphone lead. Meanwhile, the red jack touches the other end.
  • If the watch emits a message, your headset cord shows no signs of breaking, and the transmission is still stable. Conversely, if the meter does not sound, you should check each segment of the rope to find the location of the problem.

Clean headphones

Clean headphones

Clean headphones 

Cleaning your headphones should be a regular practice to keep your headphones looking new and have the best sound quality.

Cleaning headphones doesn’t have to be a time-consuming or skill-intensive job. All you need to do is prepare isopropyl alcohol and wipe the headphones thoroughly, especially on the earcup area.

For some more tips when cleaning headphones, you can refer to the video.

Speaker repair

Weak speakers are easy to explode when operating at excess capacity. To find out what causes this accessory to become weak, you should try opening the headset by following these steps:

  • Locate the screw on the headset and then use a unique tool to open it.
  • Gently pry off the cover: When the cover falls off, find the screws inside and unscrew it.
  • Gently pry the two earphone covers: This should be done carefully not to damage the device.

To completely fix the problem, you need to replace the speaker.

Headphone speakers are not a cheap accessory. If you find the cost is worth it, you can refer to the alternative steps below:

  • Cut off the rubber lining around the speaker cover.
  • Remove the old cone speaker inside.
  • Place the new speaker instead, do not touch the diaphragm during the installation process.

Repair water damage

Your only course of action, in this case, is to dry the headphones.

You can use a cloth soaked in isopropyl alcohol and place the headset on top. You can also place headphones on top of rice – the material can absorb moisture from headphones and any other electronic device.

If the headset is seriously in water, you can remove the headset and dry it in your ear quickly and thoroughly.

However, it would help if you were careful when dealing in this direction. Because using a cotton swab to clean it can cause absorbent cotton chips to get stuck in the small openings of the board, damaging the internal components.

In addition, the lack of skills in disassembling the device or being negligent in the process can lead to broken parts, making it impossible to reassemble the headset intact as it was.

Fixing connectivity issues

With wired headphones

With wired headphones

With wired headphones 

With wired headphones, the loose connection makes the sound quality worse. To solve this problem, you need to double-check the connection port.

You can also clean the jack to make the connection process more accessible.

One of the simplest ways to clean the jack is to use a cotton swab. All you need to do is insert the cotton swab and swirl it around a bit to get the dirt and lint out. You can also wet a cotton swab with alcohol for a more thorough cleaning, but make sure you don’t use too much alcohol.

After the cleaning, try plugging in your headphones to check if everything is working correctly.

With wireless headphones

With wireless headphones

With wireless headphones

First, you need to make sure your device is fully charged.

If the headset is complete, you can try changing the location of the headset or transmitter. Because when using wireless headsets, Wi-Fi routers, microwave ovens, etc., radio interference may occur.

If the above steps still cannot resolve the strange sound in the headphones, there are a few things you can try:

  • Disable or turn off all Bluetooth devices in the area near the headset.
  • Turn on the media player on the device, disconnect the headset for 30 seconds, and pair it again.
  • Keep a short distance between the headset and the smartphone.

See more:

Windows PC Power Supply Problems Troubleshoot

If the problem is not with the headphones, you should turn your attention to the transmitter. Here are some ways to deal with muffled sound when your playback device is a PC:

Sound settings

In the default Windows installer, you can manually adjust the sound on your computer. However, sometimes your customization will make negative changes in the way the computer sounds. 

For example, when you adjust the surround sound and the equalizer, you may inadvertently cause distortions by the effects of sound loudness and frequency intensity.

Therefore, you can consider disabling the sound enhancement settings in the following ways:

  • Click on the speaker icon on the taskbar and select Open sound settings.
  • In the list of options that appear, select “Device properties.”
  • Select “Advanced features,” then select “Turn off all sound effects.”

Check the audio driver

The audio driver that doesn’t support your newer headphones is also one of the reasons for poor sound quality:

  • In this case, you need to review your audio drivers and update them with compatible patches, if any.
  • Click “Start”, select “Settings”.
  • In Settings, select “Update and Security.” Here, you can check for available updates and download them if you need a software update.

24-bit audio format

The 24-bit audio format can expand the processing space when delivering device audio. This format is very suitable for processing modern audio formats, helping to limit the phenomenon of distortion and muffled sound transmission.

To convert to 24bit audio format, you need to do the following steps:

  • Click Speakers on the taskbar, select “Open sound settings.”
  • Under “Sound Settings,” select “Device Properties.”
  • In the properties that are displayed on the screen, select “Additional device properties.”
  • You will be in a new window. Go to the “Advanced” tab and select a 24-bit audio format.

Run the fault detection sequence

If you’ve done all of the above settings and still can’t find the problem on your PC, you can let it run the troubleshooting sequence:

  • Select Start, go to “Windows Settings.”
  • Next, select “Update and security” and go to “Troubleshoot” to run the audio troubleshooter in the settings options.

Mac Feeds Troubleshooting

Mac Feeds Troubleshooting

Mac Feeds Troubleshooting

If your headphones work fine on all devices except MC, you most likely have the same problems as with your PC. The operating system is different, so the treatment will not be the same as the steps above:

Reconnect the headset

To reconnect the headset to the Mac, you need to clear the previous connection history and then perform the connection charges as usual:

  • Step 1: Click on the apple-shaped icon in the upper left corner of the screen to open the Apple Menu.
  • Step 2: Select “System Preferences,” then click “Bluetooth.”
  • Step 3: Make sure that Bluetooth is available on your Mac.
  • Step 4: Press and hold the power button on the headset. To connect a Bluetooth headset to your Mac, you need to enable pairing mode on your device. Depending on the type of headphones you have, this will turn them on and automatically activate Bluetooth.
  • Step 5: Finally, click “connect” next to your headset’s name.

If you want faster wireless headset pairing, select Show Bluetooth in the Menu Bar in the Bluetooth menu of System Preferences.

You can then click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar and hover over the name of your headset. All you need to do next is click “Connect” in the pop-up menu.

Stop apps that use a microphone

Macbook’s default audio codec is AAC. However, there are still many headphones that use the SCO or SBC codec with much worse quality when compared to AAC. To prevent audio codec conversion, you can follow these instructions:

  • Select the Apple menu, go to “System Preferences.”
  • In “System Preferences,” select “Security & Privacy” and check the app permissions.
  • You can close some apps that have microphone access that may affect the audio codec.

Using Tooth Fairy

Tooth Fairy is an application that helps to force your Macbook to use the AAC codec, helping to solve problems related to audio problems:

  • To use it, you need to open Tooth Fairy and choose the name of your headset.
  • Then select the “Advanced” option and enable “Improve sound quality by disabling audio input from the device.”


Can wireless microphones work with any receiver?

Wireless headsets may not always be able to connect to devices.

Wireless microphones are compatible with certain frequencies. Specifically, the device needs to have secure 128 or 256bit encryption. Incompatible devices cannot connect well with any headset model.

Why does the headset not work when using Windows 10?

Windows 10 is a complex operating system. When a software error occurs, the headset can hardly not work as well as it does with other devices.

Why is my headset mic working poorly?

Many reasons affect the quality of the headset mic. Some of the reasons can include apps that don’t have access to the microphone, the microphone can’t connect to the device correctly, or it’s simply misplaced.

How do I adjust the sound on my phone?

To adjust the sound quality on your phone, you have two options:

  • Check the sound settings on your device: With most devices these days, you need to go to Settings, select sound and vibration and go to Sound quality and effects. You will have a lot of options to enhance the audio experience in this section.
  • Use a third-party music player: You can use a third-party application with more audio customization functions to increase the bass, adjust the volume, etc.

Will leaving the speaker constantly at full power lead to an explosion?

Suppose you use the speaker in a state of overloaded capacity for a long time. In that case, it will cause the system’s sound to be distorted, broken, and even unfortunate situations such as speaker fire may occur.


With the above information, you also have specific knowledge to fix the problem of the headset.

If you have any questions related to the article’s topic, do not forget to leave them in the comments so that our experts can assist you as soon as possible.

Thank you for reading!


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1 year ago

i have beats and they’re so muffled i just woke up now and they’re muffled i have no idea if they’re damaged i haven’t touch them.

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