Why Do My Headphones Sound Muffled? (7 Simple Reasons)

Muffled or distorted sounds can quickly ruin any listening experience and cause you to spend hours looking for the source of the problem.

These problems are exacerbated when you use the headphones for a business conference and find yourself missing half of the information being presented due to poor sound quality.

Today, we’ll look at some of the reasons why you might be hearing muffled or distorted sounds, as well as how to remedy them.

Why Do My Headphones Sound Muffled?
Why Do My Headphones Sound Muffled?

Short Answer, Why do my Headphones Sound Muffled?

Muffled audio can be created by a loose connection to the audio source when using wired headphones. Sound quality will be erratic if your headphones’ plug is not correctly inserted into the audio port. When your headphones’ battery levels are low, they won’t have the power to constantly perform at peak levels.



What Causes Muffled or Distorted Headphone Sound?

1. Wires that are damaged

The wires inside the rubber shell are regarded as one of the most vulnerable sections of your headphones. They are also one of the most important components because they are in charge of transmitting the electrical signal from the source to the speakers in your headphones.

These wires can easily be destroyed over time due to cable pulling, undue stress, and poor management. Damaged cables can be evident (via frayed wires) or not (through internal damage). Both sorts of damage, however, can affect the functionality of your headphones.

2. Speakers that are overpowered and blown

A voice coil is housed within the speakers of your headphones. However, the voice coil on your headphones can only handle so much power. Listening to your headphones at full intensity for long periods of time will progressively weaken them, leading the speakers to blow out.

If you’re concerned that your speakers have blown, you can use a multimeter to check them. Turn off the speakers and connect the multimeter to the headphone speaker terminal to accomplish this. Speakers in good condition will have an impedance of one, whereas blown speakers will have an impedance of infinity.

3. Problems with a wired or wireless connection

The muffled audio problems can be created by a loose connection to the audio source when using wired headphones. Sound quality will be erratic if your headphones’ plug is not correctly inserted into the audio port.

4. Mismatched codecs in Bluetooth headphones can cause this.

If the audio device does not support the same codec as the headphones, it may be forced to utilize a lower-level codec, which can degrade audio quality. Because of the differences in codecs used, performance may be variable.

Aside from codec use, it could also be due to low battery levels. When your headphones’ battery levels are low, they won’t have the power to constantly perform at peak levels. This influences the reliability of the wireless connection as well as the sound quality.

5. Moisture harm

Headphones and water, like most electronics, do not mix well. Moisture can cause irreversible harm to the electrical components of your headphones if it comes into touch with them.

Water-resistant headphones are available, and this feature is becoming increasingly popular in consumer electronics. Those that are, however, have an IP rating. This grade indicates how vulnerable the item is to foreign bodies such as dust, grime, and moisture.

Although the headphones may be billed as water-resistant, it’s a good idea to verify the IP rating to see how much water the headphones can actually withstand. Exceeding that limit may result in the destruction of your headphones.

6. Debris accumulated

Foreign substances such as dust, earwax, and lint can cause a build-up within the headphones. As a result, it is essential that you clean your headphones on a regular basis to ensure that there is no physical build-up of solid materials.

Dirt that has accumulated inside the connecting point and the speakers of the headphones can be readily removed with compressed air or gently rub around the compartment with a dry cotton swab.

7. Problems with audio sources

If the foregoing issues aren’t the source of the distortion, it’s probable that the problem is with the audio source rather than the headphones.

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Test your headphones with other audio sources, such as a laptop or smartphone, to ensure that the results are consistent.

What Causes Muffled or Distorted Headphone Sound?
What Causes Muffled or Distorted Headphone Sound?

What Should You Do If Your Headphones Are Muffled

1. For soiled headphones and the audio port

Keeping your headphone jack clean is essential for establishing a clear connection between your headphones and audio equipment. You only need a paper clip and some adhesive tape.

  1. Straighten the paperclip by folding it in half.
  2. Wrap the sticky tape around the straightened paperclip’s end. Check that the tape is securely fastened so that it does not come off.
  3. Insert the paperclip gently into the jack and remove any debris.

2. For a faulty wiring connection

If the connection remains unstable after cleaning the headphone jack, rust may be to blame. You’ll need an interdental toothbrush and 70% isopropyl alcohol to wipe out the rust inside the jack.

  1. Dip the brush into the 70% isopropyl alcohol until it’s moist but not soaked.
  2. Insert the brush into the headphone jack of your device while it is turned off. To ensure that you reach everywhere, move the brush up, down, and in circles.
  3. Allow at least an hour for the gadget to dry completely.

3. For Mismatched Codecs

Unfortunately, there is no method to avoid codec incompatibility if your sound problems are caused by it. However, you can try resetting your headphones first to see if it solves the problem.

  1. To reset your headphones, simply hold down the power button until the light indicator on your headphones begins to flash.
  2. Check out our post on resetting Bluetooth headphones for advice on resetting your headphones based on the brand.

4. For Wires that have been damaged

Sugru Mouldable Glue can be used to repair damaged or frayed wires. It’s a silicone rubber adhesive putty that can be used for electrical repairs and much more. It’s a simple but efficient cure for fixing headphone cables because it’s moldable, flexible, sturdy, and waterproof.

Follow the instructions below to fix frayed headphone wires:

  1. To begin, use isopropyl alcohol to clean the wire of any dust, dirt, oil, or debris. Wipe the area thoroughly with a clean towel that has been lightly dampened. Allow it to dry.
  2. The texture of Sugru Mouldable Glue is similar to putty. Roll the material between your fingers to soften it, then use your fingers to shape it around the wire. It will set in 30 minutes or less after it is in place. You have the ability to make changes at this time if necessary.
  3. Once in place, keep it at room temperature for at least 24 hours to solidify.

5. For blown speakers

If your headphone speakers are blown, the only way to fix them is to replace them.

  1. To begin, remove any connections or batteries from your headphones, if applicable. Then, on one side of the headphones, remove the ear pad.
  2. Take off the screws that are holding the speaker in place. Also, take out the broken speakers.
  3. Disconnect the headphone wire from the broken speaker with a soldering iron.
  4. Install the new speaker and solder the necessary wires back together.
  5. Repeat the preceding instructions for the other speaker once everything is back in place. Then, test the headphones to ensure that everything works as it should.

6. For moisture damage

Moisture damage to the circuits inside your headphones can quickly cause a wide range of issues. Fortunately, there is something you can do to help them. You’ll need 91 percent isopropyl alcohol and some silica gel for this.

  1. To remove any objects, lightly moisten a cloth with 91 percent isopropyl alcohol and apply it to the parts that came into touch with water.
  2. Allow the headphones to dry in an airtight container with silica gel for at least 12 hours.
  3. Remove the headphones after they are dry and do an audio test.

Troubleshoot Windows PC Power Supply Issues

If the issue is not with the headphones, you should look at the transmitter. Here are several solutions for muffled sound when using a PC as your playback device:

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Troubleshoot Windows PC Power Supply Issues
Troubleshoot Windows PC Power Supply Issues

1. Sound configurations

You can manually adjust the sound on your PC using the default Windows installer. However, your personalization might occasionally have a detrimental impact on how the computer sounds.

When you modify the surround sound and equalization, for example, you may unwittingly induce distortions due to the impacts of sound volume and frequency intensity.

As a result, you can disable the sound enhancement settings in the following ways:

  1. Select Open sound options by clicking on the speaker icon in the taskbar.
  2. Select “Device properties” from the list of options that appears.
  3. “Advanced features,” then “Turn off all sound effects,” are the options.
  4. Examine the audio driver

One of the causes of poor sound quality is an audio driver that does not support your modern headphones:

In this scenario, you should evaluate your audio drivers and, if necessary, update them with compatible patches.

  1. Click “Start,” then “Settings.”
  2. Select “Update and Security” from the Settings menu. If you require a software update, you can check for available updates and download them from this page.

2. Set Audio to 24-Bit Format

When providing device audio, the 24-bit audio format can increase processing space. This format is ideal for processing newer audio files, as it helps to limit distortion and muffled sound transmission.

You must perform the following procedures to convert to 24bit audio format:

  1. Select “Open sound settings” from the Speakers menu on the taskbar.
  2. Select “Device Properties” from the “Sound Settings” menu.
  3. Select “Additional device properties” from the properties presented on the screen.
  4. You will be sent to a new window. Select a 24-bit audio format from the “Advanced” option.
  5. Execute the fault detection procedure.

If you’ve tried everything above and still can’t discover the problem on your computer, you can let it run the troubleshooting sequence:

  1. Go to “Windows Settings” by selecting Start.
  2. Then, in the settings options, pick “Update and security” and then “Troubleshoot” to run the audio troubleshooter.

Mac Feeds Troubleshooting

If your headphones operate properly on other devices except for MC, you are most likely experiencing the same issues as with your PC. Because the operating system is different, the treatment will differ from the stages outlined above:

1. Connect the headset again

To reattach the headset to the Mac, delete the existing connection history and then proceed with the connection charges as usual:

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

Select Show Bluetooth in the Menu Bar in the Bluetooth menu of System Preferences if you want a faster wireless headset connection.

Then, in the menu bar, click the Bluetooth icon and mouse over the name of your headset. All you have to do now is select “Connect” from the pop-up menu.

2. Apps that use a microphone should be avoided

AAC is the audio codec used by Macbooks by default. However, many headphones still employ the SCO or SBC codecs, which have substantially lower quality when compared to AAC. You can avoid audio codec conversion by following these steps:

  1. Go to “System Preferences” in the Apple menu.
  2. Select “Security & Privacy” from the “System Preferences” menu and check the program permissions.
  3. You can disable some programs that have microphone access and may interfere with the audio codec.

3. Utilizing the Tooth Fairy

Tooth Fairy is an application that forces your Macbook to use the AAC codec, hence assisting in the resolution of audio issues:

To utilize it, launch Tooth Fairy and enter the name of your headset.

Then, under “Advanced,” check the box next to “Improve sound quality by eliminating audio input from the device.”

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The Advantages of Resolving Muffled Sound on Your Headphone
The Advantages of Resolving Muffled Sound on Your Headphone

The Advantages of Resolving Muffled Sound on Your Headphone

1. Audio Quality Improvements

When you listen to music on a low-quality sound system, it becomes less enjoyable. When you don’t fix the muffled sound on your headphones, the same issue happens. Low-quality materials or an object put between the headphones and speaker diminish the amount of bass that emanates from your music, influencing how you perceive it. Fixing this issue will assist to eliminate any crackles, pops, or crackles you may hear when listening to your favorite music.

2. Music Experience Enhancement

Whether you’re listening through earbuds or studio headphones, fixing the muffled sound on your headphone produces a better music experience. Regardless of the manufacturer, a superior sound system with muted sound can improve your music experience.

3. You Have the Ability to Save Money

Fixing muffled sound on your headphones is usually inexpensive, especially if you do it yourself at home. If it’s an easy remedy, like opening up your headphones and cleaning out any gunk with rubbing alcohol, you might only need an hour or two.

If the condition is more serious, such as replacing the padding, the cost may be more. However, even if it takes some time and money, you may spare yourself from having to buy new headphones, which will end up being far more expensive than mending them in the first place.

4. Keep Your Ears Safe

The volume level of your music should never be changed, therefore by eliminating the muffled sound on your headphones, you also minimize the chance of causing irreversible harm to your ears. Listening to distorted music with muffled sounds is bad for your earbuds or headphones. Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) may develop as a result, but only after being an annoyance for an extended period of time.

5. When you listen to music or watch television, there is less noise.

When you don’t correct the muffled sound on your headphones, extra ambient noise enters, which can interfere with whatever you’re listening to at the time. Because of the traffic noises, some people find it difficult to listen to music when strolling around a metropolis. By resolving this issue, you will be able to hear what is playing instead of having the music and background noise cancel each other out.

Final Thoughts on Why do my Headphones Sound Muffled

Don’t be concerned if you’ve observed that your headphones are muffled. You can use these techniques to resolve the problem.

We understand that you want to be able to listen to music, watch movies, and play video games with crystal clear sound. You may have already experimented with various headphone drivers or cables in order to achieve the finest possible listening experience.

However, if these attempts have not yet assisted you in resolving this issue, we are ready to assist you. We are eager to assist you where you are stuck so that we can work together to find a solution for your muffled headphones.

FAQs Muffled Headphones

How can I improve the sound quality of my headphones?

Place them correctly in your ears.
Clean your earbuds on a regular basis.
Use common objects to amplify them.
Make use of the EQ settings on your listening devices.

What’s the deal with my headphones sounding like they’re in the water?

This usually happens with the TRRS Plug (the remote-equipped 3.5 cables) when it is inserted too deeply; simply extract it a tiny bit and the sound should be fixed. If your headphones have a replaceable cord, simply try out another headphone cable.

Why do the new headphones sound strange?

If your new headphones have a different sound signature than you’re used to, they might sound “wrong.” For example, leather pads tend to seal in more sound, so you may hear more bass and less outside noise. So, if your old pair was made of microfiber and your new pair is made of leather, your ears may perceive a difference.

Trina Oralde

I'm a tech writer and contributor who covers the latest in gadgets and technology. I keep my finger on the pulse of the tech world, so you don't have to. Stay up-to-date on the latest with me!

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