Why Do My Bluetooth Headphones Sound Muffled?


I can not accurately describe the frustration when I sit down to relax only to find put my headphones on and hear almost nothing. 

I paid for high-quality audio to enjoy music and entertainment and I want to have that experience when I sit down to rest for the night. 

Alas, being mad doesn’t solve the problem.

Replacing my headphones is too expensive. 

So instead, I sought to find a way to bring them back to life. 

After a little bit of digging and inspecting my Bluetooth headphones, I’ve found ways to deal with a few culprits behind muffled audio. While these aren’t options to repair blown or broken speakers, they might just be what you need to solve your problem.

Why Do My Bluetooth Headphones Sound Muffled?

Bluetooth Headphones can produce muffled audio when they are exposed to moisture, build up too much debris in the speakers, have faulty wireless connections, or are receiving from a poor audio source.

 Most of these problems can be solved. You’ll just need to do a little inspection to narrow down what happened.

In the next few sections, I’m going to help you do just that.

First, I’ll discuss what may be causing your audio problem. 

If they sound familiar, you’ll be able to continue to the next section and try out the fix. 

I can’t guarantee that this guide will solve it, but it just might.

Troubleshooting Your Bluetooth Headphone Problems

There isn’t only one thing that can make your headphones produce muffled audio. 

So before we go about trying to solve the problem, you’ll need to be able to identify what went wrong.

Pick up your headphones and give them a thorough inspection.

Take note of any discolorations, residue, or anything out of the ordinary. 

Once you’re done, compare what you’ve been able to find out with the possible causes below.

What Causes Muffled Audio

Moisture

Rain, spilled drinks, dropping your headphones in a puddle or lake, and intense humidity are among the many possible sources of exposure to moisture for your headphones. 

Too much exposure can cause your headphones to malfunction and can even cause permanent damage. 

It’s rare for headphones to be subjected to water damage without the owner’s knowledge.

Debris

Headphones and earbuds alike gather dust, dirt, earwax, and other debris over time. 

Earbuds are especially susceptible to muffled audio due to earwax building up in front of the speaker grid.

It quite literally creates a sound dampening barrier. 

Luckily, it’s an easy fix albeit a little gross.

Faulty Wireless Connection

Problems with proprietary drivers with either the headphones or the device they are connecting to can cause low-quality audio pass through or faulty connections that drop.

This is a little harder to detect but isn’t too difficult to run a fix for.

If you aren’t sure if the drivers are an issue, it will not hurt to reinstall or update the drivers regardless.

Audio Source

Good news. 

If you have a bad audio source, then your headphones are perfectly fine. 

Just change what you are listening to or on and your problem is solved. 

Sometimes audio files just don’t survive compression and file transfer protocol. 

How to Fix It

Now that we’ve gone through what could be causing your issue, let’s fix it. 

If the damage isn’t too bad, one of the simple fixes below should take care of the problem and have you back to enjoying movies, music, and video games in a jiffy.

For Moisture Damage

First, you’re going to need 91% isopropyl alcohol, a cloth, and a bowl of rice. 

First damage the cloth with the alcohol. 

Then apply the cloth to the areas of the headphones that came into contact with moisture. 

Be thorough. 

Now, submerge the headset in a bowl of rice for at least 12 hours to dry. 

I’ve found that it can take up to a couple of days for devices that were submerged in water for too long.

After you’ve waited out the drying period, try them out.

If the sound has improved but there’s still a little bit of a muffle, it may need to dry longer. 

Feel free to repeat the process until the headphones are cleared of all water residue.

Dirty Headphones

For earwax and debris caught in the headphones, you’ll want to get some paper wipes, a paper clip, and some tape.

  • Use the cloth to wipe away the large build-ups of debris. 
  • Fold a piece of tape so both outer sides are stick and attach it to the paper clip.
  • Use the paper clip to rub the adhesive of the tape against hard-to-reach debris.
  • Repeat until clean.

Faulty Connection

If your Bluetooth headphones are having trouble keeping connection, you’ll need to try a few things to fix it.

  • Check for driver updates. (Some Bluetooth headphones have software updates available through either an application or from their website)
  • Reset the Bluetooth connection (Now and then Bluetooth earbuds can mess when they try to connect to each other and the device. Use your headphones reset method to clear the memory and try connecting again)
  • Toggle the Bluetooth module on your phone, computer, or tablet. (Try turning Bluetooth off for about fifteen seconds. Then turn it on again and reconnect.)

Muffled Audio When Connected to a Windows PC

Muffled audio from Windows devices is often caused by either proprietary drivers or bad sound equalization. 

To update drivers, just connect your headphones to your PC and look for the latest drivers on the manufacturer’s website. 

It’s also beneficial to run a “Check for updates” in the Windows System Settings. 

On rare occasions, Microsoft’s audio driver implementation can be the cause.

To fix your PC equalization, you’ll need to play around with your system’s Sound Settings. 

Start by right-clicking on the ‘Speaker’ icon in the taskbar. 

Then select “Open Sound Settings.” Next, click on the “Enhancements” tab. 

Here you will see all of the equalization options for your headphones. 

Chances are that if the sound is already muffled these effects are causing audio distortions. 

You can start by disabling all sound effects. 

There is also the 24-bit quality mode.

Go back to the Sound Settings menu. 

Then click on “Device properties” for your headphones. 

On the right side of the screen, click the “additional device properties” link. 

In the newly opened window, go to the “Advanced” tab. 

Click the drop-down bar and select 24-bit audio.

If that doesn’t immediately solve the problem, you can always resort to Windows Troubleshoot. 

To do this:

  • Open the start menu and select the ‘Settings’ icon.
  • Then select “Update & Security”
  • On the left-hand side, select the ‘Troubleshoot’ option.
  • Click on “Playing Audio”

Windows will then try to figure out the problems on its own. 

With any luck, it’ll be all good to go in no time.

How to Fix Connection Issues with Mac

Mac has fewer options for troubleshooting connections.

The first is the tried and true method of “Have you tried turning it on and off again?” Go to your Bluetooth controls from the System Preferences menu. 

Disable your Bluetooth. Wait about fifteen seconds. 

Then turn it back on. 

This is also a good time to try resetting the Bluetooth headphones as well.

If it doesn’t properly connect after that, it may be that it’s trying to use the wrong audio codec for your device. 

Here’s how to make sure that didn’t happen:

  • Go to the Apple Menu
  • Select “System Preferences”
  • Select “Security & Privacy”
  • Review the apps that have microphone access.
  • Then close them

This should prevent your Mac from reading your headphones as a microphone. 

If it doesn’t, you might need to force your Mac to recognize your authority. 

It’s time to download “Tooth Fairy”. 

This app will force your Mac to use AAC audio codecs for your headphones.

Conclusion

Muffled audio isn’t a super common problem to have with Bluetooth headphones. 

Thank God! However, if you happen to run into this issue, your headphones aren’t done yet. 

Try to identify what’s causing your problem. 

Remember, it can be software drivers, built-up debris, water damage, or just a bad MP3 file. 

With any luck, you’ll be able to use this guide to get through the hard parts.

If you’ve tried everything, then it might be time to start looking for a new pair of headphones. 

Don’t give up too soon though. 

Always try reconnecting your headphones or pairing them with another device to see if there’s any difference. 

Quality Bluetooth headphones aren’t a cheap buy. 

Make sure you get as much out of them as you possibly can.

Recent Posts