How To Fix Muffled AirPods (7 Fixes)

A muffled sound is a common issue for AirPod users. While sometimes the AirPods are damaged, they can, however, produce a muffled sound for several reasons. From accumulated ear wax to Bluetooth interference, this is an issue that can be fixed.

AirPod users might encounter an issue with a muffled sound from time to time, it can be something as simple as ear wax stuck within the speakers or something as major as a damaged AirPod.

Whatever the case, there are a few reasons to be mindful of and how to fix these issues if presented. Let’s start by looking at the most common reasons why your AirPods produce a muffled sound.

Reasons why your AirPods sound muffled

A muffled sound from your AirPods can be because they are damaged, they have accumulated a lot of ear wax, Bluetooth interference, your iOS device might not be updated, or your AirPods just need a good old-fashioned reset. 

1. Damaged AirPods

Damage to your AirPods can be for several different reasons. There could be some wear and tear with the components inside, speaker damage (which is less likely) will need replacing of one or both AirPods depending on the situation, cracked AirPods may lead to malfunctions (also unlikely because they are durable but it is worth mentioning).

This is oftentimes the endgame and your best bet is to contact Apple Support for further instructions. However, make sure to exhaust all other possibilities before doing so, this is why we’re going to look at more likely reasons for a muffled sound.

2. Accumulated Ear Wax

Accumulated ear wax is the first offender when it comes to a muffled sound. AirPods have good isolation and therefore prevent the natural cleaning cycle of your ear, which is to release ear wax that is created over time. Your best bet is to clean them thoroughly and here is the correct way to do so:

  • Clean the exterior with a microfiber or cotton cloth
  • Carefully clean the speaker ports with a cloth, toothpick, Q-tip, or rubbing alcohol
  • Let them dry thoroughly if you used rubbing alcohol and wipe them down again
  • Clean the Charging Case with a Q-tip and cloth
  • Purchase and use an AirPod cleaning kit

3. Bluetooth Interference

The issue might not be alarming at all if it is only Bluetooth interference. This is a very common problem that can happen daily. Bluetooth is a very sensitive ordeal, it requires a good connection to your device. So, if there is another Bluetooth active in range, this might cause the muffled sound you are experiencing.

Another reason for this might be that your phone and AirPods are out of range, therefore, the Bluetooth connection is weak and results in a muffled sound. You’d be surprised that sometimes a simple Bluetooth reset (on-off) might fix the problem as no device is perfect.

  • Go to the ‘Settings’ menu
  • Select the ‘Bluetooth’ tab
  • Toggle the On/Off button.

4. Update your iOS device

Apple can be tricky sometimes and might require you to update your iOS device to get the most out of their products. This issue can also cause a muffled sound. This is because you don’t have the latest version of iOS installed on your device, whether it be your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, therefore, it is not compatible in a way.

  • Go to the ‘Settings’ menu
  • Scroll down and select ‘General
  • Open the ‘Software Update’ tab
  • Select ‘Download and Install’.

5. AirPods need a reset

The worst habit we have is constantly having our phones and AirPods charged and never resting. Devices are sensitive and require some downtime every once in a while. This can be an issue and might cause a muffled sound from your AirPods.

A good old-fashioned reset might do the trick before you start panicking. Simply reset your AirPods, or better yet, leave them off for a while before turning them back on and see if the muffled sound is still there.

  • Store the AirPods in the Charging Case for about 30 seconds
  • Then open the case and go to ‘Settings’ on your phone
  • Go to ‘Bluetooth’ and select the AirPods through the ‘More Info’ button to ‘Forget This Device
  • Press and hold the ‘Setup Button‘ on your Charging Case until it flashes an amber light, then the white for 15 seconds
  • Finally, reconnect the AirPods.

6. Turn off any Equalizer Settings on Your Device

iOS devices have an EQ incorporated that might also be the cause for a muffled sound. To regulate and check if this is the issue, you should turn off the EQ setting and see if the sound persists. To do so, follow these steps:

  • Go to the ‘Settings’ menu
  • Scroll down and click the ‘Music’ folder
  • Select the ‘EQ’ option and turn off.

There is also a chance that the Active Noise Cancellation is the problem. This is a feature for iOS devices that involves an active EQ which works all the time to ensure the best noise isolation. Turning it off might solve the issue:

  • Swipe up on your phone to locate the volume level
  • Long-press the volume level to see options
  • Select ‘Noise Cancellation’ and turn off.

Muffled AirPods sound on Mac

Many Apple users also experience a muffled sound when connected to their Mac, this can be from a Bluetooth issue or they are not connected properly and need reconnecting/resetting the connection.

Try reconnecting your AirPods by putting them inside the Charging Case and bringing them closer to your Mac for a stable connection. Keep in mind, your AirPods need to be charged at least 1/3 of the battery, otherwise, they will not connect on low battery status.

If the problem is a Bluetooth issue, then follow these steps:

  • Reset your Bluetooth – Find and turn your Bluetooth off for at least 10 seconds before turning it on and trying again.
  • Try removing external devices – Remove any USBs or SSDs you might have connected to your Mac because they may interfere with the Bluetooth.
  • Clean corrupted files – Corrupted files might play a role with the compromised Bluetooth connection, so, scan and clean/delete corrupted files on your Mac.

If you’re still experiencing a muffled sound on your Mac, try this troubleshooter about airpods not connecting and see if it works.

Muffled AirPods sound on PC

A muffled AirPods sound on your PC is a common issue because Windows is different from Mac. When connecting your AirPods to your PC, Windows puts them down under two categories – Headset device and Headphone device. You would simply need to prevent Windows from using your AirPods as a headset and here is how:

  • Go to the ‘Control Panel’ on your PC
  • Select the ’Hardware and Sound‘ tab
  • Proceed to ‘View Devices and Sound
  • Select the AirPods then go to ‘Services
  • Finally, uncheck the ‘Handsfree Telephony’ action.

Contact Apple Support

If none of these fixes work, or you’re still experiencing issues regarding a muffled sound from your AirPods, then proceed by contacting Apple Support for further instructions.

Be sure to exhaust all other options first as most of the time, the issue is minor and requires a few minutes to fix. If you have connection issues, this can also be fixed. Try and find out what the actual issue is then proceed accordingly.


AirPods are a great investment for anyone who is looking for a wireless listening experience. The sound quality is excellent, and they are really easy to use. However, there are some things that you need to be aware of in order to get the most out of them.

Muffled sound is a common issue, but it can usually be fixed by following the steps listed above. If you are still experiencing problems, or if the fixes don’t work, then contact Apple Support for further instructions.

Milan Trajkovikj

Milan Trajkovikj

I’m the Deputy Editor for Musician Wave and a touring and recording bass guitarist. I love to share my passion for all things music. I’ve been playing music for over ten years and I love exploring it further through writing. You'll also find me on the Musician Wave YouTube channel.

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