AirPods usually experience sound quality issues like muffled noise when the speakers are dirty or they have an unstable Bluetooth connection with the paired device. Other causes include a myriad of software problems that can be cleared by resetting the AirPods.
Keep reading as we explore why these conditions lead to sound muffling with your AirPods and what you can do to recover the high-quality sound.
Dirty AirPods Speakers
The most common cause of sound muffling in AirPods is dirty speakers. This happens over time as you carry your AirPods and use them every day.
The AirPod speakers are exposed to earwax and other materials as they sit in your ear. Over time, this will block the delicate mesh of the AirPod and muffle the sound.
Cleaning your AirPods usually solves this problem, and regular cleaning with the method below should prevent this from happening.
Before you get started, gather these materials:
- Microfiber cloth.
- Cotton swab.
- Paper towel.
- 90% or higher rubbing alcohol.
Make sure you work on one AirPod at a time and give them enough time to dry.
Cleaning Dirty AirPods Speakers
Wipe down the exterior of your AirPod to remove as many loose particles as possible. This prepares the surface for a deeper clean, allowing easier access to stubborn wax and other residues.
Soak your cotton swab with your alcohol and spread it across the AirPods. This will disinfect the surface and remove any dirt.
Spread the alcohol on each of the three dark mesh grills on the AirPod. This is where your sound comes out, and buildup here is the main culprit for muffled sound. Make sure you use a gentle touch; this is a delicate area, and the point is to soften the wax and dirt.
After a few moments, you should be able to use the cloth to remove the residue from the surface. A toothpick helps you lift the loosened mess into those tight areas.
Let your AirPod dry with the speaker facing downward. Gravity will help the liquid exit through the speaker port, and you can move on to repeat the process on the other earbud.
Unstable Bluetooth Connection
If cleaning the AirPod speakers does not work, the Bluetooth connection is the next thing to check. AirPods rely on a stable Bluetooth connection, and instability often leads to distortion, cracking, or muffled sound.
Start by disabling other devices in the vicinity. Check your device for a list of what is in the area; the odds are that you have forgotten what Bluetooth devices you have, including:
- Other wireless headphones.
These other devices can interfere with the connection between your device and your AirPods. Check to see if this solves the problem, and move on to reset your connection if not.
Turn the Bluetooth on your device off for 10 seconds to restart the connection to your device. When you turn the Bluetooth capabilities on and connect your AirPods, you should not experience muffled sound.
Other Methods to Fix AirPods that Sound Muffled
While most AirPods with muffled sound should be ready to go after cleaning or resetting the Bluetooth connection, there is a slight chance yours may have another issue related to corrupted or incompatible software.
Make sure your device is running the latest operating system available. If not, update it and see if that fixes the problem.
If the issue persists in just one AirPod, try sucking on that one. It sounds weird, but plenty of AirPod users have solved this problem in this way. Just make sure you’ve cleaned it beforehand, and you dry the AirPod afterward.
Resetting Your AirPods
Your final method to fix AirPods with muffled sound is performing a reset. This can solve many issues, including battery problems with earlier generations.
Press and hold the setup buttons on the back of your AirPods for about 15 seconds. Keep an eye out for a white LED light.
Your AirPods should flash amber before returning to flashing white. Once the light is white, you can pair them with your device again.
Cross your fingers and test them again. This should solve any problem your AirPods picked up over their life.
Recruiting Professional Help
Unfortunately, muffled sounds can come from more serious issues that require professional attention. Get in contact with Apple Support or take a trip to your local Apple store.
If you are still in your warranty period, you should have the opportunity to fix or replace your AirPods for free or at a discounted price.
Make sure you try all the other methods mentioned in this article before reaching out to Apple for a repair or replacement. You can save plenty of time and effort by crossing these off the list.