Causes of Muffled Hearing and Some Remedies

Woman in pain for tinnitus, sound and noise problem. Healthcare, pressure and hearing loss with girl suffering with muffled hearing.

There are a wide variety of reasons for muffled hearing. In most instances, this condition is temporary. In other cases, muffled hearing can be a precursor of more substantial hearing-related problems. That’s because, in general, hearing loss is a slowly progressing condition. Symptoms appear gradually over a long time period.

One of the earliest symptoms of slowly developing long-term hearing loss is the sense that your hearing is muffled. Muffled hearing, however, isn’t necessarily a sign that you’re developing long-term hearing loss. Indeed, millions of individuals experience muffled hearing every year.

You may be wondering: when should I be concerned about muffled hearing? Generally, the answer tends to vary. Understanding the root cause of your muffled hearing is crucial to finding the best treatment plan. Added damage can be prevented and your hearing can get back to normal with some prompt solutions. Contacting us for a consultation can help you begin this process, typically resulting in successful treatments, so you can continue enjoying the sounds of your everyday life.

What is muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing occurs when sound is not able to travel through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it ordinarily does. A very noticeable decrease in sound fidelity is the result. In most instances, individuals with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but everything sounds quieter or distorted. This might especially affect your ability to discern and understand voices and spoken language.

In many instances, and depending on the underlying cause, muffled hearing can be combined with a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Lots of individuals have experienced this feeling temporarily, for instance, when they have a cold or when they are taking a flight. This plugged feeling, however, doesn’t always come along with muffled hearing.

What causes muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing can be caused by all kinds of issues. In order to establish the suitable course of treatment, it’s important to establish the root cause. Here are a few of the most common causes:

  • Earwax buildup: Normally, earwax is a good thing. The health of your ear canal depends on the production of earwax. However, excessive earwax can eventually cause muffled hearing (or even loss of hearing). Try a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen things up. Never try to dislodge stuck earwax by using a cotton swab which will only pack the wax further up into the ear canal. We can help if the issue continues.
  • Hearing loss associated with age: As you get older, your hearing can diminish due to natural causes. After all, there are few senses as acute when you are 80 as when you are 18. This natural diminishing in your hearing ability can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from persistent hearing and balance issues. Dizziness, balance issues, tinnitus, and muffled ears will manifest over time because of this disease. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be managed but not cured.
  • Travel: Altitude changes, such as when you’re on a plane, can lead to a feeling of muffled ears. Your hearing will go back to normal relatively quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Infection: Swelling of the ear canal will often come with issues such as ear infections or sinus infections. This swelling can cause your ear canal to swell shut, effectively diminishing your ability to hear. Muffled hearing symptoms due to infections will normally go away once the underlying illness has been dealt with.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss which results from noise damage can sometimes cause muffled hearing. This form of hearing loss is, unfortunately, normally irreversible. Muffled hearing is frequently one of the very first noticeable symptoms; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has probably already happened. If you don’t seek out treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.

The precise symptoms of muffled hearing will vary depending on the root cause.

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Not all forms of muffled hearing have a cure. The treatment for your muffled hearing will differ depending on the base cause. We may use some specialized tools to help clear out your ear canal if, for instance, earwax buildup is at the root of your muffled hearing. Muffled hearing caused by an ear infection will typically clear up once the infection has been treated, so antibiotics are usually prescribed.

Symptom management is generally the approach when you’re dealing with sensorineural hearing loss as opposed to a cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can’t be cured. But it is possible to control symptoms. There might be numerous strategies to this treatment including a set of hearing aids.

Hearing aids can help you remain connected to loved ones and go about your daily activities without a significantly noticeable impact, especially when this process is started quickly.

Avoiding muffled hearing

No matter what you do, certain kinds of muffled hearing can’t be prevented. For example, ear infections and sinus infections are difficult to reliably avoid.

Having your hearing tested, however, can help detect any causes of muffled hearing and can help prevent any long-term hearing loss that may be developing. Contact us for an appointment right away.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.