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 large number of reasons for muffled hearing. For the majority of people, it’s a temporary experience. But muffled hearing can also be an indication that a more severe hearing problem is happening. That’s because, for the most part, hearing loss is a slowly progressing condition. Symptoms appear slowly over a long time period.

One of the first symptoms of slowly progressing long-term hearing loss is the feeling that your hearing is muffled. However, it’s important to mention that muffled hearing in and of itself isn’t always a sign of long-term hearing loss. Indeed, millions of people experience muffled hearing each year.

You might be wondering: when should I be worried about muffled hearing? Generally, the answer varies. Understanding the root cause of your muffled hearing is essential to finding the best treatment plan. Added damage can be prevented and your hearing can get back to normal with some quick solutions. Contacting us for a consultation can help you start this process, often resulting in successful treatments, so you can keep enjoying the sounds of your day-to-day life.

What is muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing happens when sound is unable to travel through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it normally does. This leads to a noticeable decrease in sound quality. Hearing won’t be totally gone with muffled hearing but things will sound distorted and quieter. This may particularly impact your ability to hear and understand voices and spoken language.

In many instances, and depending on the root cause, muffled hearing can be associated with a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Many people have experienced this feeling temporarily, for example, when they have a cold or when they are taking a flight. Muffled hearing isn’t always accompanied by this feeling, however.

What causes muffled hearing?

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

  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is usually a helpful 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 few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen things up. Never try to free stuck earwax by using a cotton swab which will only pack the wax further up into the ear canal. If the issue persists, come in and talk to us.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a long-term balance and hearing issue. Over time, this disease can trigger tinnitus, loss of hearing (often beginning with muffled hearing), and dizziness or loss of balance. There is no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be managed.
  • Infection: Sometimes, issues like infections (such as sinus infections or ear infections) can cause inflammation in the ear canal (this is especially true with ear infections). This will reduce your hearing ability by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Muffled hearing symptoms caused by infections will normally clear up after the root illness has been treated.
  • Travel: Altitude changes, such as when you’re on a plane, can cause a feeling of muffled ears. In most instances, this feeling will pass quickly and your normal hearing will be restored.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss which results from noise damage can sometimes result in muffled hearing. This type of hearing loss is, sadly, usually permanent. Muffled hearing is often one of the very first noticeable symptoms; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has most likely already taken place. You should seek out treatment promptly to avoid your hearing getting considerably worse quickly.
  • Age-related hearing loss: Most individuals will experience diminishing hearing as they get older. After all, there are few senses as acute when you are 80 as they were when you are 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the outcome of this natural decline of your ability to hear.

Depending on the underlying cause, the exact symptoms of muffled hearing will vary.

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Not all forms of muffled hearing can be cured. The base cause of your muffled hearing will determine the treatment method. 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. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

Symptom management is usually the approach when you’re dealing with sensorineural hearing loss rather than a cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can not be cured. However, symptoms can be controlled. There might be several approaches to this treatment including a set of hearing aids.

Hearing aids can help you stay connected to loved ones and tackle your day-to-day activities without a substantially noticeable impact, particularly when this process is initiated quickly.

How to steer clear of muffled hearing in the first place

Some types of muffled hearing are difficult to avoid, no matter what. For example, ear infections and sinus infections are difficult to easily avoid.

However, in most instances, regular hearing tests can help you avoid many of the causes of muffled hearing and detect any permanent hearing loss early. These checkups can help you stay on top of your hearing health and get treatment quickly.

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.