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 individuals, it’s a short-term experience. In other cases, muffled hearing can be a precursor of more serious hearing-related problems. That’s because, in general, hearing loss is a gradually developing condition. Symptoms develop slowly and over time.

One of the earliest symptoms of gradually progressing long-term hearing loss is the sense that your hearing is muffled. However, it’s important to mention that muffled hearing in and of itself is not always an indication of permanent hearing loss. Indeed, millions of people experience muffled hearing each year.

Maybe you’re wondering if you should be concerned about your muffled hearing. Generally, the answer varies. Understanding the root cause of your muffled hearing is critical to finding the right treatment plan. Prompt solutions can in some cases help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least reduce possible harm. You will be able to go back to enjoying the sounds of your life after you get us to assist you with some successful treatments.

What is muffled hearing?

When sound can’t travel through your outer, middle, and inner ear in a normal way, your hearing can sound muffled. A rather noticeable decrease in sound quality is the outcome. Hearing won’t be completely gone with muffled hearing but things will sound distorted and quieter. This may especially impact your ability to discern and understand voices and spoken language.

In many instances, and depending on the root cause, muffled hearing can be combined with a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Sometimes, when you’re on a plane or suffering from a cold you may experience this feeling. This clogged feeling, however, doesn’t always come along with muffled hearing.

Causes of muffled hearing

Muffled hearing can be caused by a wide variety of problems. Identifying the underlying cause of your muffled hearing can be significant in establishing an effective treatment plan. Some of the most common causes of muffled hearing include the following:

  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss which results from noise-related damage can sometimes result in muffled hearing. This type of hearing loss is, sadly, normally permanent. One of the first recognizable symptoms is muffled hearing; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has likely already taken place. You should find treatment rapidly to avoid your hearing growing significantly worse quickly.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is usually a helpful thing. The health of your ear canal depends on the production of earwax. But muffled hearing (and in some instances even hearing loss) can be the consequence of too much earwax. Try a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen the wax up. Do not make use of a cotton swab to attempt to dislodge the earwax, as cotton swabs can compact your earwax and make the issue worse. If the problem lingers, come in and see us.
  • Infection: Sometimes, problems such as infections (such as sinus infections or ear infections) can result in swelling in the ear canal (this is especially true with ear infections). This swelling can cause your ear canal to swell shut, effectively reducing your ability to hear. Muffled hearing symptoms due to infections will usually go away once the underlying illness has been dealt with.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a chronic balance and hearing issue. Dizziness, balance problems, tinnitus, and muffled ears will manifest over time due to this disease. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be managed but not cured.
  • Age-related hearing loss: Most people will experience diminishing hearing as they age. After all, there are few senses as sharp when you are 80 as when you are 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the outcome of this natural diminishing of your ability to hear.
  • Travel: The changing altitude associated with air travel can frequently cause a plugged feeling in the ear, followed closely by muffled hearing. In most instances, this feeling will go away quickly and your normal hearing will be restored.

Depending on the root cause, the exact symptoms of muffled hearing will differ.

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Some types of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The underlying cause of your muffled hearing will establish the treatment method. We may use some special tools to help clean out your ear canal if, for example, earwax buildup is at the root of your muffled hearing. Antibiotics are typically prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

When it comes to sensorineural hearing loss, the emphasis changes to symptom management instead of a total cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. But it is possible to manage symptoms. There may be numerous strategies to this treatment including a set of hearing aids.

Hearing aids can help you stay connected to loved ones and go about your day-to-day activities without a significantly noticeable effect, especially when this process is initiated quickly.

How to avoid muffled hearing in the first place

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

However, in most cases, routine hearing tests can help you steer clear of many of the causes of muffled hearing and identify any permanent hearing loss early. These examinations 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.