Causes of Muffled Hearing and Some Solutions

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 temporary experience. But muffled hearing can also be an indication that a more serious hearing problem is occurring. That’s because, in general, hearing loss is a slowly progressing condition. Symptoms show up 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. However, it’s essential to point out that muffled hearing in and of itself isn’t always a sign of permanent hearing loss. Each year millions of people experience muffled hearing.

Maybe you’re wondering if you should be concerned about your muffled hearing. The answer depends on a number of factors. Understanding the root cause of your muffled hearing is critical to finding the right treatment strategy. Added damage can be avoided and your hearing can get back to normal with some quick solutions. You will be able to go back to enjoying the sounds of your life after you get us to help you with some successful treatments.

Muffled Hearing – what exactly is it?

When sound can’t travel through your outer, middle, and inner ear in a normal way, your hearing can sound muffled. A very noticeable decrease in sound fidelity is the result. Hearing won’t be entirely gone with muffled hearing but things will sound distorted and quieter. Discerning speech and language can be particularly challenging.

In many cases, and depending on the underlying cause, muffled hearing can be associated with a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Sometimes, when you’re taking a flight or suffering from a cold you may experience this feeling. Muffled hearing is not always combined with this feeling, however.

Causes of muffled hearing

There are lots of potential causes of muffled hearing. Figuring out the root cause of your muffled hearing can be essential in establishing an effective treatment plan. Some of the most common causes of muffled hearing include the following:

  • Travel: Altitude changes, like when you’re on a plane, can cause a feeling of muffled ears. Your hearing will go back to normal fairly quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Age-associated hearing loss: As you get older, your hearing can decline as a result of natural causes. After all, there are few senses as acute when you are 80 as when you are 18. This natural diminishing in your ability to hear can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • 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 decreasing your ability to hear. Once the underlying infection clears, any inflammation it caused should also clear.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Sometimes, muffled hearing can be the outcome of noise-related hearing loss. Regrettably, this type of hearing loss is normally permanent. One of the first recognizable symptoms is muffled hearing; but by the time you detect the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has most likely already happened. If you don’t find treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.
  • Earwax buildup: Usually, earwax is a good thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. But muffled hearing (and in some circumstances even hearing loss) can be the consequence of excess earwax. Try a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen things up. Do not use a cotton swab to try to free the earwax, as cotton swabs can compact your earwax and make the problem worse. We can help if the issue continues.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a long-term balance and hearing issue. Dizziness, balance problems, tinnitus, and muffled ears will develop over time because of this disease. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be treated but not cured.

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

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing have a cure. The base cause of your muffled hearing will determine the treatment strategy. We may use some special tools to help clean 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 likely clear up once the infection has been managed, so antibiotics are usually prescribed.

Symptom management is usually the strategy when you’re dealing with sensorineural hearing loss rather than a cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. But it is possible to manage symptoms. This may take several forms, but the most prevalent is using a set of hearing aids in order to bring clarity to what you hear.

With hearing aids, you can keep enjoying your daily activities without hearing loss effecting your quality of life.

Avoiding muffled hearing

Some types of muffled hearing are hard to avoid, no matter what. Infections, for example, can’t always be avoided.

Having your hearing tested, however, can help identify any causes of muffled hearing and can help avoid any long-term hearing loss that might be developing. Call 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.