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 wide variety of reasons for muffled hearing. In most cases, this condition is short-term. But muffled hearing can also be an indication that a more severe hearing issue is happening. That’s because, in general, hearing loss is a slowly developing condition. Symptoms progress gradually and over time.

Often, one of the first detectable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. However, it’s important to point out that muffled hearing in and of itself isn’t always an indication of long-term hearing loss. Each year millions of individuals experience muffled hearing.

You might be wondering: when should I be worried about muffled hearing? Generally, the answer varies. Finding the best treatment for your muffled hearing depends on understanding the underlying cause. Added damage can be avoided and your hearing can get back to normal with some quick solutions. You will be able to get back to enjoying the sounds of your life after you get us to help you with some successful treatments.

What is muffled hearing?

When sound can’t move 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 entirely 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.

Your ears will frequently also feel plugged up when your hearing is muffled. Lots of individuals have experienced this feeling for a short time, for instance, when they have a cold or are taking a flight. Muffled hearing isn’t always combined with this feeling, however.

Causes of muffled hearing

There are lots of potential causes of muffled hearing. In order to develop the appropriate course of treatment, it’s essential to establish the root cause. Here are several of the most common causes:

  • Age-related hearing loss: As you age, your hearing can decline as a result of natural causes. Needless to say, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less sharp than when you were 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the result of this normal diminishing of your ability to hear.
  • Infection: Swelling of the ear canal will frequently accompany problems like ear infections or sinus infections. This inflammation can cause your ear canal to be completely blocked, effectively diminishing your ability to hear. Muffled hearing symptoms due to infections will typically clear up after the root illness has been treated.
  • Travel: The changing air pressure related to air travel can frequently cause a feeling of fullness in the ear, accompanied by muffled hearing. Your hearing will go back to normal rather quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Earwax buildup: Usually, earwax is a positive thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. But muffled hearing (and in some cases even hearing loss) can be the consequence of too much earwax. Try a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen the wax up. Do not make use of a cotton swab to try to dislodge the earwax, as cotton swabs can compact your earwax and make the problem worse. We can help if the problem persists.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss which results from noise-related damage can sometimes result in muffled hearing. Sadly, this kind of hearing loss is usually permanent. One of the earliest recognizable symptoms is muffled hearing; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has most likely already taken place. You should find treatment promptly to avoid your hearing getting significantly worse quickly.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from persistent hearing and balance problems. Dizziness, balance issues, tinnitus, and muffled ears will manifest over time as a result of this disease. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be treated but not cured.

The exact symptoms of muffled hearing will differ depending on the base cause.

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Not all forms of muffled hearing have a cure. 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 accumulation is at the root of your muffled hearing. Muffled hearing caused by an ear infection will typically clear up once the infection has been managed, so antibiotics are usually prescribed.

Symptom management is usually the strategy when you have sensorineural hearing loss as opposed to a cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. However, symptoms can be managed. This might take a number of forms, but the most common is the use of a pair of hearing aids so that you can bring clarity to what you hear.

Hearing aids can help you stay connected to loved ones and go about your day-to-day activities without a substantially noticeable impact, especially when this process is started promptly.

How to steer clear of muffled hearing in the first place

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

Getting your hearing tested, however, can help detect any causes of muffled hearing and can help avoid 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.