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.

Muffled hearing can happen for a wide variety of reasons. In the majority of instances, this condition is short-term. But muffled hearing can also be a sign that a more severe hearing problem is happening. Partly, that’s because, outside of sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is typically not a condition that progresses suddenly. Symptoms progress slowly and over time.

Typically, one of the first noticeable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. Muffled hearing, however, isn’t always a sign that you are developing permanent hearing loss. Indeed, millions of individuals experience muffled hearing each year.

Maybe you’re wondering if you should be worried about your muffled hearing. Generally, the answer varies. Finding the best treatment for your muffled hearing depends on recognizing the root cause. Added damage can be avoided 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 continue enjoying the sounds of your everyday life.

Muffled Hearing – what exactly is it?

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

In many cases, and depending on the root cause, muffled hearing can be accompanied by a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Sometimes, when you’re taking a flight or have a cold you may experience this feeling. Muffled hearing isn’t always combined with this feeling, however.

Causes of muffled hearing

There are a lot of possible causes of muffled hearing. Figuring out the underlying cause of your muffled hearing can be important in establishing a successful treatment plan. Some of the most prevalent causes of muffled hearing include the following:

  • Infection: Swelling of the ear canal will frequently come with problems like ear infections or sinus infections. This will reduce your ability to hear by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Muffled hearing symptoms caused by infections will usually go away once the root illness has been treated.
  • Hearing loss related to age: Most individuals will experience decreasing hearing as they age. After all, there are few senses as acute when you are 80 as when you are 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the outcome of this natural decline of your ability to hear.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss caused by noise damage can sometimes bring about muffled hearing. This form of hearing loss is, unfortunately, generally permanent. Muffled hearing is frequently one of the earliest noticeable symptoms; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has probably already happened. You should seek out treatment promptly to avoid your hearing getting significantly worse quickly.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a long-term balance and hearing problem. Dizziness, balance problems, tinnitus, and muffled ears will manifest over time due to this disease. There is no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be managed.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is usually a helpful thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. But muffled hearing (and in some cases even hearing loss) can be the result of too much earwax. Try a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen things up. Do not utilize a cotton swab to try to dislodge the earwax, as cotton swabs can compact your earwax and make the problem worse. If the problem persists, come in and see us.
  • Travel: Altitude changes, such as when you’re on a plane, can cause a feeling of muffled ears. In most cases, this feeling will pass quickly and your normal hearing will be restored.

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

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing can be cured. The treatment for your muffled hearing will change depending on the underlying cause. We may use some specialized 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 often prescribed.

In terms of sensorineural hearing loss, the focus changes to symptom management instead of a complete cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can’t be cured. But it is possible to control symptoms. This might take several forms, but the most prevalent is using a set of hearing aids so that you can bring clarity to what you hear.

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

How to steer clear of muffled hearing in the first place

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

However, in most instances, routine hearing tests can help you steer clear of many of the causes of muffled hearing and detect any permanent hearing loss early. 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.