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 situation. But muffled hearing can also be an indication that a more severe hearing issue is occurring. That’s because, in general, hearing loss is a gradually developing condition. Symptoms build slowly and over time.

In many cases, one of the first noticeable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. However, it’s significant to mention that muffled hearing in and of itself is not always a sign of long-term hearing loss. Each year millions of people experience muffled hearing.

You might be wondering: when should I be concerned about muffled hearing? The answer depends on various factors. Finding the best treatment for your muffled hearing depends on understanding the root cause. Additional damage can be avoided and your hearing can get back to normal with some prompt 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.

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. This leads to a noticeable drop in sound quality. In the majority of instances, people with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but things sound quieter or distorted. This may especially affect your ability to discern and understand voices and spoken language.

In many instances, and depending on the underlying cause, muffled hearing can be combined with a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Sometimes, when you’re on a plane or have a cold you might experience this feeling. Muffled hearing is not always combined with this feeling, however.

What causes muffled hearing?

There are lots of possible causes of muffled hearing. In order to establish the appropriate course of treatment, it’s essential to determine the root cause. Here are a few of the most common causes:

  • Infection: Inflammation of the ear canal will frequently come with issues such as ear infections or sinus infections. This will reduce your ability to hear by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Once the underlying infection goes away, any inflammation it caused should also clear.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss caused by noise-related damage can sometimes bring about muffled hearing. Unfortunately, this kind of hearing loss is normally irreversible. Muffled hearing is often one of the earliest noticeable symptoms; 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 getting considerably worse quickly.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is generally a helpful thing. The health of your ear canal relies on the production of earwax. However, excessive earwax can eventually cause muffled hearing (or even hearing loss). This earwax can usually be loosened up by using a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. Do not make use of a cotton swab to try to free the earwax, as cotton swabs can condense your earwax and make the problem worse. If the issue continues, come in and talk to us.
  • 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 as a result of this disease. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be treated but not cured.
  • 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 rapidly and your normal hearing will be restored.
  • Hearing loss associated with age: Most individuals will experience diminishing hearing as they age. After all, there are few senses as sharp when you are 80 as they were when you are 18. This normal diminishing in your ability to hear can cause muffled hearing over time.

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

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing can be cured. The underlying cause of your muffled hearing will establish the treatment strategy. For example, if excessive earwax buildup is the principal cause, we may use specific tools to help you clear out your ear canal. Muffled hearing caused by an ear infection will likely clear up once the infection has been treated, so antibiotics are frequently prescribed.

Symptom management is generally 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. However, symptoms can be managed. There may be numerous strategies to this treatment including a pair of hearing aids.

With hearing aids, you can continue to enjoy your daily activities without hearing loss effecting your quality of life.

How to steer clear of muffled hearing in the first place

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

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