Causes of Muffled Hearing and Some Treatments

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. In the majority of cases, this situation is short-term. But muffled hearing can also be an indication that a more serious hearing problem is taking place. Partly, that’s because, outside of sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is typically not a condition that develops suddenly. Symptoms progress gradually and over time.

One of the first symptoms of slowly developing long-term hearing loss is the sense that your hearing is muffled. However, it’s essential to mention that muffled hearing in and of itself is not always a sign of long-term hearing loss. Indeed, millions of people experience muffled hearing every year.

You may be wondering: when do I need to be concerned about muffled hearing? The answer depends on several factors. Finding the right treatment for your muffled hearing depends on recognizing the root cause. Additional damage can be prevented and your hearing can get back to normal with some prompt solutions. Calling us for a consultation can help you start this process, often resulting in successful treatments, so you can keep enjoying the sounds of your day-to-day life.

Muffled Hearing – what exactly is it?

Muffled hearing takes place when sound is unable to travel through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it usually does. A rather noticeable decrease in sound fidelity is the result. Hearing won’t be completely 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 often also feel plugged up when your hearing is muffled. Lots of people have experienced this feeling for a short time, for instance, when they have a cold or are flying. This clogged feeling, however, doesn’t always come along with muffled hearing.

What causes muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing can be caused by a wide variety of issues. In order to establish the appropriate course of treatment, it’s essential to establish the root cause. Some of the most prevalent causes of muffled hearing include the following:

  • 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 dislodge the earwax, as cotton swabs can compact your earwax and make the problem worse. If the issue lingers, come in and see us.
  • Infection: Inflammation of the ear canal will often accompany problems such as ear infections or sinus infections. This swelling can cause your ear canal to swell shut, effectively decreasing your ability to hear. Muffled hearing symptoms due to infections will usually go away once the root illness has been treated.
  • Travel: The changing air pressure associated with air travel can often cause a feeling of fullness in the ear, accompanied by muffled hearing. Your hearing will go back to normal relatively quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss which results from noise-related damage can sometimes bring about muffled hearing. This type of hearing loss is, sadly, generally permanent. One of the first recognizable symptoms is muffled hearing; but damage to your stereocilia has usually already happened by the time you detect the distorted sounds. You should seek out treatment rapidly to avoid your hearing growing significantly worse quickly.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a long-term balance and hearing problem. Dizziness, balance issues, tinnitus, and muffled ears will develop over time due to this disease. There’s no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be treated.
  • Hearing loss associated with age: As you age, your hearing can decline due to natural causes. Needless to say, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less acute than when you were 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the result of this normal diminishing of your hearing.

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

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Some types of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The treatment for your muffled hearing will differ depending on the base cause. For example, if excessive earwax buildup is the main cause, we might use specific tools to help you clear out your ear canal. Antibiotics are usually prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

In terms of sensorineural hearing loss, the focus changes to symptom management as opposed to a total cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can not be cured. However, symptoms can be managed. This may take several forms, but the most common is the use of a set of hearing aids in order to bring clarity to what you hear.

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

How to steer clear of muffled hearing in the first place

No matter what you do, certain kinds of muffled hearing can’t be avoided. Infections, for instance, can’t always be avoided.

However, in most instances, routine hearing tests can help you avoid many of the causes of muffled hearing and detect 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.