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. In the majority of instances, this situation is short-term. In other instances, muffled hearing can be a precursor of more significant hearing-related problems. 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 gradually advancing long-term hearing loss is the sense that your hearing is muffled. However, it’s important to point out that muffled hearing in and of itself isn’t always a sign of long-term hearing loss. Each year millions of people experience muffled hearing.

Maybe you’re wondering if you should be concerned about your muffled hearing. Generally, the answer tends to vary. Recognizing the root cause of your muffled hearing is critical to finding the right treatment strategy. Additional damage can be avoided and your hearing can get back to normal with some quick solutions. Contacting us for a consultation can help you begin this process, typically leading to successful treatments, so you can continue enjoying the sounds of your everyday life.

What is muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing happens when sound is unable to move through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it usually does. A rather noticeable decline in sound fidelity is the outcome. In the majority of cases, individuals with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but things sound quieter or distorted. This might especially affect your ability to hear and understand voices and spoken language.

Your ears will frequently also feel clogged up when your hearing is muffled. Lots of people have experienced this feeling temporarily, for instance, when they have a cold or are flying. Muffled hearing isn’t always combined with this feeling, however.

What causes muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing can be caused by all kinds of problems. In order to develop the appropriate course of treatment, it’s important to determine the root cause. Some of the most common causes of muffled hearing include the following:

  • Infection: Inflammation of the ear canal will frequently come with issues like ear infections or sinus infections. This inflammation can cause your ear canal to swell shut, effectively decreasing your ability to hear. Muffled hearing symptoms caused by infections will typically go away after the underlying illness has been dealt with.
  • Earwax buildup: Normally, earwax is a positive thing. The health of your ear canal relies on the generation of earwax. However, too much earwax can ultimately cause muffled hearing (or even loss of hearing). Try a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen the wax up. Do not use a cotton swab to try to free the earwax, as cotton swabs can compact your earwax and make the issue worse. If the issue continues, come in and talk to us.
  • Hearing loss associated with age: Most people will experience diminishing hearing as they get older. 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 normal decline of your ability to hear.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from persistent hearing and balance issues. Dizziness, balance issues, 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: The changing altitude related to 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: In some cases, muffled hearing can be the outcome of noise-related hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is, regrettably, usually permanent. Muffled hearing is frequently one of the very first detectable symptoms; but damage to your stereocilia has usually already happened by the time you notice the distorted sounds. If you don’t find treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.

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

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Some types of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The treatment for your muffled hearing will change depending on the underlying cause. We may use some specialized tools to help clear out your ear canal if, for example, earwax buildup is at the root of your muffled hearing. Muffled hearing caused by an ear infection will usually clear up once the infection has been treated, so antibiotics are often prescribed.

In terms of sensorineural hearing loss, the emphasis changes to symptom management as opposed to a complete cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can’t be reversed. But it is possible to manage symptoms. There might be several approaches to this treatment including a pair of hearing aids.

With hearing aids, you can keep enjoying your day-to-day activities without hearing loss impacting your quality of life.

How to avoid muffled hearing in the first place

No matter what you do, certain forms of muffled hearing can’t be prevented. Infections, for instance, 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 identify any permanent hearing loss early. These checkups can help you stay on top of your hearing health and get treatment promptly.

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.