Causes of Muffled Hearing and Some Remedies

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. For the majority of individuals, it’s a short-term situation. But muffled hearing can also be an indication that a more serious hearing issue is occurring. In part, that’s because, outside of sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is generally not a condition that develops suddenly. Symptoms progress slowly and over time.

One of the first symptoms of gradually progressing long-term hearing loss is the sense that your hearing is muffled. However, it’s essential to point out that muffled hearing in and of itself isn’t always a sign of long-term hearing loss. Indeed, millions of individuals experience muffled hearing every year.

You might be wondering: when do I need to be worried about muffled hearing? Generally, the answer varies. Understanding the root cause of your muffled hearing is crucial to finding the correct treatment strategy. Timely solutions can sometimes help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least reduce possible damage. 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.

Muffled Hearing – what exactly is it?

When sound can’t travel 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 entirely gone with muffled hearing but things will sound garbled and quieter. Hearing speech and language can be especially difficult.

In many cases, and depending on the root cause, muffled hearing can be associated with a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Sometimes, when you’re taking a flight or suffering from a cold you might experience this feeling. Muffled hearing is not always associated with this feeling, however.

Causes of muffled hearing

There are a lot of possible causes of muffled hearing. Figuring out the root cause of your muffled hearing can be essential in developing a successful treatment plan. Here are several of the most common causes:

  • Infection: Sometimes, issues such as infections (including sinus infections or ear infections) can result in inflammation in the ear canal (this is especially true with ear infections). This inflammation can cause your ear canal to be completely blocked, effectively diminishing your ability to hear. Muffled hearing symptoms brought on by infections will usually go away once the root illness has been dealt with.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss caused by noise-related damage can sometimes cause muffled hearing. Unfortunately, this type of hearing loss is usually irreversible. One of the first recognizable symptoms is muffled hearing; but damage to your stereocilia has usually already happened by the time you notice the distorted sounds. If you don’t seek out treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.
  • Hearing loss related to 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 natural diminishing of your ability to hear.
  • Earwax buildup: Usually, earwax is a good thing. The health of your ear canal relies on the production of earwax. But muffled hearing (and in some cases even hearing loss) can be the result of too much earwax. This earwax can usually be loosened up by utilizing a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. Never attempt to dislodge stuck earwax by using a cotton swab which will only pack the wax further up into the ear canal. We can help if the issue persists.
  • 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 rapidly and your normal hearing will be restored.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a chronic balance and hearing issue. Dizziness, balance problems, tinnitus, and muffled ears will develop over time due to this disease. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be managed but not cured.

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

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Some forms of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The treatment for your muffled hearing will change depending on the base cause. For instance, if excessive earwax buildup is the primary cause, we may use specific tools to help you clean out your ear canal. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

When it comes to sensorineural hearing loss, the focus changes to symptom management rather than a total cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. But it is possible to control symptoms. There may be several approaches to this treatment including a set of hearing aids.

With hearing aids, you can keep enjoying your daily activities without hearing loss impacting 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 example, ear infections and sinus infections are hard to reliably avoid.

Having your hearing examined, however, can help identify any causes of muffled hearing and can help prevent any long-term hearing loss that may 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.