Muffled Hearing: Causes and Remedies

Woman in pain for tinnitus, sound and noise problem. Healthcare, pressure and hearing loss with girl suffering with muffled hearing.

Muffled hearing can present for a wide variety of reasons. For most individuals, it’s a short-term situation. But muffled hearing can also be a sign that a more serious hearing problem is happening. That’s because, for the most part, hearing loss is a slowly developing condition. Symptoms develop slowly over a long period of time.

Often, one of the first noticeable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. However, it’s important to mention that muffled hearing in and of itself is not always an indication of permanent hearing loss. Every year millions of people experience muffled hearing.

You might be wondering: when do I need to be concerned about muffled hearing? Generally, the answer varies. Finding the best treatment for your muffled hearing depends on understanding the underlying cause. Timely solutions can in some cases 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 assist you with some successful treatments.

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 outcome. In the majority of instances, those with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but things sound quieter or jumbled. This may especially impact 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 for a short time, for example, when they have a cold or are taking a flight. This plugged feeling, however, doesn’t always come with muffled hearing.

Causes of muffled hearing

Muffled hearing can be caused by a wide variety of problems. Identifying the root cause of your muffled hearing can be important in establishing an effective treatment plan. Here are a few of the most common causes:

  • Earwax buildup: Usually, earwax is a positive thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. But muffled hearing (and in some instances even hearing loss) can be the consequence of too much earwax. Try a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen things up. Never try to dislodge stuck earwax with a cotton swab which will only pack the wax further up into the ear canal. If the problem lingers, come in and talk to us.
  • Hearing loss related to age: As you age, your hearing can diminish as a result of natural causes. After all, there are few senses as sharp when you are 80 as when you are 18. This normal decline in your hearing ability can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss caused by noise damage can sometimes cause muffled hearing. This form of hearing loss is, unfortunately, generally irreversible. Muffled hearing is frequently one of the very first noticeable symptoms; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has likely already happened. You should find treatment rapidly to avoid your hearing getting considerably worse quickly.
  • Infection: Swelling of the ear canal will frequently come with problems like ear infections or sinus infections. This swelling can cause your ear canal to swell shut, effectively reducing your ability to hear. Once the base infection goes away, any inflammation it caused should also clear.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from chronic hearing and balance issues. Dizziness, balance issues, 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.
  • Travel: The changing altitude related to air travel can frequently cause a feeling of fullness in the ear, accompanied by muffled hearing. Your hearing will go back to normal fairly quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.

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

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Not all forms of muffled hearing have a cure. The root cause of your muffled hearing will establish the treatment strategy. 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. Antibiotics are typically prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

Symptom management is usually the strategy when you have sensorineural hearing loss as opposed to a cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can not be reversed. However, symptoms can be controlled. There might be several approaches to this treatment including a set of hearing aids.

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

Avoiding muffled hearing

No matter what you do, certain kinds of muffled hearing can’t be prevented. For example, ear infections and sinus infections are difficult to reliably avoid.

However, in most instances, regular hearing tests can help you avoid many of the causes of muffled hearing and identify any permanent hearing loss early. Call 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.