Muffled Hearing: Causes and Solutions

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

Muffled hearing can happen for a wide variety of reasons. In the majority of instances, this condition is temporary. In other instances, muffled hearing can be a precursor of more serious hearing-related problems. That’s because, in general, hearing loss is a slowly progressing condition. Symptoms develop slowly over a long time period.

One of the first symptoms of gradually progressing long-term hearing loss is the feeling that your hearing is muffled. However, it’s essential to point out 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 may be wondering: when should I be worried about muffled hearing? The answer depends on various factors. Understanding the root cause of your muffled hearing is essential to finding the best treatment approach. Timely solutions can sometimes help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least minimize possible damage. You will be able to get back to enjoying the sounds of your life after you get us to assist you with some successful treatments.

What is muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing takes place when sound is unable to move through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it ordinarily does. A rather noticeable decline in sound quality is the result. Hearing won’t be entirely gone with muffled hearing but things will sound garbled and quieter. This might particularly impact your ability to hear and understand voices and spoken language.

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

Causes of muffled hearing

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

  • Infection: Inflammation of the ear canal will frequently come with problems such as ear infections or sinus infections. This will diminish your ability to hear by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Once the root infection goes away, any swelling it caused should also clear.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is usually a helpful thing. The health of your ear canal relies on the generation of earwax. But muffled hearing (and in some circumstances even hearing loss) can be the result of too much earwax. This earwax can typically be loosened up by using a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. Never attempt to dislodge stuck earwax with a cotton swab which will only push the wax further up into the ear canal. If the issue lingers, come in and see us.
  • Travel: Altitude changes, such as when you’re on a plane, can lead to a feeling of muffled ears. Your hearing will go back to normal fairly quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a long-term balance and hearing issue. 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.
  • Hearing loss related to age: As you get older, your hearing can diminish as a result of natural causes. After all, there are few senses as acute when you are 80 as when you are 18. This normal diminishing in your ability to hear can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss which results from noise damage can sometimes bring about muffled hearing. Unfortunately, this type of hearing loss is usually permanent. Muffled hearing is frequently one of the first noticeable symptoms; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has most likely already occurred. If you don’t seek out treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.

Depending on the underlying cause, the exact symptoms of muffled hearing will differ.

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Some forms of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The root cause of your muffled hearing will establish the treatment strategy. We might use some special tools to help clean out your ear canal if, for instance, earwax buildup is at the root of your muffled hearing. 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 as opposed to a complete cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can not be reversed. However, symptoms can be controlled. This might take a number of forms, but the most prevalent is the use of a pair of hearing aids so that you can 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, particularly when this process is started promptly.

How to steer clear of muffled hearing in the first place

No matter what you do, some forms of muffled hearing can’t be prevented. Infections, for instance, can’t always be avoided.

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. 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.