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.

Muffled hearing can happen for a large number of reasons. For most people, it’s a temporary experience. In other cases, muffled hearing can be a precursor of more significant hearing-related issues. In part, that’s because, aside from sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is generally not a condition that develops suddenly. Symptoms appear gradually over a long period of time.

One of the first symptoms of gradually advancing long-term hearing loss is the feeling that your hearing is muffled. Muffled hearing, however, isn’t necessarily a sign that you are developing permanent hearing loss. Every year millions of people experience muffled hearing.

Perhaps you’re wondering if you should be concerned about your muffled hearing. The answer depends on a number of factors. Finding the right treatment for your muffled hearing depends on recognizing the root cause. Prompt solutions can in some cases help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least minimize possible harm. You will be able to get 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?

Muffled hearing takes place when sound is not able to move through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it ordinarily does. This leads to a noticeable decrease in sound quality. Hearing won’t be entirely gone with muffled hearing but things will sound distorted and quieter. This may especially affect your ability to hear and understand voices and spoken language.

Your ears will frequently also feel plugged up when your hearing is muffled. Lots of people have experienced this feeling temporarily, for example, when they have a cold or when they are flying. This clogged feeling, however, doesn’t always come along with muffled hearing.

Causes of muffled hearing

There are a lot of potential causes of muffled hearing. In order to formulate the correct course of treatment, it’s important to figure out the root cause. Some of the most prevalent causes of muffled hearing include the following:

  • Sensorineural hearing loss: In some cases, muffled hearing can be the consequence of noise-related hearing loss. Sadly, this form of hearing loss is usually irreversible. One of the very first noticeable symptoms is muffled hearing; but by the time you detect the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has probably already occurred. If you don’t seek out treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.
  • Hearing loss associated with age: Most individuals will experience decreasing 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 result of this normal decline of your hearing.
  • Earwax buildup: Normally, earwax is a positive thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. However, excessive earwax can eventually cause muffled hearing (or even hearing loss). Try a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen things up. Do not use a cotton swab to try to free the earwax, as cotton swabs can condense your earwax and make the problem worse. We can help if the issue persists.
  • Infection: In some cases, issues like infections (including sinus infections or ear infections) can cause swelling in the ear canal (this is particularly true with ear infections). This inflammation can cause your ear canal to swell shut, effectively decreasing your ability to hear. Once the root infection goes away, any inflammation it caused should also clear.
  • Travel: Altitude changes, like 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. Over time, this disease can cause tinnitus, loss of hearing (frequently starting with muffled hearing), and dizziness or loss of balance. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be treated but not cured.

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

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing can be cured. The underlying cause of your muffled hearing will determine the treatment method. We might use some special tools to help clear out your ear canal if, for example, earwax buildup is at the root of your muffled hearing. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

In terms of 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. However, symptoms can be managed. There may be several strategies to this treatment including a pair of hearing aids.

With hearing aids, you can keep enjoying your daily 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 avoided. For example, ear infections and sinus infections are hard to easily avoid.

Getting your hearing tested, however, can help detect any causes of muffled hearing and can help avoid any long-term hearing loss that may be developing. 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.