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. For the majority of people, it’s a temporary experience. In other instances, muffled hearing can be a harbinger of more serious hearing-related issues. In part, that’s because, outside of sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is usually not a condition that progresses suddenly. Symptoms appear slowly over a long period of time.

One of the earliest symptoms of slowly advancing long-term hearing loss is the feeling that your hearing is muffled. Muffled hearing, however, isn’t always an indication that you’re developing permanent hearing loss. Indeed, millions of individuals experience muffled hearing each year.

You might be wondering: when should I be worried about muffled hearing? The answer depends on various factors. Recognizing the root cause of your muffled hearing is crucial to finding the correct treatment approach. Prompt solutions can in some cases 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.

Muffled Hearing – what exactly is it?

Muffled hearing occurs when sound is not able to move through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it ordinarily does. This results in a noticeable decrease in sound quality. Hearing won’t be entirely gone with muffled hearing but things will sound garbled and quieter. This might particularly affect your ability to discern and understand voices and spoken language.

Your ears will frequently also feel plugged up when your hearing is muffled. Many people have experienced this feeling temporarily, for instance, when they have a cold or when they are flying. Muffled hearing isn’t always accompanied by this feeling, however.

Causes of muffled hearing

There are a lot of potential causes of muffled hearing. Identifying the root cause of your muffled hearing can be significant in establishing a successful treatment plan. Some of the most common causes of muffled hearing include the following:

  • 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 rather quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from persistent hearing and balance problems. Dizziness, balance issues, tinnitus, and muffled ears will manifest over time because of this disease. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be managed but not cured.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is usually a helpful thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. However, too much earwax can ultimately cause muffled hearing (or even hearing loss). Try a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen things up. Never attempt to dislodge stuck earwax by using a cotton swab which will only push the wax further up into the ear canal. If the issue lingers, come in and see us.
  • Age-related hearing loss: As you age, your hearing can decline due to natural causes. Needless to say, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less sharp than when you were 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the outcome of this natural decline of your hearing.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: In some cases, muffled hearing can be the consequence of noise-related hearing loss. This form of hearing loss is, regrettably, usually irreversible. One of the first recognizable symptoms is muffled hearing; but damage to your stereocilia has usually already happened by the time you detect the distorted sounds. If you don’t find treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.
  • Infection: Inflammation of the ear canal will often come with problems like ear infections or sinus infections. This swelling can cause your ear canal to be completely blocked, effectively reducing your ability to hear. Muffled hearing symptoms brought on by infections will normally go away after the root illness has been dealt with.

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

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Some types of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The underlying cause of your muffled hearing will establish the treatment strategy. For instance, if excess earwax buildup is the primary cause, we might use specific tools to help you clear out your ear canal. Antibiotics are usually prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

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 cured. However, symptoms can be managed. There might be several approaches to this treatment including a set of hearing aids.

Hearing aids can help you stay connected to loved ones and tackle your daily activities without a significantly noticeable impact, particularly when this process is initiated promptly.

Avoiding muffled hearing

Some types of muffled hearing are difficult to avoid, no matter what. Infections, for example, can’t always be avoided.

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