Causes of Muffled Hearing and Some Treatments

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 lots of reasons. For most individuals, it’s a short-term situation. In other instances, muffled hearing can be a precursor of more significant hearing-related issues. Partly, that’s because, aside from sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is usually not a condition that develops suddenly. Symptoms develop slowly over a long period of time.

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

You might be wondering: when should I be concerned about muffled hearing? Generally, the answer tends to vary. Finding the correct treatment for your muffled hearing depends on understanding the root cause. Additional damage can be prevented and your hearing can get back to normal with some prompt solutions. 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.

What is muffled hearing?

When sound can’t move through your outer, middle, and inner ear in a normal way, your hearing can sound muffled. This results in a noticeable drop in sound quality. In most instances, those with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but everything sounds quieter or jumbled. This might particularly impact your ability to discern and understand voices and spoken language.

In many instances, and depending on the underlying cause, muffled hearing can be accompanied by a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Many people have experienced this feeling for a short time, for example, when they have a cold or when they are flying. This clogged feeling, however, doesn’t always come with muffled hearing.

Causes of muffled hearing

Muffled hearing can be caused by a wide variety of problems. In order to establish the suitable course of treatment, it’s important to figure out the root cause. Here are some of the most prevalent causes:

  • Travel: Altitude changes, such as when you’re on a plane, can cause a feeling of muffled ears. Your hearing will go back to normal relatively quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a chronic balance and hearing problem. Over time, this disease can cause tinnitus, loss of hearing (often starting with muffled hearing), and dizziness or loss of balance. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be treated but not cured.
  • Hearing loss associated with age: Most people will experience diminishing hearing as they age. After all, there are few senses as acute when you are 80 as when you are 18. This natural decline in your hearing ability can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Infection: Swelling of the ear canal will frequently come with problems like ear infections or sinus infections. This inflammation can cause your ear canal to swell shut, effectively diminishing your ability to hear. Muffled hearing symptoms brought on by infections will usually clear up after the underlying illness has been dealt with.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is usually a helpful thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. But muffled hearing (and in some circumstances even hearing loss) can be the result of too much earwax. Try a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen things up. Never try to free stuck earwax by using a cotton swab which will only push the wax further up into the ear canal. We can help if the issue persists.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Sometimes, muffled hearing can be the outcome of noise-related hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is, regrettably, generally irreversible. One of the first noticeable symptoms is muffled hearing; but damage to your stereocilia has likely already happened by the time you detect the distorted sounds. You should seek out treatment promptly to avoid your hearing growing significantly worse quickly.

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

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing have a cure. The treatment for your muffled hearing will change depending on the base cause. For example, if excess earwax buildup is the primary cause, we might use specific tools to help you clean 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 focus changes to symptom management as opposed to a total cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can not be reversed. However, symptoms can be controlled. This may take a number of forms, but the most common is the use of a pair of hearing aids in order to bring clarity to what you hear.

Hearing aids can help you remain connected to loved ones and go about your daily activities without a substantially noticeable impact, especially when this process is initiated 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 avoided. For example, ear infections and sinus infections are hard to reliably avoid.

However, in most instances, regular hearing tests can help you steer clear of many of the causes of muffled hearing and detect any permanent hearing loss early. Contact 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.