Causes of Muffled Hearing and Some Remedies

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 cases, this condition is short-term. But muffled hearing can also be a sign that a more severe hearing problem is occurring. That’s because, for the most part, hearing loss is a slowly progressing condition. Symptoms develop slowly over a long time period.

Typically, one of the first noticeable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. Muffled hearing, however, isn’t always a sign that you’re developing long-term hearing loss. Every year millions of people experience muffled hearing.

Perhaps you’re wondering if you should be concerned about your muffled hearing. Generally, the answer varies. Finding the best treatment for your muffled hearing depends on understanding the underlying cause. Added damage can be prevented and your hearing can get back to normal with some quick 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.

Muffled Hearing – what exactly is it?

Muffled hearing occurs when sound is not able to travel through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it normally does. A very noticeable reduction in sound fidelity is the result. In most instances, those with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but things sound quieter or jumbled. This might particularly impact your ability to hear and understand voices and spoken language.

Your ears will often also feel clogged up when your hearing is muffled. Sometimes, when you’re taking a flight or suffering from a cold you might experience this feeling. Muffled hearing isn’t always combined with this feeling, however.

Causes of muffled hearing

There are a lot of potential causes of muffled hearing. In order to establish the appropriate course of treatment, it’s essential to figure out the root cause. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from persistent hearing and balance issues. 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.
  • Infection: Inflammation of the ear canal will often accompany problems like ear infections or sinus infections. This will diminish your ability to hear by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Once the base infection clears, any swelling it caused should also clear.
  • Hearing loss related to age: Most people will experience decreasing hearing as they age. Obviously, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less acute than when you were 18. This natural decline in your hearing ability can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • 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 relatively quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss which results from noise-related damage can sometimes cause muffled hearing. Sadly, this form of hearing loss is normally irreversible. One of the first noticeable symptoms is muffled hearing; but by the time you detect the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has likely already occurred. You should seek out treatment promptly to avoid your hearing growing significantly worse quickly.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is usually a helpful thing. The health of your ear canal relies on the production of earwax. But muffled hearing (and in some cases even hearing loss) can be the result of too much earwax. Try a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen the wax up. Never try to free stuck earwax with a cotton swab which will only pack the wax further up into the ear canal. We can help if the problem persists.

The exact symptoms of muffled hearing will differ depending on the underlying 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 method. We might use some special tools to help clear out your ear canal if, for example, earwax accumulation 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 generally the strategy when you have sensorineural hearing loss as opposed to a cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. But it is possible to control symptoms. There may be several strategies to this treatment including a pair of hearing aids.

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

Avoiding muffled hearing

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

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