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 present for lots of reasons. For the majority of individuals, it’s a short-term situation. In other cases, muffled hearing can be a precursor of more serious hearing-related problems. Partly, 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.

Often, one of the first detectable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. However, it’s essential to point out that muffled hearing in and of itself isn’t always an indication of permanent hearing loss. Indeed, millions of people experience muffled hearing every year.

Perhaps you’re wondering if you should be worried about your muffled hearing. The answer depends on several factors. Recognizing the root cause of your muffled hearing is critical to finding the best treatment strategy. Additional damage can be prevented and your hearing can get back to normal with some quick solutions. You will be able to go back to enjoying the sounds of your life after you get us to help 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 decrease in sound quality is the outcome. In the majority of instances, individuals with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but things sound quieter or jumbled. Hearing speech and language can be particularly difficult.

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

Causes of muffled hearing

There are lots of potential causes of muffled hearing. Determining the underlying cause of your muffled hearing can be important in establishing an effective treatment plan. Here are a few of the most common causes:

  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is generally a helpful thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. But muffled hearing (and in some cases even hearing loss) can be the result of too much earwax. This earwax can usually be loosened up by using a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide. Do not make use of a cotton swab to attempt to dislodge the earwax, as cotton swabs can compact your earwax and make the issue worse. We can help if the problem persists.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: In some cases, muffled hearing can be the consequence of noise-related hearing loss. This kind of hearing loss is, regrettably, normally permanent. Muffled hearing is often one of the earliest noticeable symptoms; but by the time you detect the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has likely already taken place. If you don’t seek out treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.
  • Travel: The changing altitude associated with air travel can often cause a plugged feeling in the ear, followed closely by muffled hearing. Your hearing will go back to normal relatively quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Infection: Sometimes, problems like infections (including sinus infections or ear infections) can result in inflammation in the ear canal (this is especially true with ear infections). This will reduce your ability to hear by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Once the underlying infection goes away, any inflammation it caused should also clear.
  • Age-associated hearing loss: Most people will experience decreasing hearing as they get older. Needless to say, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less acute than when you were 18. This normal decline in your hearing ability can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a chronic balance and hearing issue. Dizziness, balance issues, tinnitus, and muffled ears will develop over time due to this disease. There is no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be treated.

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

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Not all forms of muffled hearing have a cure. The treatment for your muffled hearing will change depending on the base cause. We may use some specialized tools to help clean out your ear canal if, for example, earwax accumulation is at the root of your muffled hearing. Muffled hearing caused by an ear infection will likely clear up once the infection has been addressed, so antibiotics are usually prescribed.

In terms of sensorineural hearing loss, the emphasis changes to symptom management rather than a complete cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can not be reversed. However, symptoms can be managed. There might be numerous strategies to this treatment including a pair of hearing aids.

With hearing aids, you can continue to enjoy your daily activities without hearing loss effecting your quality of life.

Avoiding muffled hearing

No matter what you do, some kinds of muffled hearing can’t be prevented. Infections, for example, 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. 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.