Muffled Hearing: Causes and Remedies

Woman in pain for tinnitus, sound and noise problem. Healthcare, pressure and hearing loss with girl suffering with muffled hearing.

There are a large number of reasons for muffled hearing. In most instances, this condition is temporary. But muffled hearing can also be an indication that a more severe hearing problem is occurring. Partly, that’s because, outside of sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is usually not a condition that develops suddenly. Symptoms appear gradually 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 are developing long-term hearing loss. Each year millions of people experience muffled hearing.

You may be wondering: when do I need to 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 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.

Muffled Hearing – what exactly is it?

When sound can’t move through your outer, middle, and inner ear in a normal way, your hearing can sound muffled. A very noticeable decrease in sound fidelity is the result. Hearing won’t be entirely gone with muffled hearing but things will sound distorted and quieter. 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 have a cold you might experience this feeling. This plugged feeling, however, doesn’t always come with muffled hearing.

What causes muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing can be caused by a wide variety of issues. Figuring out the root cause of your muffled hearing can be significant in developing an effective treatment plan. Some of the most prevalent causes of muffled hearing include the following:

  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from chronic hearing and balance issues. Over time, this disease can cause tinnitus, loss of hearing (often starting with muffled hearing), and dizziness or loss of balance. There is no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be treated.
  • Age-related hearing loss: As you get older, your hearing can decline as a result of natural causes. After all, there are few senses as acute when you are 80 as when you are 18. This normal decline in your ability to hear can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Travel: The changing air pressure associated with air travel can frequently cause a plugged feeling in the ear, accompanied by muffled hearing. Your hearing will go back to normal rather quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is generally a helpful thing. The health of your ear canal depends on the production of earwax. However, too much earwax can eventually cause muffled hearing (or even hearing loss). Try a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen the wax up. Never attempt to free stuck earwax with a cotton swab which will only push the wax further up into the ear canal. We can help if the problem persists.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: In some cases, muffled hearing can be the outcome of noise-related hearing loss. Sadly, this kind of hearing loss is normally irreversible. One of the earliest noticeable symptoms is muffled hearing; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has most likely already occurred. If you don’t seek out treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.
  • Infection: Inflammation of the ear canal will frequently accompany issues like ear infections or sinus infections. This inflammation can cause your ear canal to be completely blocked, effectively decreasing your ability to hear. Once the underlying infection clears, any swelling it caused should also clear.

Depending on the underlying cause, the precise symptoms of muffled hearing will differ.

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Some types of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The treatment for your muffled hearing will differ depending on the underlying cause. We may use some special tools to help clear out your ear canal if, for instance, earwax buildup is at the root of your muffled hearing. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

Symptom management is usually the approach when you’re dealing with sensorineural hearing loss as opposed to a cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. However, symptoms can be controlled. This may take a number of forms, but the most prevalent is the use of a set of hearing aids so that you can bring clarity to what you hear.

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

Avoiding muffled hearing

No matter what you do, certain forms of muffled hearing can’t be avoided. Infections, for instance, can’t always be avoided.

However, in most cases, routine hearing tests can help you steer clear of many of the causes of muffled hearing and identify any permanent hearing loss early. 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.