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.

There are a wide variety of reasons for muffled hearing. In most cases, this situation is short-term. But muffled hearing can also be an indication that a more serious hearing problem is happening. That’s because, for the most part, hearing loss is a gradually progressing condition. Symptoms show up 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 an indication that you’re developing permanent hearing loss. Indeed, millions of individuals experience muffled hearing every year.

Maybe you’re wondering if you should be worried about your muffled hearing. Generally, the answer tends to vary. Finding the best treatment for your muffled hearing depends on understanding the underlying cause. Additional damage can be avoided and your hearing can get back to normal with some quick solutions. Contacting us for a consultation can help you begin this process, typically resulting in successful treatments, so you can keep enjoying the sounds of your everyday life.

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 leads to a noticeable decrease in sound quality. Hearing won’t be totally gone with muffled hearing but things will sound distorted and quieter. Hearing speech and language can be particularly tough.

Your ears will frequently also feel plugged up when your hearing is muffled. Sometimes, when you’re taking a flight or suffering from a cold you may experience this feeling. This plugged feeling, however, doesn’t always come along with muffled hearing.

What causes muffled hearing?

There are lots of possible causes of muffled hearing. Identifying the underlying cause of your muffled hearing can be essential in establishing an effective treatment plan. Here are several of the most prevalent causes:

  • Earwax buildup: Normally, earwax is a positive thing. The health of your ear canal relies on the generation of earwax. But muffled hearing (and in some cases even hearing loss) can be the result of excess earwax. This earwax can usually be loosened up by utilizing a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. Do not use a cotton swab to attempt to free the earwax, as cotton swabs can condense your earwax and make the issue worse. If the issue persists, come in and see us.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a chronic balance and hearing problem. Over time, this disease can trigger 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 managed.
  • 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 fairly quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Hearing loss related to age: As you age, your hearing can diminish as a result of natural causes. Needless to say, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less acute than when you were 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the result of this natural decline of your ability to hear.
  • Infection: Swelling of the ear canal will frequently accompany issues such as ear infections or sinus infections. This will decrease your hearing ability by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Once the root infection goes away, any inflammation it caused should also clear.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss caused by noise damage can sometimes bring about muffled hearing. Regrettably, this kind of hearing loss is normally permanent. One of the first noticeable 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.

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 base cause of your muffled hearing will determine the treatment strategy. For example, if excess earwax buildup is the primary cause, we may use specific tools to help you clear out your ear canal. Muffled hearing caused by an ear infection will likely clear up once the infection has been addressed, so antibiotics are usually prescribed.

Symptom management is generally the strategy when you have sensorineural hearing loss as opposed to a cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can’t be reversed. However, symptoms can be controlled. 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 tackle your day-to-day 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 instance, ear infections and sinus infections are hard to reliably avoid.

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.

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