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.

There are a large number of reasons for muffled hearing. For most individuals, it’s a short-term experience. In other cases, muffled hearing can be a harbinger of more serious hearing-related issues. 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. However, it’s significant to mention that muffled hearing in and of itself isn’t always an indication of long-term hearing loss. Every year millions of people experience muffled hearing.

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 recognizing the underlying 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. A very noticeable reduction in sound fidelity is the result. Hearing won’t be totally gone with muffled hearing but things will sound distorted and quieter. Discerning speech and language can be particularly challenging.

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

Causes of muffled hearing

There are lots of possible causes of muffled hearing. In order to develop the appropriate course of treatment, it’s important to figure out the root cause. Some of the most prevalent causes of muffled hearing include the following:

  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a long-term balance and hearing issue. Over time, this disease can trigger tinnitus, loss of hearing (frequently starting with muffled hearing), and dizziness or loss of balance. There’s no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be treated.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is generally a helpful thing. The health of your ear canal depends on the production of earwax. However, excessive earwax can ultimately cause muffled hearing (or even loss of hearing). This earwax can typically be loosened up by using a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. Never attempt to dislodge stuck earwax by using a cotton swab which will only push the wax further up into the ear canal. If the problem continues, come in and see us.
  • Infection: Swelling of the ear canal will often accompany issues like ear infections or sinus infections. This will decrease your ability to hear by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Muffled hearing symptoms due to infections will normally clear up after the underlying illness has been treated.
  • Travel: Altitude changes, like when you’re on a plane, can lead to a feeling of muffled ears. Your hearing will go back to normal rather quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Hearing loss related to age: Most people will experience decreasing hearing as they get older. After all, there are few senses as acute when you are 80 as they were when you are 18. This natural decline in your ability to hear can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss which results from noise damage can sometimes cause muffled hearing. Unfortunately, this kind of hearing loss is normally irreversible. One of the first recognizable symptoms is muffled hearing; but damage to your stereocilia has likely already occurred by the time you detect the distorted sounds. If you don’t seek out treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.

The precise symptoms of muffled hearing will differ depending on the base cause.

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

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

Symptom management is generally the approach when you’re dealing with sensorineural hearing loss rather than a cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. But it is possible to manage symptoms. There may be several strategies to this treatment including a set of hearing aids.

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

How to steer clear of muffled hearing in the first place

Some types of muffled hearing are difficult to avoid, no matter what. Infections, for instance, can’t always be avoided.

Having your hearing tested, however, can help detect any causes of muffled hearing and can help avoid any long-term hearing loss that may be developing. 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.