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. For most people, it’s a short-term experience. In other instances, muffled hearing can be a harbinger of more substantial hearing-related issues. That’s because, for the most part, hearing loss is a gradually progressing condition. Symptoms progress slowly and over time.

Typically, one of the first detectable 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. Indeed, millions of people experience muffled hearing each year.

You may be wondering: when should I be worried about muffled hearing? The answer depends on various factors. Finding the right treatment for your muffled hearing depends on recognizing the root cause. Additional damage can be prevented and your hearing can get back to normal with some prompt solutions. You will be able to go back to enjoying the sounds of your life after you get us to assist you with some successful treatments.

What is muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing takes place when sound is unable to travel through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it usually does. This leads to a noticeable decrease in sound quality. Hearing won’t be completely gone with muffled hearing but things will sound distorted and quieter. Discerning speech and language can be particularly difficult.

Your ears will often also feel clogged up when your hearing is muffled. Many individuals have experienced this feeling for a short time, for example, when they have a cold or when they are taking a flight. This clogged feeling, however, doesn’t always come with muffled hearing.

What causes muffled hearing?

There are a lot of possible causes of muffled hearing. Identifying the underlying cause of your muffled hearing can be significant in developing an effective treatment plan. Here are a few of the most common causes:

  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from chronic hearing and balance issues. Over time, this disease can trigger tinnitus, hearing loss (often starting with muffled hearing), and dizziness or loss of balance. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be treated but not cured.
  • Infection: Swelling of the ear canal will often come with issues like 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 swelling it caused should also clear.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Sometimes, muffled hearing can be the consequence of noise-related hearing loss. Regrettably, this form of hearing loss is normally permanent. Muffled hearing is often one of the earliest noticeable symptoms; but damage to your stereocilia has usually already happened by the time you notice the distorted sounds. If you don’t seek out treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.
  • Travel: The changing altitude related to air travel can often cause a feeling of fullness in the ear, accompanied by muffled hearing. Your hearing will go back to normal rather quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Hearing loss associated with age: Most people will experience decreasing hearing as they age. After all, there are few senses as acute when you are 80 as when you are 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the consequence of this normal diminishing of your ability to hear.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is generally a helpful thing. The health of your ear canal depends on the generation of earwax. But muffled hearing (and in some circumstances even hearing loss) can be the consequence of excess earwax. This earwax can typically be loosened up by utilizing a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. Do not make use of a cotton swab to try to dislodge the earwax, as cotton swabs can condense your earwax and make the issue worse. We can help if the issue continues.

The precise symptoms of muffled hearing will vary depending on the root cause.

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing have a cure. The treatment for your muffled hearing will change depending on the underlying 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. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

When it comes to sensorineural hearing loss, the focus changes to symptom management as opposed to a total cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can’t be reversed. But it is possible to manage symptoms. There might be numerous 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 impacting your quality of life.

How to avoid muffled hearing in the first place

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

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