Muffled Hearing: Causes and Treatment Options

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 the majority of cases, this situation is temporary. But muffled hearing can also be a sign that a more severe hearing problem is happening. In part, that’s because, aside from sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is typically not a condition that progresses suddenly. Symptoms develop gradually over a long period of time.

Typically, one of the first detectable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. However, it’s essential to mention that muffled hearing in and of itself isn’t always an indication of long-term hearing loss. Each year millions of people experience muffled hearing.

You might be wondering: when do I need to be concerned about muffled hearing? Generally, the answer varies. Finding the best treatment for your muffled hearing depends on understanding the root cause. Added damage can be avoided and your hearing can get back to normal with some quick solutions. Calling us for a consultation can help you begin this process, typically resulting in successful treatments, so you can keep enjoying the sounds of your day-to-day life.

What is muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing takes place when sound is not able to move through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it ordinarily does. This leads to a noticeable drop in sound quality. In the majority of cases, those with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but everything sounds quieter or jumbled. This may particularly affect your ability to hear and understand voices and spoken language.

In many instances, and depending on the underlying cause, muffled hearing can be combined with a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Sometimes, when you’re on a plane or have a cold you might experience this feeling. This plugged feeling, however, doesn’t always come with muffled hearing.

Causes of muffled hearing

There are a lot of possible causes of muffled hearing. In order to formulate the suitable course of treatment, it’s important to figure out the root cause. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is usually a helpful thing. The health of your ear canal relies on the production of earwax. But muffled hearing (and in some instances even hearing loss) can be the result of excess earwax. This earwax can typically be loosened up by utilizing a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide. Do not utilize a cotton swab to try to dislodge the earwax, as cotton swabs can condense your earwax and make the problem worse. We can help if the problem continues.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a chronic balance and hearing issue. Dizziness, balance issues, tinnitus, and muffled ears will manifest over time due to this disease. There’s no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be managed.
  • Travel: The changing altitude associated with air travel can frequently cause a feeling of fullness in the ear, followed closely by muffled hearing. In most instances, this feeling will go away rapidly and your normal hearing will be restored.
  • Infection: In some cases, problems such as infections (such as sinus infections or ear infections) can cause swelling in the ear canal (this is particularly true with ear infections). This swelling can cause your ear canal to be completely blocked, effectively diminishing your ability to hear. Once the root infection clears, any swelling it caused should also clear.
  • Age-related hearing loss: As you get older, your hearing can decline as a result of natural causes. Obviously, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less sharp than when you were 18. This natural diminishing in your hearing ability can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: In some cases, muffled hearing can be the consequence of noise-related hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is, regrettably, generally irreversible. 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. You should seek out treatment promptly to avoid your hearing getting substantially worse quickly.

The exact symptoms of muffled hearing will vary depending on the underlying cause.

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing can be cured. The base cause of your muffled hearing will determine the treatment method. We might use some specialized tools to help clear out your ear canal if, for instance, earwax accumulation is at the root of your muffled hearing. Muffled hearing caused by an ear infection will typically clear up once the infection has been addressed, so antibiotics are often prescribed.

Symptom management is generally the strategy 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 might take several forms, but the most common is using a set of hearing aids in order to bring clarity to what you hear.

Hearing aids can help you remain connected to loved ones and tackle your daily activities without a significantly noticeable impact, particularly when this process is started promptly.

How to steer clear of muffled hearing in the first place

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

Having your hearing examined, however, can help identify any causes of muffled hearing and can help prevent any long-term hearing loss that may be developing. These examinations 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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