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.

Muffled hearing can present for a large number of reasons. In most cases, this situation is short-term. In other instances, muffled hearing can be a harbinger of more significant hearing-related problems. That’s because, in general, hearing loss is a gradually developing condition. Symptoms develop slowly and over time.

In many cases, 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 permanent hearing loss. Indeed, millions of individuals experience muffled hearing every year.

You may be wondering: when do I need to be concerned about muffled hearing? The answer depends on a number of factors. Recognizing the root cause of your muffled hearing is essential to finding the correct treatment strategy. Timely solutions can sometimes help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least reduce possible harm. 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 reduction in sound quality is the outcome. Hearing won’t be completely gone with muffled hearing but things will sound distorted and quieter. Hearing speech and language can be especially challenging.

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. Muffled hearing isn’t always accompanied by this feeling, however.

What causes muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing can be caused by all kinds of problems. In order to establish the correct course of treatment, it’s important to establish the root cause. Here are some of the most prevalent causes:

  • Travel: The changing altitude associated with air travel can often cause a feeling of fullness in the ear, followed closely by muffled hearing. In most instances, this feeling will pass rapidly and your normal hearing will be restored.
  • Earwax buildup: Normally, earwax is a positive 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 too much earwax. Try a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen things up. 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. If the issue persists, come in and see us.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Sometimes, muffled hearing can be the result of noise-related hearing loss. This form of hearing loss is, unfortunately, usually irreversible. Muffled hearing is frequently one of the very first detectable symptoms; but damage to your stereocilia has likely already occurred by the time you notice the distorted sounds. If you don’t seek out treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from chronic hearing and balance issues. Over time, this disease can cause tinnitus, hearing loss (frequently beginning with muffled hearing), and dizziness or loss of balance. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be treated but not cured.
  • Infection: Sometimes, problems like infections (such as sinus infections or ear infections) can result in inflammation in the ear canal (this is especially true with ear infections). This will decrease your ability to hear by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Once the underlying infection goes away, any inflammation it caused should also clear.
  • Age-related hearing loss: Most individuals will experience diminishing hearing as they age. Obviously, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less sharp than when you were 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the outcome of this natural decline of your ability to hear.

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

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Some forms of muffled hearing can’t 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 example, earwax buildup is at the root of your muffled hearing. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

In terms of sensorineural hearing loss, the emphasis changes to symptom management as opposed to a complete cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. However, symptoms can be controlled. There may be numerous strategies to this treatment including a set of hearing aids.

With hearing aids, you can keep enjoying your daily activities without hearing loss effecting your quality of life.

Avoiding muffled hearing

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

However, in most instances, routine hearing tests can help you steer clear of many of the causes of muffled hearing and detect 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.

Stop struggling to hear conversations. Come see us today. Call or Text