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 most instances, this situation is temporary. But muffled hearing can also be a sign that a more serious hearing problem is occurring. That’s because, in general, hearing loss is a slowly developing condition. Symptoms show up slowly over a long time period.

One of the first symptoms of gradually progressing long-term hearing loss is the sense that your hearing is muffled. Muffled hearing, however, isn’t necessarily a sign that you’re developing long-term hearing loss. Indeed, millions of people experience muffled hearing each year.

Perhaps you’re wondering if you should be concerned about your muffled hearing. The answer depends on various factors. Understanding the root cause of your muffled hearing is critical to finding the right treatment approach. Additional damage can be avoided and your hearing can get back to normal with some quick 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.

Muffled Hearing – what exactly is it?

Muffled hearing happens when sound is not able to travel through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it usually does. A rather noticeable decrease in sound quality is the outcome. In most instances, individuals with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but everything sounds quieter or jumbled. This may especially impact your ability to discern and understand voices and spoken language.

Your ears will frequently also feel plugged up when your hearing is muffled. Many people have experienced this feeling for a short time, for instance, when they have a cold or are taking a flight. Muffled hearing is not always accompanied by this feeling, however.

Causes of muffled hearing

Muffled hearing can be caused by all kinds of problems. In order to establish the appropriate course of treatment, it’s important to establish the root cause. Some of the most common causes of muffled hearing include the following:

  • Sensorineural hearing loss: In some cases, muffled hearing can be the result of noise-related hearing loss. Unfortunately, this form of hearing loss is usually permanent. One of the earliest recognizable symptoms is muffled hearing; but damage to your stereocilia has likely already happened by the time you detect the distorted sounds. You should find treatment promptly to avoid your hearing getting considerably worse quickly.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a chronic balance and hearing issue. Dizziness, balance issues, tinnitus, and muffled ears will manifest over time because of this disease. There is no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be managed.
  • Infection: Swelling of the ear canal will often come with issues such as ear infections or sinus infections. This will decrease your ability to hear by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Once the base infection clears, any inflammation it caused should also clear.
  • Age-related hearing loss: As you get older, your hearing can decline due to natural causes. After all, there are few senses as sharp when you are 80 as when you are 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the result of this normal diminishing of your hearing.
  • Earwax buildup: Usually, earwax is a good thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. However, excessive earwax can eventually cause muffled hearing (or even loss of hearing). This earwax can usually 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 issue worse. If the issue persists, come in and talk to us.
  • Travel: The changing air pressure associated with air travel can often cause a plugged feeling in the ear, accompanied by muffled hearing. Your hearing will go back to normal fairly quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.

Depending on the underlying cause, the exact symptoms of muffled hearing will differ.

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing can be cured. The root cause of your muffled hearing will determine the treatment strategy. For example, if excess earwax buildup is the primary cause, we might use specific tools to help you clean out your ear canal. Antibiotics are typically prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

Symptom management is generally the approach when you have sensorineural hearing loss rather than a cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can not be reversed. However, symptoms can be managed. This may take a number of forms, but the most prevalent is using a set of hearing aids so that you can bring clarity to what you hear.

Hearing aids can help you remain connected to loved ones and go about your day-to-day activities without a significantly noticeable impact, particularly when this process is initiated promptly.

Avoiding muffled hearing

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

Getting your hearing examined, however, can help identify any causes of muffled hearing and can help prevent any long-term hearing loss that might 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.