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. In the majority of instances, this condition is temporary. But muffled hearing can also be a sign that a more serious hearing problem is happening. Partly, that’s because, outside of sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is usually not a condition that progresses suddenly. Symptoms develop slowly and over time.

In many cases, one of the first detectable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. Muffled hearing, however, isn’t necessarily an indication that you’re developing long-term hearing loss. Indeed, millions of individuals experience muffled hearing every year.

You may be wondering: when should I be concerned about muffled hearing? Generally, the answer varies. Understanding the root cause of your muffled hearing is crucial to finding the correct treatment plan. Prompt solutions can in some cases help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least reduce possible harm. Contacting us for a consultation can help you start this process, often resulting in successful treatments, so you can keep enjoying the sounds of your everyday life.

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. This results in a noticeable decrease in sound quality. Hearing won’t be completely gone with muffled hearing but things will sound garbled and quieter. Hearing speech and language can be particularly tough.

In many cases, and depending on the root cause, muffled hearing can be accompanied by a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Many people have experienced this feeling temporarily, for instance, when they have a cold or are flying. Muffled hearing isn’t always accompanied by this feeling, however.

What causes muffled hearing?

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

  • Travel: The changing altitude associated with air travel can frequently cause a plugged feeling in the ear, followed closely by muffled hearing. In most cases, this feeling will pass rapidly and your normal hearing will be restored.
  • Infection: Sometimes, issues such as infections (including sinus infections or ear infections) can cause swelling in the ear canal (this is particularly true with ear infections). This will reduce your hearing ability by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Muffled hearing symptoms due to infections will typically go away once the root illness has been treated.
  • Hearing loss associated with age: As you age, your hearing can diminish as a result of natural causes. Needless to say, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less sharp than when you were 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the result of this natural diminishing of your ability to hear.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a chronic balance and hearing problem. Dizziness, balance issues, tinnitus, and muffled ears will manifest over time because of this disease. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be managed but not cured.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss caused by noise-related damage can sometimes result in muffled hearing. Unfortunately, this kind of hearing loss is normally permanent. Muffled hearing is frequently one of the first detectable symptoms; but by the time you detect the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has probably already happened. You should find treatment promptly to avoid your hearing getting substantially worse quickly.
  • Earwax buildup: Usually, earwax is a positive thing. The health of your ear canal relies on the production of earwax. However, too much earwax can ultimately cause muffled hearing (or even hearing loss). Try a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen the wax up. Never attempt to dislodge stuck earwax with a cotton swab which will only pack the wax further up into the ear canal. If the issue lingers, come in and see us.

Depending on the root cause, the precise symptoms of muffled hearing will vary.

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Some types of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The treatment for your muffled hearing will differ depending on the underlying cause. We may use some special 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 usually clear up once the infection has been addressed, so antibiotics are often prescribed.

In terms of sensorineural hearing loss, the emphasis changes to symptom management instead of a complete cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can’t be reversed. But it is possible to control symptoms. 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 stay connected to loved ones and go about your daily activities without a substantially noticeable effect, especially when this process is initiated quickly.

How to steer clear of muffled hearing in the first place

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

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 quickly.

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment

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.
Why wait? You don't have to live with hearing loss. Call Us Today