Muffled Hearing: Causes and Remedies

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

One of the first symptoms of slowly advancing long-term hearing loss is the feeling that your hearing is muffled. However, it’s essential to point out that muffled hearing in and of itself isn’t always a sign of permanent hearing loss. Indeed, millions of individuals experience muffled hearing each year.

You may be wondering: when should I be worried about muffled hearing? Generally, the answer varies. Finding the correct treatment for your muffled hearing depends on understanding the root cause. Added damage can be prevented and your hearing can get back to normal with some prompt solutions. Contacting us for a consultation can help you begin this process, typically leading to successful treatments, so you can keep enjoying the sounds of your day-to-day life.

Muffled Hearing – what exactly is it?

Muffled hearing takes place when sound is not able to travel through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it usually does. A very noticeable decrease in sound fidelity is the outcome. In the majority of cases, those with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but everything sounds quieter or jumbled. Discerning speech and language can be especially challenging.

In many instances, and depending on the underlying cause, muffled hearing can be associated with a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Many individuals have experienced this feeling temporarily, for example, when they have a cold or are flying. Muffled hearing is not always accompanied by this feeling, however.

What causes muffled hearing?

There are lots of potential causes of muffled hearing. Identifying the underlying cause of your muffled hearing can be essential in developing an effective treatment plan. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Hearing loss associated with age: Most people will experience decreasing hearing as they get older. After all, there are few senses as acute when you are 80 as when you are 18. This normal decline in your hearing ability can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Travel: Altitude changes, such as when you’re on a plane, can lead to a feeling of muffled ears. Your hearing will go back to normal relatively quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a chronic balance and hearing issue. Over time, this disease can cause tinnitus, loss of hearing (often beginning with muffled hearing), and dizziness or loss of balance. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be treated but not cured.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is generally a helpful thing. The health of your ear canal depends on the production of earwax. However, excessive earwax can eventually cause muffled hearing (or even hearing loss). Try a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen the wax up. Never try to dislodge stuck earwax by using a cotton swab which will only pack the wax further up into the ear canal. If the issue persists, come in and talk to us.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: In some cases, muffled hearing can be the consequence of noise-related hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is, regrettably, usually irreversible. One of the earliest noticeable symptoms is muffled hearing; but damage to your stereocilia has usually already happened by the time you detect the distorted sounds. You should seek out treatment rapidly to avoid your hearing getting substantially worse quickly.
  • 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. Muffled hearing symptoms due to infections will normally clear up after the root illness has been dealt with.

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

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing can be cured. The treatment for your muffled hearing will change depending on the base cause. For instance, if excessive earwax buildup is the primary cause, we may use specific tools to help you clear out your ear canal. 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 rather than a complete cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. But it is possible to control symptoms. There might be several strategies to this treatment including a set of hearing aids.

With hearing aids, you can continue to enjoy your daily activities without hearing loss impacting 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.

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


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