Why Am I Experiencing Muffled Hearing?

Hearing is one of our five valuable senses and if suddenly you couldn’t hear sounds or voices clearly, you would obviously be upset. You notice others with hearing aids and now you wonder if that will be you soon. Let’s investigate why you might be experiencing muffled hearing.

Other Symptoms With Muffled Hearing

In addition to straining to hear conversations or not deciphering important sounds like a fire truck or police car while driving, there are other symptoms you may notice with muffled hearing.

You may have some pain, a sensation there is cotton in your ear, a discharge, a feeling of fullness, or ringing in the ears.

Simple Causes

There are certain causes of muffled hearing that can be short term and easily treated at home or by a specialist at Surgical Associates Northwest.

Earwax Buildup

 woman with hearing problem on color background

Earwax may help our ears to function properly by keeping dust and debris from entering our inner ear, but it can also be a problem. It affects the ear canal and can increase muffled hearing.

It is never recommended to use cotton buds or to insert anything in your ears for cleaning. There are safe products on the market, or you can see a specialist if the buildup is severe.

Sinus Infections And Allergies

Sinus infections can cause issues with hearing when nasal passages become inflamed and swollen. Allergies can occur with a sinus infection and affect hearing.

The Common Cold

A simple cold can affect our hearing. This short term problem usually subsides when the congestion clears up.

Swimmer’s Ear

In this case the ear becomes clogged with too much water and dead skin usually due to overexposure to water, as the name implies.

More Complicated Causes Of Muffled Hearing

These causes can sometimes be cared for at home, but most will need an ENT specialist to treat them. They may be short term issues or become a chronic problem.


Certain meds like antibiotics, diuretics, chemotherapy, and even anti-inflammatory OTC meds all can mess with your hearing. These symptoms can also be accompanied by vertigo.


This annoying issue can certainly affect your hearing. The ringing, buzzing, and hissing can be short term, but if it continues, see Surgical Associates Northwest.

Ear Infections

Usually from bacteria or fungi, ear infections cause swelling and inflammation. This makes drainage of fluid more difficult in the middle ear leading to muffled hearing.

Noise Induced Muffled Hearing

Many of us have been to loud concerts causing hearing issues right after. This is known as acoustic trauma. It can be mild and short term or be severe and become chronic.


This medical term refers to age-related hearing loss. There isn’t much we can do about this ourselves. It’s best to see a specialist or audiologist. Hearing aids may be helpful.

More Serious Causes Of Muffled Ear

There are several serious causes of muffled ear.

Among them are:

  • Meneire’s Disease is a disorder of the inner ear that can cause permanent damage. In addition to muffled hearing, other symptoms include vertigo, ringing in the ears, and pressure.
  • A tumor within the ear will lead to loss of balance, vertigo, facial numbness and ringing in the ears.
  • A cancerous lump on the neck can be the cause of muffled hearing.
  • A head trauma or brain injury can damage the bones within the ear accompanied with headaches, dizziness, and loss of consciousness.

If your hearing begins to deteriorate all at once or slowly, seek the care of the ENT specialists at Surgical Associates Northwest for answers.

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 If you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (253) 833-4050 or request an appointment online today.

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