Muffled Hearing feels like you have “cotton in your ears” and we bring to you its most common causes. Depending on the reason for muffled hearing, the effect can happen over time or change instantly. It may also occur in one ear or both ears.
The most common reason for muffled hearing is a conductive hearing loss that can be caused by a variety of factors or medical conditions, including a build up of ear wax and ear infections.
In most cases, it is very treatable and doesn't lead to permanent hearing damage. In order for the latter to not occur, the exact reason for the hearing loss should be determined and sufficient measures should be taken so that further or permanent hearing damage is avoided. Alternatively, if you believe you have muffled hearing, try our free online hearing test.
5 Reasons You May Have Muffled Hearing:
There are several widespread reasons for the occurrence of diminished hearing ability that is often perceived as muffled or unclear. In some cases, the sound may appear too quiet or certain frequencies may not be heard at all. Usually, the cause lies in an obstruction in the ear passage, such as an abnormal growth or a collection of fluid or earwax.
1. Earwax compaction - The secretion of earwax from the ear is a natural process and helps for protection from dust and small particles that could damage the sensitive parts of the internal ear. Accumulation of earwax, however, may cause it to harden and thus block the passageway of the sound waves and prevent them from being properly processed. It is advisable to clean the ear regularly with a special earwax removal kit, solution for softening and letting it flow out or consult with a specialist. It is not recommended to use cotton buds or insert any objects in the ear as they may push the earwax deeper and worsen the condition or even perforate the eardrum. It is advisable to clean the ear regularly with a special earwax removal kit, a solution for softening and letting it flow out, or consult with a specialist. It is not recommended to use cotton buds or insert any objects into the ear as they may push earwax deeper and worsen the condition or even perforate the eardrum.
We have a number of products to help with earwax removal including:
2. Otitis Media - Infection of the middle ear or Otitis Media can also cause muffled hearing and damage the ear further. Also known as glue ear, this condition presents a collection of fluid in the middle ear that blocks the sounds transmission to the inner ear. Depending on the consistency and density of the fluid, diminished hearing may vary in severity. In some cases, treatment is not necessary as the ear clears up on its own. However, it is always best to seek professional help and follow the instructions of your medical practitioner.
3. Ear infections - There are multiple types of additional ear infections that can manifest and cause a swelling of the ear canal (swimmer’s ear). They can also be caused by colds or the flu. Inflammation of the ear canal may swell the passage to the inner ear and lead to muffled hearing or blocked up feeling and discomfort. Common viruses can also provoke ear infections and affect the middle ear and its proper conduction of sounds. If the condition is serious, the use of antibiotics may be required.
4. Eardrum perforation - Damage to the eardrum may also be responsible for muffled hearing. It usually occurs after trauma or due to earwax compaction. Treatment should be determined by a specialist and can include surgery or antibiotics.
5. Abnormal growths - A growth in the ear such as a tumour, tissue build up or fluid growth can lead to narrowing of the ear canal and cause problems with hearing. Removal of the growth may be a solution along with a treatment with medicines prescribed by a healthcare professional.
If you think you have, or someone you know has muffled hearing, we suggest you contact your local GP or medical professional for a check-up.
Hearing Direct are one of the world's leading hearing aid specialists, stocking a vast range of hearing aids, amplified phones, and accessories. Your hearing health is important to us and we produce the best advice and offer the most prominent products available to satisfy your listening needs.
If you have any questions, please do contact us and our expert team will do their best to assist you.