Muffled Hearing in Ear

Muffled hearing is like hearing sounds with cotton balls in your ears. You may also have a sensation similar to the pressure your ears feel when flying on an airplane. Muffled hearing in one ear symptoms is the same as both ears. You may also strain to hear others even if you do not have complete hearing loss.

Muffled hearing happens when sound waves have difficulty passing through the inner ear. This clogged ear can be due to various factors. There is not much damage in some cases, and it can be resolved quickly, while others may require medical attention to protect your hearing.


Muffled hearing in one or both ears is not only characterized by a sensation of cotton in the ears. You may have other symptoms as well. These are:

  • Pain in the ear
  • Discharge from the ears
  • A feeling of fullness in the ear
  • Ringing in the ear


Muffled hearing in one ear symptoms can be a cause of many conditions. Some of the most prevalent explanations are as follows:

1- Excessive Earwax Buildup

Earwax is good as it prevents dirt and debris from entering the ear canal, and it also serves as a lubricant for the ears. However, excessive earwax is not good, and it can impact one or both ears.

An earwax blockage can be insignificant, but a severe buildup can lead to a muffled hearing. Some common symptoms of an earwax buildup include an earache, extreme pressure, and ringing in the ear.

2- Presbycusis

Presbycusis refers to the gradual hearing loss of high-pitched sounds that happens with age. An individual with this type of muffled hearing may even have difficulty hearing a phone ring. The severity of this type of hearing loss can range from minor to severe. Moreover, trouble hearing when there’s background noise, ringing in the ear, and difficulty hearing a woman’s voice are also the symptoms of presbycusis.

3- Middle Ear Infection

The middle ear infection is a bacterial or viral infection that occurs when the fluid gathers in the middle ear because of a swelling or inflammation in the eustachian tube. The purpose of this tube is to drain the liquid from the middle ear.

Some infections are mild, and they can clear on their own, but others can lead to permanent hearing loss if left untreated. This infection can also cause ear pain and ear drainage. In children, signs of an ear infection include pulling at the ear, crying more than usual, fever, and loss of appetite.

4- Sinusitis or Sinus Infection

A sinus infection takes place when cavities around the nasal passage become sore and swollen. It can lead to sinus drainage due to an infection that can trigger ear congestion and muffled hearing. Common symptoms include a headache, coughing, bad breath, fever, and fatigue. Mild cases of sinusitis do not need a doctor, and it can fade on its own. However, if it does not subside, one should seek medical help.

5- Common Cold

Colds are usually harmless, with clogged ears eradicating once congestion stops. Some other common symptoms of a common cold include a runny nose, coughing, body aches, a low-grade fever, and sore throat. This condition is nothing to be worried about as it will vanish as it completes its cycle.

6- Hay Fever

Allergic rhinitis or hay fever symptoms can mimic those of a cold and sinus infection. Allergies can also cause congestion in your ears, which triggers mild muffles hearing. Further hay fever symptoms include watery, itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, postnasal drip, and fatigue.

7- Tinnitus

Tinnitus is the ringing, buzzing, humming, or clicking sound in the ear that can also cause muffled hearing. These sounds can be temporary or permanent. They occur when sensory hair cells in the inner part of the ear become damaged. Tinnitus can happen with age or due to prolonged exposure to loud noise. Sometimes its causes are unknown. This condition can be mild enough that you barely notice them or loud enough that it would not let you concentrate or sleep.

8- Noise Damage

Hearing loss due to excessive noise exposure or acoustic trauma occurs when there is damage to the auditory nerve. The hearing loss from this may be mild or severe, as well as temporary or permanent. Moreover, this damage can occur after a one-time exposure to loud noise or after repeated exposure.

The severity of this type of hearing loss can range from minor to severe. If you want to learn more about hearing sounds at night or seek expert treatment to manage your issue, you can schedule an appointment with the top ENT doctor via Marham.

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Aqib Saeed

Aqib Saeed is a plant pathologist, medical researcher and a passionate writer who loves to read and enlighten others with his research. His contribution to the university literature has been tremendous and medicinal literature is his area of specialties.

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