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Muffled Hearing Loss in One Ear: What does this mean?

Muffled Hearing Loss Treatments and Causes

If you’ve noticed that one or both of your ears suddenly feels muffled or clogged, you may be wondering what caused it or how to handle the sensation. These symptoms occur when sound waves have difficulty passing through the canals of your inner ears.

It may feel similar to having cotton in your ears, but it is also quite frustrating due to the loss of ability to hear sounds the way you ordinarily would. The inability to hear others when they speak or be aware of important everyday noises can impact your daily life in a negative way. 

Sometimes, the sensation occurs in situations such as hiking on tall mountains, sitting in an airplane or even diving underwater. However, if you have not participated in these activities and are still struggling with muffled hearing in one or both ears, it can have another root source. 

Some issues are ones that we encounter each and every day, such as a canal of the ear that has become clogged. If this type of sensation happens to you, don’t panic. It’s quite common and can be a minor problem for most people. To understand the causes and cures for muffled hearing, keep reading or contact your healthcare professional for a check-up on the condition of your ears.

Muffled Hearing Symptoms

After you notice muffled hearing loss in one ear, you may have other symptoms that contribute to your problem. If your ears feel abnormally full, it’s usually the first sign of an issue. 

Some people experience pain or discomfort from their inner ears. Others may even notice discharge. Another common symptom is the sensation of ringing in your ears. Whatever your symptoms may be, if something isn’t quite right with your ears, you may be experiencing temporary muffling and hearing loss.

Babies and young children are not the only ones at risk for ear infections. Adults often contract these infections as well. To notice if your child is having ear issues, you may often want to look out for the common signs, such as fevers, excessive crying, ear drainage, or pulling at the ears

Causes of Muffled Hearing

Simply living your day to day life can cause muffled hearing loss in one ear by clogging the ear canals. Although anyone can develop these symptoms, muffled hearing is often caused by ear disorders that can be either acute or chronic. Some people are at higher risk of developing these disorders than others. Disorders that are acute often are easily healed and go away quite quickly. However, problems that are chronic can become worse over time, and if they persist, you may need to be seen by an ear care specialist for assistance. 

  • Ears that are plugged may be caused by a severe buildup of ear wax. Although ear wax helps our ears function properly by preventing debris from getting into our inner ears, it can also cause issues. A buildup of wax can impact the ear canals and heightens the effect of the muffling sensation and may cause issues with hearing in one or both ears. 
  • A condition known as “swimmers ear” usually happens when ears become clogged with fluids and dead skin due to being overexposed to water and other liquids.
  • Ear infections can be caused by either fungi or bacteria. These are detrimental to our middle ear as well as the outer portion of the ears. They cause swelling and inflammation, which results in less drainage of the fluids in our middle ears. 
  • Sinus infections can also cause issues with your ears. If your hearing loss is accompanied by headaches, coughing, fevers or abnormal fatigue, this may be the root cause.
  • Tinnitus is a condition that causes rings, buzzes, hums or even clicking sensations within your ears. Although these sounds range from temporary to chronic, they are always caused by damaged hair cells within the ear. Tinnitus may cause some of the same symptoms of muffled hearing as other conditions.
  • Medication can also be the primary factor inflicting your hearing. If you take antibiotics, chemotherapy treatments, diuretics, or even aspirin and ibuprofen, you may be impacted. These symptoms may also be accompanied by vertigo and tinnitus.
  • Tumors are very real, but somewhat rare, causes of hearing complications. Some people may develop acoustic neuromas, or benign tumors, on the nerves of their ears. This will also cause balance issues, vertigo, numbness in the face, and ringing sensations in the ears.
  • Meniere’s disease is another root cause of muffled ears. Along with the hearing loss, it may cause pain, vertigo, and tinnitus. Although the cause is still unknown, it can be related to abnormal amounts of fluid in the ears. However, this disease h

For further reading about hearing loss in one ear, check out the causes here.