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

Muffled hearing loss can happen suddenly to anyone in one or both ears temporarily. It happens when sound waves have trouble passing through the inner ear.

The sensation most feel is like having cotton stuffed in your ears. It interferes with your ability to detect sound. Mountain heights, airplane cabins or underwater diving environments can cause unbalanced pressure muffling your hearing.

As for causes, they vary from person to person. Everyday issues are clogged ear canals. In most cases it’s minor. For some cases, it requires medical attention to protect your hearing.

Keep reading. Besides understanding the causes and cures of hearing difficulties, getting a routine hearing check should be part of your health ritual.


Our daily activities are the primary cause of muffled hearing. Although most are normal, some individuals are more prone to developing acute or chronic ear disorders. Acute conditions heal quickly and disappear. Chronic complaints can worsen over an extended period. If the situation hasn’t improved in a few days, it’s time to see an ear specialist.

  • Plugged ears are caused by the buildup of wax intensifying the muffle effect.
  • Swimmers ear generally happens from the presence of fluid or dead skin in the affected ear.
  • Ear infections (fungi or bacteria) affect the outer and middle ear.
  • Age can gradually cause hearing loss (presbycusis).

Health Conditions

Lifestyles play a significant role in what happens to our hearing. A common cold can cause hearing problems due to congestion. Viruses can block the Eustachian tube (auditory tube) obstructing sound.

The first signs can happen slowly. A hearing professional can help to diagnose the cause and explain what you need to do.

  • Eardrum perforations are caused by excessive fluids or sticking a blunt object into the ear.
  • Asymmetric hearing loss can muffle an ear, resulting from infections, pressure on the inner ear nerves, exposure to loud noises (acoustic trauma) or head injuries.
  • Abnormal growths in the ear can cause a buildup of tissue resulting in quietness.

Solutions and Treatments

Most of us are aware when our hearing levels change and rarely do anything about it. Some ear solutions are simple, and self-care works. Others are more serious and required the assistance of a professional or medical practitioner.

  • Ear viruses from colds or bacteria from swimmers ear may clear on its own or need the help of antibiotics.
  • Wax removal solutions can help soften it for removal.

Adults, babies, and children are prone to ear infections, caused by bacteria, viruses, flu, or allergies. Watch for signs. Children usually pull or scratch the ear. Keep a lookout for fevers or drainage.

Any of these situations can impair your hearing. Each condition experiences different levels of muffled hearing. No one cure works for everyone. If you’re not sure what’s happening, talk to your doctor.

Depending on the condition it could go away on its own. Finding the right treatment can help speed up the healing process. If your hearing does not improve, see a doctor.

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