Echo in Ear? Possible Causes and Treatments

Concerned Asian woman pressing her ear.

Have you experienced a hollow echo sound in an ear? Most people have had an echo-in-ear episode, where sounds are muffled, or it seems like you have double hearing. There are several possible causes of echoing in the ear – determining the cause can help you find the right treatment to restore normal hearing.

When you hear an echo in your ear when you talk, or all sounds are muffled, there may be something interfering with the processing of sound. There are many factors that affect what you hear, especially if any of these elements are inside the ear. Fluids, ear wax, growths and other elements can all disrupt sound.

Sound waves enter the outer ear and travel to the ear drum, then into the middle and inner ear. If any of these areas have blockages or injuries, it can impact what you hear. If you have double hearing or it sounds like you are in a canyon with an echo-in-ear sensation, you may need to have your ears checked.

Causes of Echoing in Ear

The most common cause of double hearing or echoing in your ear or ears is wax buildup. The wax can cause a small blockage that makes it sound like you have cotton balls in your ears. Some people may also experience a feeling of pressure or even pain when there is too much ear wax in their ears.

Beyond ear wax, there are other possible causes when you have a hollow echo sound in ear or ears. If your ears are clean but you still hear echoing or a feeling of fullness inside your ears, the following may be contributing to your double hearing.

Ear or Sinus Infection
Infections in the sinuses or the ears can result in the sensation of muffled or echo sounds in the ears. The swelling and fluids that can accompany these infections can impact sounds traveling through the outer, middle and inner ear.
Allergies
Allergies can trigger mucus and fluid buildup in the sinuses and upper respiratory system. This can cause muffling, echoing and hearing loss when the buildup is extreme.
Injuries
Injury to the head or ears could cause double hearing. Infections, loud noise or head trauma can affect hearing and may result in diplacusis or even hearing loss (presbycusis). You may hear sounds at a higher pitch or as an echo due to injuries inside the ear. This should be examined by a doctor.
Tumors
While it is more likely that the previous causes are affecting your hearing, it is possible that a tumor is the cause of a hollow echo sound in ear. Acoustic neuroma is a tumor that can grow near the nerves that connect the ears to the brain – pressure on the nerve from the tumor can create an echo-in-ear effect.
Hearing Aids
For those who recently received hearing aids, double hearing is very common. It can take some time to become adjusted to the new way of hearing. Make sure the devices are fitted correctly and see your doctor if the echo in ear continues for more than a few weeks.

Does Tinnitus Go Away?

Did you know that up to 20% of the population can be affected by tinnitus, or ringing in the ears? While it is very common, it can be a very frustrating conditi...Read More

Treatments to Resolve Echoing in Ear

If you experience double hearing, muffled sounds or echoing, the simplest home remedy for echo in ear is cleaning. Ear wax is often the culprit, which can be carefully removed with a cotton swab. If cleaning the ears does not resolve the hearing disruption, you may need different treatments.

For allergies and infections, treatment for these conditions can improve your hearing. Once the swelling and excess fluids are controlled, the pressure and blockages in the middle or inner ear will lessen and the echoing should dissipate.

A home remedy for echo-in-ear caused by a mild ear infection or irritation is warm oil mixed with garlic or clove oil. Adding a few drops in each ear twice a day can help relieve swelling and naturally overcome the infection.

If your echo-in-ear symptoms continue after cleaning and you are not experiencing symptoms of infections or allergies, you should see a doctor. You may have damage to one of the components in your ear or other conditions that are impacting how your brain processes sounds.

In the rare instance that a growth or tumor is causing the echoing sound in your ears, you may need surgery to remove the growth. Most tumors in this area, like the acoustic neuroma, are benign and slow growing, but they can impact your hearing and cause damage to the nerves.
A doctor examining woman's ear.
In most instances, an echo-in-ear sensation is a side effect of ear wax but may be from other blockages like fluid or swelling inside the ear. If your home remedy for echo in the ear is ineffective, contact your doctor for further diagnosis. You may need a thorough examination to determine the cause and treatment.