Woman in pain for tinnitus, sound and noise problem. Healthcare, pressure and hearing loss with girl suffering with muffled hearing.

There are a wide variety of reasons for muffled hearing. For most individuals, it’s a temporary experience. In other instances, muffled hearing can be a harbinger of more serious hearing-related issues. Partly, that’s because, outside of sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is usually not a condition that progresses suddenly. Symptoms progress gradually and over time.

One of the first symptoms of slowly progressing long-term hearing loss is the feeling that your hearing is muffled. However, it’s essential to mention that muffled hearing in and of itself isn’t always an indication of long-term hearing loss. Indeed, millions of people experience muffled hearing each year.

Maybe you’re wondering if you should be concerned about your muffled hearing. The answer depends on a number of factors. Understanding the root cause of your muffled hearing is crucial to finding the correct treatment plan. Additional damage can be prevented and your hearing can get back to normal with some quick solutions. Calling us for a consultation can help you start this process, often resulting in successful treatments, so you can keep enjoying the sounds of your everyday life.

What is muffled hearing?

When sound can’t travel through your outer, middle, and inner ear in a normal way, your hearing can sound muffled. This leads to a noticeable decrease in sound quality. Hearing won’t be entirely gone with muffled hearing but things will sound distorted and quieter. This may particularly impact your ability to hear and understand voices and spoken language.

In many cases, and depending on the root cause, muffled hearing can be accompanied by a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Sometimes, when you’re on a plane or have a cold you might experience this feeling. This plugged feeling, however, doesn’t always come with muffled hearing.

Causes of muffled hearing

Muffled hearing can be caused by all kinds of problems. In order to establish the appropriate course of treatment, it’s essential to establish the root cause. Here are several of the most prevalent causes:

  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss which results from noise damage can sometimes bring about muffled hearing. This kind of hearing loss is, unfortunately, usually irreversible. Muffled hearing is frequently one of the first detectable symptoms; but damage to your stereocilia has likely already happened by the time you detect the distorted sounds. You should seek out treatment promptly to avoid your hearing growing substantially worse quickly.
  • Travel: The changing altitude related to air travel can frequently cause a feeling of fullness in the ear, accompanied by muffled hearing. Your hearing will go back to normal fairly quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a long-term balance and hearing issue. Dizziness, balance problems, tinnitus, and muffled ears will manifest over time due to this disease. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be treated but not cured.
  • Age-associated hearing loss: As you get older, your hearing can diminish as a result of natural causes. Needless to say, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less sharp than when you were 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the outcome of this natural diminishing of your ability to hear.
  • Infection: In some cases, problems like infections (such as sinus infections or ear infections) can cause inflammation in the ear canal (this is especially true with ear infections). This swelling can cause your ear canal to be completely blocked, effectively decreasing your ability to hear. Once the root infection clears, any inflammation it caused should also clear.
  • Earwax buildup: Usually, earwax is a good thing. The health of your ear canal relies on the production of earwax. But muffled hearing (and in some circumstances even hearing loss) can be the consequence of too much earwax. This earwax can typically be loosened up by utilizing a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. Do not utilize a cotton swab to try to dislodge the earwax, as cotton swabs can condense your earwax and make the problem worse. If the problem persists, come in and see us.

The exact symptoms of muffled hearing will differ depending on the root cause.

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Some forms of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The treatment for your muffled hearing will change depending on the underlying cause. We may use some special tools to help clean out your ear canal if, for instance, earwax accumulation is at the root of your muffled hearing. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

In terms of sensorineural hearing loss, the emphasis changes to symptom management rather than a complete cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. But it is possible to control symptoms. There may be numerous strategies to this treatment including a set of hearing aids.

Hearing aids can help you remain connected to loved ones and go about your day-to-day activities without a substantially noticeable effect, especially when this process is started quickly.

How to steer clear of muffled hearing in the first place

No matter what you do, some forms of muffled hearing can’t be prevented. For example, ear infections and sinus infections are hard to reliably avoid.

Having your hearing examined, however, can help identify any causes of muffled hearing and can help avoid any long-term hearing loss that may be developing. These examinations can help you stay on top of your hearing health and get treatment quickly.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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