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 short-term situation. But muffled hearing can also be a sign that a more severe hearing problem is taking place. That’s because, in general, hearing loss is a slowly progressing condition. Symptoms progress gradually and over time.

One of the earliest symptoms of slowly developing 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 is not always a sign of permanent hearing loss. Indeed, millions of people experience muffled hearing each year.

You may be wondering: when do I need to be concerned about muffled hearing? The answer depends on various factors. Understanding the root cause of your muffled hearing is crucial to finding the correct treatment approach. Prompt solutions can in some cases help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least reduce possible damage. Contacting us for a consultation can help you begin this process, typically leading to successful treatments, so you can continue enjoying the sounds of your everyday life.

What is muffled hearing?

When sound can’t move through your outer, middle, and inner ear in a normal way, your hearing can sound muffled. A very noticeable reduction in sound fidelity is the outcome. Hearing won’t be totally gone with muffled hearing but things will sound distorted and quieter. This might especially affect your ability to hear and understand voices and spoken language.

Your ears will frequently also feel plugged up when your hearing is muffled. Sometimes, when you’re taking a flight or suffering from a cold you might experience this feeling. This clogged feeling, however, doesn’t always come along with muffled hearing.

Causes of muffled hearing

There are lots of possible causes of muffled hearing. In order to establish the appropriate course of treatment, it’s important to figure out the root cause. Here are several of the most common causes:

  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is generally a helpful thing. The health of your ear canal relies on the generation of earwax. But muffled hearing (and in some circumstances even hearing loss) can be the consequence of too much earwax. This earwax can usually be loosened up by using a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide. Never attempt to free stuck earwax with a cotton swab which will only pack the wax further up into the ear canal. We can help if the problem continues.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from chronic hearing and balance issues. Over time, this disease can cause tinnitus, hearing loss (frequently starting with muffled hearing), and dizziness or loss of balance. There is no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be managed.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss caused by noise damage can sometimes cause muffled hearing. Unfortunately, this type of hearing loss is usually permanent. Muffled hearing is frequently one of the earliest noticeable symptoms; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has most likely already occurred. You should seek out treatment rapidly to avoid your hearing growing significantly worse quickly.
  • Age-associated hearing loss: As you age, your hearing can diminish as a result of natural causes. After all, there are few senses as sharp when you are 80 as when you are 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the consequence of this natural diminishing of your hearing.
  • Infection: In some cases, issues like infections (including sinus infections or ear infections) can cause inflammation in the ear canal (this is especially true with ear infections). This will decrease your ability to hear by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Muffled hearing symptoms caused by infections will typically clear up once the root illness has been treated.
  • Travel: Altitude changes, like when you’re on a plane, can cause a feeling of muffled ears. In most instances, this feeling will go away rapidly and your normal hearing will be restored.

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

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Not all forms of muffled hearing have a cure. The treatment for your muffled hearing will differ depending on the base cause. For instance, if excess earwax buildup is the principal cause, we might use specific tools to help you clear out your ear canal. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

In terms of sensorineural hearing loss, the focus changes to symptom management rather than a complete cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. However, symptoms can be controlled. There might be numerous strategies to this treatment including a pair of hearing aids.

With hearing aids, you can keep enjoying your day-to-day activities without hearing loss effecting your quality of life.

How to steer clear of muffled hearing in the first place

Some forms of muffled hearing are hard to avoid, no matter what. Infections, for instance, can’t always be avoided.

However, in most instances, routine hearing tests can help you steer clear of many of the causes of muffled hearing and detect any permanent hearing loss early. These examinations can help you stay on top of your hearing health and get treatment promptly.

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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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