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

There are a large number of reasons for muffled hearing. In the majority of instances, this situation is temporary. But muffled hearing can also be a sign that a more serious hearing issue is occurring. That’s because, in general, hearing loss is a slowly developing condition. Symptoms show up slowly over a long period of time.

Typically, one of the first noticeable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. However, it’s important to point out that muffled hearing in and of itself is not always an indication of long-term hearing loss. Indeed, millions of individuals experience muffled hearing every year.

Perhaps you’re wondering if you should be concerned about your muffled hearing. The answer depends on various factors. Understanding the root cause of your muffled hearing is critical to finding the correct treatment strategy. Prompt solutions can in some cases help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least reduce possible harm. Calling us for a consultation can help you begin this process, typically leading to successful treatments, so you can keep enjoying the sounds of your day-to-day 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 drop in sound quality. In most cases, those with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but things sound quieter or distorted. This may particularly impact your ability to discern and understand voices and spoken language.

Your ears will often also feel clogged up when your hearing is muffled. Sometimes, when you’re on a plane or suffering from a cold you may 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 issues. Figuring out the root cause of your muffled hearing can be important in developing an effective treatment plan. Here are a few of the most prevalent causes:

  • Earwax buildup: Normally, earwax is a good thing. The health of your ear canal relies on the generation of earwax. However, excessive earwax can ultimately cause muffled hearing (or even hearing loss). This earwax can typically be loosened up by using a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide. Do not make use of a cotton swab to attempt to free the earwax, as cotton swabs can compact your earwax and make the issue worse. We can help if the issue continues.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: In some cases, muffled hearing can be the result of noise-related hearing loss. This kind of hearing loss is, unfortunately, generally permanent. Muffled hearing is often one of the earliest detectable symptoms; but damage to your stereocilia has likely already happened by the time you notice the distorted sounds. If you don’t seek out treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from persistent hearing and balance issues. Dizziness, balance problems, tinnitus, and muffled ears will develop over time because of this disease. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be treated but not cured.
  • Age-associated hearing loss: As you age, your hearing can diminish as a result of natural causes. After all, there are few senses as acute when you are 80 as they were when you are 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the result of this natural diminishing of your ability to hear.
  • Travel: Altitude changes, such as when you’re on a plane, can cause a feeling of muffled ears. Your hearing will go back to normal fairly quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Infection: In some cases, issues such as infections (such as sinus infections or ear infections) can cause inflammation in the ear canal (this is particularly true with ear infections). This will reduce your ability to hear by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Muffled hearing symptoms due to infections will usually clear up once the root illness has been dealt with.

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

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing have a cure. The base cause of your muffled hearing will establish the treatment method. We may use some special tools to help clear out your ear canal if, for example, earwax accumulation is at the root of your muffled hearing. Antibiotics are usually prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

Symptom management is usually the strategy when you’re dealing with sensorineural hearing loss rather than a cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can not be cured. But it is possible to manage symptoms. There may be numerous strategies to this treatment including a set of hearing aids.

Hearing aids can help you stay connected to loved ones and go about your daily activities without a substantially noticeable effect, especially when this process is initiated promptly.

Avoiding muffled hearing

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

Having your hearing examined, however, can help identify any causes of muffled hearing and can help avoid any long-term hearing loss that might be developing. Contact us for an appointment right away.

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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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