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

Muffled hearing can happen for a wide variety of reasons. In most cases, this situation is short-term. But muffled hearing can also be a sign that a more serious hearing problem is occurring. That’s because, for the most part, hearing loss is a slowly developing condition. Symptoms build gradually and over time.

One of the first symptoms of slowly advancing long-term hearing loss is the feeling that your hearing is muffled. Muffled hearing, however, isn’t always an indication that you’re developing permanent hearing loss. Indeed, millions of individuals experience muffled hearing each year.

You may be wondering: when should I be concerned about muffled hearing? Generally, the answer tends to vary. Finding the best treatment for your muffled hearing depends on recognizing the underlying cause. Prompt solutions can sometimes help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least reduce possible damage. You will be able to get back to enjoying the sounds of your life after you get us to assist you with some successful treatments.

Muffled Hearing – what exactly is it?

Muffled hearing occurs when sound is not able to travel through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it normally does. This results in a noticeable decrease in sound quality. In the majority of cases, individuals with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but things sound quieter or jumbled. This may especially impact your ability to hear 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 have a cold you might experience this feeling. Muffled hearing isn’t always combined with this feeling, however.

What causes muffled hearing?

There are a lot of potential causes of muffled hearing. Identifying the underlying cause of your muffled hearing can be important in developing an effective treatment plan. Here are several of the most common causes:

  • Travel: Altitude changes, such as when you’re on a plane, can cause a feeling of muffled ears. In most instances, this feeling will pass rapidly and your hearing will go back to normal.
  • Infection: In some cases, issues like infections (including sinus infections or ear infections) can result in inflammation in the ear canal (this is especially true with ear infections). This will decrease your hearing ability by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Muffled hearing symptoms due to infections will normally clear up once the root illness has been dealt with.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: In some cases, muffled hearing can be the result of noise-related hearing loss. This form 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 occurred by the time you detect the distorted sounds. If you don’t seek out treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.
  • Hearing loss associated with age: Most people will experience decreasing hearing as they get older. Needless to say, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less acute than when you were 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the outcome of this natural diminishing of your ability to hear.
  • Earwax buildup: Normally, earwax is a good thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. But muffled hearing (and in some cases even hearing loss) can be the result of too much earwax. This earwax can usually be loosened up by utilizing a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. Never try to free stuck earwax by using a cotton swab which will only pack the wax further up into the ear canal. We can help if the problem persists.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from persistent hearing and balance issues. Dizziness, balance issues, tinnitus, and muffled ears will develop over time as a result of this disease. There’s no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be managed.

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

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Some forms of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The underlying cause of your muffled hearing will determine the treatment method. For instance, if excessive earwax buildup is the primary cause, we may use specific tools to help you clear out your ear canal. Muffled hearing caused by an ear infection will usually clear up once the infection has been managed, so antibiotics are often prescribed.

Symptom management is usually the strategy when you have sensorineural hearing loss as opposed to a cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can’t be cured. However, symptoms can be controlled. There may be several approaches to this treatment including a set of hearing aids.

Hearing aids can help you remain connected to loved ones and tackle your daily activities without a significantly noticeable effect, particularly when this process is initiated promptly.

Avoiding muffled hearing

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

However, in most instances, regular hearing tests can help you avoid 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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