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 large number of reasons. For the majority of individuals, it’s a temporary situation. But muffled hearing can also be a sign that a more severe hearing issue is occurring. Partly, that’s because, aside from sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is usually not a condition that develops suddenly. Symptoms develop slowly over a long period of time.

One of the first symptoms of gradually advancing long-term hearing loss is the feeling that your hearing is muffled. However, it’s important to point out that muffled hearing in and of itself isn’t always a sign of long-term hearing loss. Indeed, millions of people experience muffled hearing every year.

You might be wondering: when should I be worried about muffled hearing? The answer depends on several factors. Understanding the root cause of your muffled hearing is crucial to finding the correct treatment strategy. Prompt solutions can sometimes 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 resulting in successful treatments, so you can keep enjoying the sounds of your day-to-day life.

Muffled Hearing – what exactly is it?

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. In the majority of cases, those with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but things sound quieter or jumbled. This might particularly affect your ability to hear and understand voices and spoken language.

Your ears will frequently also feel plugged up when your hearing is muffled. Lots of people have experienced this feeling temporarily, for instance, when they have a cold or are flying. Muffled hearing is not always accompanied by this feeling, however.

Causes of muffled hearing

There are a lot of potential causes of muffled hearing. Identifying the root cause of your muffled hearing can be important in developing an effective treatment plan. Some of the most prevalent causes of muffled hearing include the following:

  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is usually a helpful thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. But muffled hearing (and in some instances even hearing loss) can be the result of excess earwax. Try a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen things up. Never attempt to free stuck earwax by using a cotton swab which will only push the wax further up into the ear canal. If the problem lingers, come in and see us.
  • Age-related hearing loss: As you age, your hearing can decline due to natural causes. After all, there are few senses as acute when you are 80 as they were when you are 18. This natural decline in your hearing ability can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Sometimes, muffled hearing can be the consequence of noise-related hearing loss. Regrettably, this type of hearing loss is usually permanent. One of the first noticeable symptoms is muffled hearing; but by the time you detect the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has most likely already occurred. If you don’t seek out treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.
  • Infection: Sometimes, problems like infections (such as sinus infections or ear infections) can result in inflammation in the ear canal (this is particularly true with ear infections). This swelling can cause your ear canal to be completely blocked, effectively diminishing your ability to hear. Muffled hearing symptoms due to infections will normally clear up after the underlying illness has been dealt with.
  • Travel: Altitude changes, such as when you’re on a plane, can lead to a feeling of muffled ears. Your hearing will go back to normal rather quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a chronic balance and hearing issue. Over time, this disease can cause tinnitus, hearing loss (frequently beginning with muffled hearing), and dizziness or loss of balance. There is no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be treated.

The precise symptoms of muffled hearing will vary depending on the root cause.

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Some types of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The underlying cause of your muffled hearing will determine the treatment strategy. For example, if excess 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 typically clear up once the infection has been treated, so antibiotics are frequently prescribed.

In terms of sensorineural hearing loss, the emphasis changes to symptom management instead of a total cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. But it is possible to manage symptoms. There might be numerous strategies to this treatment including a pair of hearing aids.

Hearing aids can help you stay connected to loved ones and tackle your day-to-day activities without a significantly noticeable impact, especially when this process is initiated quickly.

How to steer clear of muffled hearing in the first place

No matter what you do, some kinds of muffled hearing can’t be prevented. Infections, for instance, can’t always be avoided.

Getting your hearing examined, however, can help detect any causes of muffled hearing and can help prevent 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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