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. For most individuals, it’s a short-term experience. But muffled hearing can also be a sign that a more serious hearing issue is happening. 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.

In many cases, one of the first detectable 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 a sign of permanent hearing loss. Indeed, millions of people experience muffled hearing every year.

You might be wondering: when should I be concerned about muffled hearing? Generally, the answer varies. Finding the proper treatment for your muffled hearing depends on understanding the root cause. Added damage can be avoided and your hearing can get back to normal with some quick solutions. Contacting us for a consultation can help you begin this process, often resulting in successful treatments, so you can keep enjoying the sounds of your everyday 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. A rather noticeable decrease in sound fidelity is the result. Hearing won’t be completely gone with muffled hearing but things will sound garbled and quieter. Hearing speech and language can be particularly challenging.

In many cases, and depending on the underlying cause, muffled hearing can be accompanied by a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Many people have experienced this feeling temporarily, for instance, when they have a cold or are taking a flight. Muffled hearing isn’t always combined with this feeling, however.

What causes muffled hearing?

There are a lot of potential causes of muffled hearing. In order to develop the correct course of treatment, it’s important to establish the root cause. Some of the most prevalent causes of muffled hearing include the following:

  • Hearing loss associated with age: Most individuals will experience decreasing hearing as they age. 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 decline of your ability to hear.
  • Infection: Sometimes, issues like infections (such as sinus infections or ear infections) can cause swelling in the ear canal (this is particularly true with ear infections). This swelling can cause your ear canal to swell shut, effectively decreasing your ability to hear. Muffled hearing symptoms due to infections will typically go away after the root illness has been treated.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a chronic balance and hearing issue. Dizziness, balance issues, tinnitus, and muffled ears will develop over time as a result of this disease. There is no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be managed.
  • Earwax buildup: Normally, earwax is a good thing. The health of your ear canal depends on the production of earwax. However, too much earwax can eventually cause muffled hearing (or even hearing loss). Try a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen things up. Do not use a cotton swab to attempt to dislodge the earwax, as cotton swabs can condense your earwax and make the problem worse. If the problem lingers, come in and talk to us.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: In some cases, muffled hearing can be the consequence of noise-related hearing loss. Sadly, this form of hearing loss is normally permanent. One of the first noticeable symptoms is muffled hearing; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has probably already taken place. If you don’t seek out treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.
  • Travel: The changing air pressure related to air travel can frequently cause a feeling of fullness in the ear, followed closely by muffled hearing. In most cases, this feeling will pass quickly and your normal hearing will be restored.

Depending on the underlying cause, the precise symptoms of muffled hearing will differ.

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 root cause. We might use some special tools to help clean out your ear canal if, for instance, earwax accumulation is at the root of your muffled hearing. Muffled hearing caused by an ear infection will likely clear up once the infection has been managed, so antibiotics are frequently prescribed.

Symptom management is generally the strategy when you have 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 pair of hearing aids.

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

Avoiding muffled hearing

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

Getting 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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