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

Muffled hearing can present for a large number of reasons. For the majority of individuals, it’s a temporary experience. In other instances, muffled hearing can be a precursor of more significant hearing-related issues. That’s because, for the most part, hearing loss is a slowly developing condition. Symptoms appear slowly over a long period of time.

Often, one of the first noticeable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. However, it’s significant to point out that muffled hearing in and of itself is not always a sign of permanent hearing loss. Every year millions of people experience muffled hearing.

You may be wondering: when do I need to be worried about muffled hearing? Generally, the answer tends to vary. Finding the proper treatment for your muffled hearing depends on understanding the root cause. Additional 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 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 results in a noticeable decrease in sound quality. In most cases, individuals with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but things sound quieter or jumbled. Discerning speech and language can be especially challenging.

In many cases, and depending on the root cause, muffled hearing can be associated with a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. 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 with muffled hearing.

What causes muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing can be caused by a wide variety of issues. Figuring out the root cause of your muffled hearing can be essential in developing a successful treatment plan. Some of the most common causes of muffled hearing include the following:

  • Age-related hearing loss: As you age, your hearing can decline due to natural causes. After all, there are few senses as sharp when you are 80 as they were when you are 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the outcome of this natural diminishing of your hearing.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a long-term balance and hearing issue. Dizziness, balance problems, tinnitus, and muffled ears will develop over time as a result of this disease. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be managed but not cured.
  • Infection: Sometimes, problems such as infections (including sinus infections or ear infections) can result in swelling in the ear canal (this is particularly true with ear infections). This swelling can cause your ear canal to be completely blocked, effectively reducing your ability to hear. Once the base infection goes away, any inflammation it caused should also clear.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Sometimes, muffled hearing can be the consequence of noise-related hearing loss. This form of hearing loss is, unfortunately, usually irreversible. Muffled hearing is frequently one of the very first detectable symptoms; but damage to your stereocilia has likely already happened by the time you notice the distorted sounds. You should seek out treatment promptly to avoid your hearing getting substantially worse quickly.
  • Earwax buildup: Usually, earwax is a good thing. The health of your ear canal depends on the generation of earwax. But muffled hearing (and in some instances even hearing loss) can be the consequence of excess earwax. This earwax can usually be loosened up by utilizing a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. Do not use 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.
  • Travel: Altitude changes, such as when you’re on a plane, can cause a feeling of muffled ears. 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.

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing have a cure. The treatment for your muffled hearing will differ depending on the underlying cause. We might use some specialized 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 usually prescribed.

In terms of sensorineural hearing loss, the emphasis changes to symptom management rather than a complete cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can’t be cured. But it is possible to control symptoms. There might be several strategies to this treatment including a pair 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 started quickly.

Avoiding muffled hearing

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

However, in most cases, regular hearing tests can help you steer clear of many of the causes of muffled hearing and identify any permanent hearing loss early. These checkups 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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