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

There are a wide variety of reasons for muffled hearing. For most people, it’s a temporary situation. In other cases, muffled hearing can be a precursor of more significant hearing-related problems. That’s because, in general, hearing loss is a slowly developing condition. Symptoms build slowly and over time.

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

You might be wondering: when do I need to be concerned about muffled hearing? The answer depends on several factors. Finding the right 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 prompt solutions. 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.

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 drop in sound quality. Hearing won’t be entirely gone with muffled hearing but things will sound garbled and quieter. This might especially affect your ability to hear and understand voices and spoken language.

In many instances, and depending on the underlying 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 may experience this feeling. This clogged feeling, however, doesn’t always come with muffled hearing.

Causes of muffled hearing

There are a lot of potential causes of muffled hearing. Figuring out the root cause of your muffled hearing can be important in developing an effective treatment plan. Here are several of the most prevalent causes:

  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss which results from noise damage can sometimes result in muffled hearing. This type of hearing loss is, sadly, usually irreversible. One of the very first recognizable symptoms is muffled hearing; 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.
  • Infection: In some cases, 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 will reduce your hearing ability 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.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from persistent hearing and balance issues. Over time, this disease can trigger tinnitus, loss of hearing (frequently beginning with muffled hearing), and dizziness or loss of balance. There is no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be treated.
  • 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 ultimately cause muffled hearing (or even hearing loss). Try a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen the wax up. Never try to free stuck earwax with a cotton swab which will only pack the wax further up into the ear canal. We can help if the problem persists.
  • Travel: The changing altitude related to air travel can often cause a plugged feeling in the ear, followed closely by muffled hearing. Your hearing will go back to normal fairly quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Hearing loss associated with age: As you age, your hearing can diminish due to natural causes. Needless to say, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less acute than when you were 18. This natural diminishing in your hearing ability can cause muffled hearing over time.

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

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing can be cured. The base cause of your muffled hearing will determine the treatment strategy. We may use some special tools to help clear out your ear canal if, for instance, earwax buildup is at the root of your muffled hearing. Muffled hearing caused by an ear infection will typically clear up once the infection has been addressed, so antibiotics are often prescribed.

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

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

How to avoid muffled hearing in the first place

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

Having your hearing tested, however, can help identify any causes of muffled hearing and can help avoid any long-term hearing loss that may be developing. Call 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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