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

There are a large number of reasons for muffled hearing. In the majority of cases, this situation is temporary. In other instances, muffled hearing can be a harbinger of more substantial hearing-related issues. Partly, that’s because, aside from sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is typically not a condition that progresses suddenly. Symptoms develop slowly and over time.

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

Perhaps you’re wondering if you should be worried about your muffled hearing. Generally, the answer tends to vary. Finding the right treatment for your muffled hearing depends on recognizing the root cause. Additional damage can be avoided and your hearing can get back to normal with some quick solutions. Calling us for a consultation can help you begin this process, often leading to successful treatments, so you can continue enjoying the sounds of your everyday life.

Muffled Hearing – what exactly is it?

Muffled hearing takes place when sound is unable to travel through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it normally does. This results in a noticeable drop in sound quality. In most instances, people with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but everything sounds quieter or distorted. Hearing speech and language can be particularly challenging.

Your ears will often also feel plugged up when your hearing is muffled. Many individuals have experienced this feeling for a short time, for example, when they have a cold or are flying. This plugged feeling, however, doesn’t always come along with muffled hearing.

Causes of muffled hearing

There are lots of potential causes of muffled hearing. Identifying the root cause of your muffled hearing can be important in establishing a successful treatment plan. Here are several of the most common causes:

  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is usually a helpful thing. The health of your ear canal relies on the generation of earwax. But muffled hearing (and in some cases even hearing loss) can be the result of too much earwax. Try a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen things up. Never try to dislodge stuck earwax with a cotton swab which will only push the wax further up into the ear canal. We can help if the problem continues.
  • Travel: The changing altitude related to air travel can frequently cause a plugged feeling in the ear, followed closely by muffled hearing. In most cases, this feeling will pass quickly and your hearing will go back to normal.
  • Infection: Swelling of the ear canal will often accompany problems such as ear infections or sinus infections. This will decrease your hearing ability by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Muffled hearing symptoms caused by infections will usually clear up after the underlying illness has been treated.
  • Age-associated hearing loss: Most individuals will experience diminishing hearing as they age. Obviously, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less acute than when you were 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the result of this natural diminishing of your hearing.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a long-term balance and hearing problem. Dizziness, balance issues, tinnitus, and muffled ears will develop over time due to this disease. There’s no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be treated.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: In some cases, muffled hearing can be the result of noise-related hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is, unfortunately, normally permanent. Muffled hearing is often one of the earliest noticeable symptoms; but damage to your stereocilia has likely already happened by the time you detect the distorted sounds. You should seek out treatment promptly to avoid your hearing growing substantially worse quickly.

The exact symptoms of muffled hearing will differ depending on the root cause.

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Some forms of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The underlying cause of your muffled hearing will establish the treatment method. We might use some special tools to help clean out your ear canal if, for example, earwax buildup is at the root of your muffled hearing. Antibiotics are usually prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

In terms of sensorineural hearing loss, the emphasis changes to symptom management instead of a complete cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. But it is possible to manage symptoms. This might take several forms, but the most common is using a pair of hearing aids in order to bring clarity to what you hear.

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

Avoiding muffled hearing

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 tested, however, can help detect any causes of muffled hearing and can help avoid any long-term hearing loss that might 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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