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 the majority of people, it’s a temporary situation. In other cases, muffled hearing can be a precursor of more significant hearing-related problems. That’s because, for the most part, hearing loss is a slowly progressing condition. 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 essential to mention that muffled hearing in and of itself isn’t always an indication of permanent hearing loss. Indeed, millions of people experience muffled hearing every year.

You may be wondering: when should I be concerned about muffled hearing? The answer depends on several factors. Finding the best treatment for your muffled hearing depends on recognizing the underlying cause. Added damage can be avoided and your hearing can get back to normal with some prompt solutions. Contacting us for a consultation can help you start this process, often leading to successful treatments, so you can continue 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. A rather noticeable decline in sound quality is the result. Hearing won’t be entirely gone with muffled hearing but things will sound distorted and quieter. This may particularly impact your ability to hear and understand voices and spoken language.

Your ears will frequently also feel plugged up when your hearing is muffled. Sometimes, when you’re on a plane or have a cold you might experience this feeling. Muffled hearing isn’t always accompanied by this feeling, however.

What causes muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing can be caused by all kinds of issues. In order to establish the correct course of treatment, it’s important to determine the root cause. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss caused by noise-related damage can sometimes bring about muffled hearing. This type of hearing loss is, sadly, generally irreversible. Muffled hearing is frequently one of the first noticeable symptoms; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has probably already occurred. You should find treatment promptly to avoid your hearing growing substantially worse quickly.
  • Age-related hearing loss: Most individuals will experience decreasing hearing as they age. After all, there are few senses as sharp when you are 80 as they were when you are 18. This natural diminishing in your hearing ability can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Travel: Altitude changes, like when you’re on a plane, can lead to a feeling of muffled ears. In most cases, this feeling will pass quickly and your normal hearing will be restored.
  • Infection: Sometimes, issues like infections (including sinus infections or ear infections) can cause swelling in the ear canal (this is especially true with ear infections). This will decrease your ability to hear by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Muffled hearing symptoms due to infections will typically go away after the root illness has been dealt with.
  • Earwax buildup: Normally, earwax is a good thing. The health of your ear canal relies on the generation of earwax. However, too much earwax can eventually cause muffled hearing (or even loss of hearing). This earwax can typically be loosened up by using a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide. Do not make use of a cotton swab to attempt to dislodge the earwax, as cotton swabs can compact your earwax and make the problem worse. If the problem continues, come in and see us.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a long-term balance and hearing problem. Over time, this disease can trigger tinnitus, loss of hearing (frequently beginning with muffled hearing), and dizziness or loss of balance. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be treated but not cured.

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

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Some types of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The root cause of your muffled hearing will determine the treatment strategy. We might use some specialized tools to help clean 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 usually prescribed.

Symptom management is usually the approach when you have sensorineural hearing loss rather than a cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can’t be cured. But it is possible to manage symptoms. There may be several approaches to this treatment including a pair of hearing aids.

With hearing aids, you can continue to enjoy your daily activities without hearing loss effecting your quality of life.

Avoiding muffled hearing

Some types of muffled hearing are difficult to avoid, no matter what. Infections, for example, can’t always be avoided.

However, in most instances, regular hearing tests can help you avoid many of the causes of muffled hearing and detect any permanent hearing loss early. These checkups can help you stay on top of your hearing health and get treatment quickly.

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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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