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 lots of reasons. For most individuals, it’s a short-term situation. In other cases, muffled hearing can be a precursor of more serious hearing-related issues. That’s because, in general, hearing loss is a slowly progressing condition. Symptoms develop slowly over a long time period.

One of the earliest symptoms of slowly advancing long-term hearing loss is the feeling that your hearing is muffled. Muffled hearing, however, isn’t always an indication that you are developing permanent hearing loss. Indeed, millions of people experience muffled hearing every year.

You may be wondering: when should I be worried about muffled hearing? The answer depends on a number of factors. Recognizing the root cause of your muffled hearing is crucial to finding the right treatment approach. Additional damage can be prevented and your hearing can get back to normal with some quick solutions. Contacting us for a consultation can help you begin this process, typically resulting in successful treatments, so you can keep enjoying the sounds of your day-to-day life.

What is muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing happens when sound is unable to move through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it normally does. A very noticeable decline in sound fidelity is the result. Hearing won’t be totally gone with muffled hearing but things will sound garbled and quieter. Hearing speech and language can be particularly tough.

In many cases, and depending on the root cause, muffled hearing can be combined with a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Sometimes, when you’re on a plane or have a cold you may experience this feeling. This clogged feeling, however, doesn’t always come with muffled hearing.

What causes muffled hearing?

There are a lot of possible causes of muffled hearing. In order to formulate the correct course of treatment, it’s important to establish the root cause. Here are a few of the most prevalent causes:

  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from chronic hearing and balance issues. Dizziness, balance issues, tinnitus, and muffled ears will manifest over time due to this disease. There is no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be managed.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is usually a helpful thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. However, too much earwax can ultimately cause muffled hearing (or even hearing loss). This earwax can usually be loosened up by using a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide. Do not utilize a cotton swab to try to free the earwax, as cotton swabs can compact your earwax and make the issue worse. We can help if the issue continues.
  • Infection: In some cases, issues like infections (such as sinus infections or ear infections) can result in swelling in the ear canal (this is especially true with ear infections). This swelling can cause your ear canal to be completely blocked, effectively diminishing your ability to hear. Muffled hearing symptoms brought on by infections will typically go away once the underlying illness has been dealt with.
  • Travel: The changing altitude associated with air travel can frequently cause a feeling of fullness in the ear, accompanied by muffled hearing. In most instances, this feeling will go away rapidly and your normal hearing will be restored.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss caused by noise damage can sometimes bring about muffled hearing. Sadly, this form of hearing loss is usually irreversible. One of the earliest noticeable symptoms is muffled hearing; but damage to your stereocilia has usually already occurred by the time you notice the distorted sounds. If you don’t find treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.
  • Hearing loss associated with age: Most people will experience diminishing hearing as they get older. Obviously, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less acute than when you were 18. This natural decline in your hearing ability can cause muffled hearing over time.

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

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Some forms of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The root cause of your muffled hearing will determine the treatment method. For example, if excessive earwax buildup is the main cause, we might use specific tools to help you clear out your ear canal. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

When it comes to sensorineural hearing loss, the focus changes to symptom management instead of a total cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. But it is possible to manage symptoms. There might be several strategies to this treatment including a pair of hearing aids.

Hearing aids can help you remain connected to loved ones and go about your day-to-day activities without a significantly noticeable impact, especially when this process is started promptly.

How to steer clear of muffled hearing in the first place

Some forms of muffled hearing are hard to avoid, no matter what. Infections, for example, 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 examinations 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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