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. In the majority of cases, this situation is temporary. But muffled hearing can also be an indication that a more serious hearing issue is occurring. That’s because, for the most part, hearing loss is a slowly progressing condition. Symptoms build gradually and over time.

Typically, one of the first noticeable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. However, it’s significant to mention that muffled hearing in and of itself is not always a sign of long-term hearing loss. Indeed, millions of individuals experience muffled hearing every year.

You may be wondering: when do I need to be concerned about muffled hearing? Generally, the answer varies. Recognizing the root cause of your muffled hearing is crucial to finding the best treatment plan. Prompt solutions can sometimes help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least minimize possible damage. Contacting us for a consultation can help you begin this process, typically leading to successful treatments, so you can keep enjoying the sounds of your day-to-day life.

Muffled Hearing – what exactly is it?

Muffled hearing occurs when sound is not able to travel through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it ordinarily does. This results in a noticeable decrease in sound quality. In most cases, people with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but things sound quieter or jumbled. Discerning speech and language can be especially tough.

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

What causes muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing can be caused by all kinds of problems. In order to develop the suitable course of treatment, it’s essential to establish the root cause. Some of the most prevalent causes of muffled hearing include the following:

  • Travel: The changing altitude associated with air travel can often cause a plugged feeling in the ear, followed closely by muffled hearing. In most cases, this feeling will go away rapidly and your hearing will go back to normal.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss caused by noise-related damage can sometimes cause muffled hearing. Regrettably, this kind of hearing loss is usually permanent. Muffled hearing is often one of the earliest detectable symptoms; but damage to your stereocilia has usually already happened by the time you detect the distorted sounds. You should find treatment promptly to avoid your hearing getting significantly worse quickly.
  • Infection: Sometimes, issues 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 swelling can cause your ear canal to be completely blocked, effectively diminishing your ability to hear. Muffled hearing symptoms brought on by infections will usually go away after the root illness has been treated.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a long-term balance and hearing problem. Over time, this disease can cause tinnitus, hearing loss (often beginning with muffled hearing), and dizziness or loss of balance. There’s no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be treated.
  • Age-related hearing loss: As you get older, your hearing can diminish due to natural causes. Needless to say, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less sharp than when you were 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the result of this natural decline of your ability to hear.
  • Earwax buildup: Normally, earwax is a positive thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. But muffled hearing (and in some cases even hearing loss) can be the consequence of too much earwax. This earwax can usually be loosened up by utilizing a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide. Do not use a cotton swab to attempt to dislodge the earwax, as cotton swabs can condense your earwax and make the problem worse. We can help if the issue persists.

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

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing can be cured. The underlying cause of your muffled hearing will establish the treatment method. We might use some specialized 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 usually clear up once the infection has been addressed, so antibiotics are frequently prescribed.

In terms of sensorineural hearing loss, the focus changes to symptom management as opposed to a total cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. However, symptoms can be controlled. This might take several forms, but the most prevalent is using a set of hearing aids so that you can 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.

How to steer clear of muffled hearing in the first place

Some types of muffled hearing are difficult to avoid, no matter what. For instance, ear infections and sinus infections are difficult to easily avoid.

However, in most cases, regular hearing tests can help you avoid many of the causes of muffled hearing and detect any permanent hearing loss early. These examinations 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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