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. In most cases, this situation is temporary. But muffled hearing can also be a sign that a more serious hearing problem is occurring. That’s because, for the most part, hearing loss is a gradually developing condition. Symptoms develop slowly over a long period of time.

One of the earliest symptoms of slowly progressing long-term hearing loss is the sense that your hearing is muffled. However, it’s significant to mention that muffled hearing in and of itself isn’t always a sign of long-term hearing loss. Indeed, millions of individuals experience muffled hearing each year.

Maybe you’re wondering if you should be concerned about your muffled hearing. Generally, the answer tends to vary. 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 quick solutions. You will be able to go 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. In most instances, those with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but things sound quieter or jumbled. Discerning speech and language can be particularly tough.

In many cases, 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 on a plane or have a cold you may experience this feeling. This plugged feeling, however, doesn’t always come with muffled hearing.

What causes muffled hearing?

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

  • Hearing loss related to age: Most individuals will experience decreasing hearing as they age. Needless to say, 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 normal diminishing of your hearing.
  • Infection: Sometimes, problems such as infections (including sinus infections or ear infections) can result in swelling in the ear canal (this is particularly true with ear infections). This will reduce your ability to hear by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Muffled hearing symptoms due to infections will normally clear up once the underlying illness has been treated.
  • Travel: The changing altitude related to air travel can often cause a feeling of fullness 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.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a chronic 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. There is no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be managed.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: In some cases, muffled hearing can be the result of noise-related hearing loss. This form of hearing loss is, sadly, generally permanent. One of the earliest noticeable symptoms is muffled hearing; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has likely already occurred. You should seek out treatment rapidly to avoid your hearing growing substantially worse quickly.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is usually a helpful thing. The health of your ear canal depends on the production of earwax. But muffled hearing (and in some instances even hearing loss) can be the consequence of too much earwax. 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 try to free the earwax, as cotton swabs can compact your earwax and make the problem worse. If the issue persists, come in and see us.

The precise symptoms of muffled hearing will differ depending on the underlying cause.

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing have a cure. The root cause of your muffled hearing will establish the treatment strategy. We might use some specialized tools to help clean out your ear canal if, for instance, earwax accumulation is at the root of your muffled hearing. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

Symptom management is generally the approach when you have sensorineural hearing loss rather than a cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. But it is possible to manage symptoms. This may take several forms, but the most prevalent is the use of a set of hearing aids so that you can bring clarity to what you hear.

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

How to avoid muffled hearing in the first place

Some forms of muffled hearing are difficult to avoid, no matter what. For example, ear infections and sinus infections are hard to easily avoid.

However, in most cases, regular hearing tests can help you steer clear of many of the causes of muffled hearing and detect any permanent hearing loss early. Contact 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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