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 condition is temporary. In other instances, muffled hearing can be a precursor of more serious hearing-related problems. Partly, that’s because, aside from sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is generally not a condition that progresses suddenly. Symptoms build slowly and over time.

Often, 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 isn’t always an indication of long-term hearing loss. Each year millions of individuals experience muffled hearing.

Maybe you’re wondering if you should be worried about your muffled hearing. Generally, the answer varies. Recognizing the root cause of your muffled hearing is critical to finding the right treatment strategy. Prompt solutions can in some cases help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least minimize possible harm. Calling us for a consultation can help you start this process, typically leading to successful treatments, so you can continue enjoying the sounds of your day-to-day life.

What is muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing takes place when sound is not able 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. Hearing won’t be entirely gone with muffled hearing but things will sound distorted and quieter. This might especially affect your ability to discern and understand voices and spoken language.

Your ears will often also feel clogged up when your hearing is muffled. Lots of people have experienced this feeling temporarily, for instance, when they have a cold or are flying. This clogged feeling, however, doesn’t always come along with muffled hearing.

What causes muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing can be caused by all kinds of issues. Identifying the root cause of your muffled hearing can be essential in establishing a successful treatment plan. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Hearing loss associated with age: Most people will experience decreasing hearing as they get older. After all, there are few senses as acute when you are 80 as when you are 18. This normal diminishing in your hearing ability can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Infection: Swelling of the ear canal will frequently come with issues such as ear infections or sinus infections. This swelling can cause your ear canal to swell shut, effectively decreasing your ability to hear. Once the root infection clears, any swelling it caused should also clear.
  • Travel: The changing altitude associated with air travel can frequently cause a plugged feeling in the ear, followed closely by muffled hearing. Your hearing will go back to normal rather quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss which results from noise-related damage can sometimes bring about muffled hearing. This kind of hearing loss is, regrettably, usually irreversible. One of the earliest recognizable symptoms is muffled hearing; but damage to your stereocilia has usually already happened by the time you notice the distorted sounds. You should find treatment promptly to avoid your hearing getting substantially worse quickly.
  • Earwax buildup: Normally, earwax is a good thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. However, excessive earwax can ultimately cause muffled hearing (or even hearing loss). Try a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen things up. Do not utilize a cotton swab to attempt to dislodge the earwax, as cotton swabs can compact your earwax and make the problem worse. We can help if the issue persists.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from chronic hearing and balance problems. Over time, this disease can trigger tinnitus, hearing loss (frequently beginning with muffled hearing), and dizziness or loss of balance. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be treated but not cured.

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

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing have a cure. The treatment for your muffled hearing will differ depending on the root cause. We might use some special 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 likely clear up once the infection has been managed, so antibiotics are often prescribed.

In terms of sensorineural hearing loss, the emphasis changes to symptom management as opposed to a total cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can not be cured. However, symptoms can be managed. There might be numerous approaches to this treatment including a set of hearing aids.

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

How to avoid muffled hearing in the first place

Some types of muffled hearing are difficult 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 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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