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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 instances, this condition is short-term. But muffled hearing can also be an indication that a more serious hearing problem is taking place. Partly, that’s because, aside from sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is typically not a condition that develops suddenly. Symptoms develop gradually and over time.

One of the earliest symptoms of slowly advancing long-term hearing loss is the feeling that your hearing is muffled. However, it’s essential to point out that muffled hearing in and of itself isn’t always a sign of permanent hearing loss. Indeed, millions of individuals experience muffled hearing every year.

Perhaps you’re wondering if you should be concerned about your muffled hearing. The answer depends on a number of factors. Finding the right treatment for your muffled hearing depends on understanding the underlying cause. Added damage can be prevented and your hearing can get back to normal with some prompt solutions. Calling us for a consultation can help you begin this process, often resulting in successful treatments, so you can continue enjoying the sounds of your everyday life.

What is muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing happens when sound is not able to move 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, individuals with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but everything sounds quieter or jumbled. Hearing speech and language can be especially difficult.

Your ears will often 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 associated with this feeling, however.

Causes of muffled hearing

There are a lot of possible causes of muffled hearing. Figuring out the root cause of your muffled hearing can be important in establishing an effective treatment plan. Some of the most common causes of muffled hearing include the following:

  • Hearing loss associated with age: Most people will experience decreasing hearing as they get older. Needless to say, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less acute than when you were 18. This normal decline in your ability to hear can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: In some cases, muffled hearing can be the outcome of noise-related hearing loss. Unfortunately, this kind of hearing loss is normally irreversible. Muffled hearing is frequently one of the earliest noticeable symptoms; but damage to your stereocilia has usually already occurred by the time you notice the distorted sounds. You should find treatment rapidly to avoid your hearing getting substantially worse quickly.
  • Infection: Inflammation of the ear canal will frequently accompany issues such as ear infections or sinus infections. This will diminish your ability to hear by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Once the root infection goes away, any swelling it caused should also clear.
  • Travel: Altitude changes, such as when you’re on a plane, can lead to a feeling of muffled ears. In most cases, this feeling will go away quickly and your hearing will go back to normal.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from chronic hearing and balance issues. Dizziness, balance problems, tinnitus, and muffled ears will manifest over time as a result of this disease. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be managed but not cured.
  • Earwax buildup: Usually, earwax is a good thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. However, excessive earwax can eventually cause muffled hearing (or even loss of hearing). Try a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen things up. Never attempt to dislodge stuck earwax by using a cotton swab which will only push the wax further up into the ear canal. We can help if the issue persists.

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

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Some forms of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The underlying cause of your muffled hearing will determine the treatment method. For instance, if excess earwax buildup is the main cause, we may 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.

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 might take several forms, but the most prevalent is using a pair of hearing aids in order to bring clarity to what you hear.

With hearing aids, you can keep enjoying your day-to-day activities without hearing loss impacting your quality of life.

Avoiding muffled hearing

Some forms of muffled hearing are hard to avoid, no matter what. For instance, ear infections and sinus infections are hard to reliably avoid.

However, in most cases, routine 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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