Woman in pain for tinnitus, sound and noise problem. Healthcare, pressure and hearing loss with girl suffering with muffled hearing.

There are a large number of reasons for muffled hearing. For the majority of people, it’s a short-term experience. But muffled hearing can also be an indication that a more serious hearing problem is happening. That’s because, for the most part, hearing loss is a gradually developing condition. Symptoms build gradually and over time.

Often, one of the first detectable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. However, it’s essential to point out that muffled hearing in and of itself isn’t always an indication of long-term hearing loss. Each year millions of people experience muffled hearing.

You may be wondering: when do I need to be worried about muffled hearing? The answer depends on a number of factors. Finding the correct treatment for your muffled hearing depends on understanding the underlying cause. Prompt solutions can sometimes help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least minimize possible harm. You will be able to get back to enjoying the sounds of your life after you get us to assist you with some successful treatments.

Muffled Hearing – what exactly is it?

Muffled hearing happens 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 instances, people with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but things sound quieter or distorted. Hearing speech and language can be especially challenging.

Your ears will often also feel clogged up when your hearing is muffled. Many people have experienced this feeling for a short time, for example, when they have a cold or are flying. Muffled hearing is not always accompanied by this feeling, however.

Causes of muffled hearing

Muffled hearing can be caused by all kinds of problems. Figuring out the root cause of your muffled hearing can be significant in developing a successful treatment plan. Here are several of the most prevalent causes:

  • Infection: In some cases, 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 inflammation can cause your ear canal to swell shut, effectively reducing your ability to hear. Once the root infection clears, any swelling it caused should also clear.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is generally 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 typically be loosened up by using a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide. Never try to free stuck earwax by using a cotton swab which will only push the wax further up into the ear canal. We can help if the problem continues.
  • Age-associated hearing loss: Most individuals will experience diminishing 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 natural diminishing in your ability to hear can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss which results from noise damage can sometimes cause muffled hearing. This kind of hearing loss is, unfortunately, generally 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. You should seek out treatment rapidly to avoid your hearing growing considerably worse quickly.
  • Travel: The changing air pressure associated with air travel can frequently cause a feeling of fullness in the ear, followed closely by muffled hearing. In most instances, this feeling will go away rapidly and your normal hearing will be restored.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a long-term 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.

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

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Some forms of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The base cause of your muffled hearing will determine the treatment strategy. We may use some specialized tools to help clean out your ear canal if, for example, earwax accumulation is at the root of your muffled hearing. Antibiotics are typically prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

Symptom management is generally the strategy 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 set 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 effecting your quality of life.

Avoiding muffled hearing

No matter what you do, certain forms of muffled hearing can’t be avoided. Infections, for example, can’t always be avoided.

However, in most instances, 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.