Muffled Hearing: Causes and Solutions

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 a large number of reasons. For most people, it’s a short-term situation. In other cases, muffled hearing can be a harbinger of more significant hearing-related problems. That’s because, in general, hearing loss is a gradually developing condition. Symptoms build slowly 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 important to mention 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.

You might be wondering: when do I need to be worried about muffled hearing? Generally, the answer varies. Finding the correct treatment for your muffled hearing depends on recognizing the underlying cause. Additional damage can be prevented and your hearing can get back to normal with some quick solutions. Calling us for a consultation can help you start this process, often leading to successful treatments, so you can continue enjoying the sounds of your everyday 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 usually does. A rather noticeable decrease in sound quality is the result. Hearing won’t be totally gone with muffled hearing but things will sound distorted and quieter. This might particularly impact your ability to discern and understand voices and spoken language.

In many cases, and depending on the underlying cause, muffled hearing can be associated with a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Lots of people have experienced this feeling for a short time, for instance, when they have a cold or are flying. This clogged feeling, however, doesn’t always come with muffled hearing.

Causes of muffled hearing

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

  • Travel: Altitude changes, such as when you’re on a plane, can cause a feeling of muffled ears. Your hearing will go back to normal relatively quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from persistent hearing and balance problems. 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 treated.
  • Infection: In some cases, issues like infections (such as sinus infections or ear infections) can cause inflammation in the ear canal (this is especially true with ear infections). This swelling can cause your ear canal to swell shut, effectively diminishing your ability to hear. Muffled hearing symptoms brought on by infections will usually go away once the root illness has been treated.
  • Age-related hearing loss: As you get older, your hearing can decline due to natural causes. Obviously, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less acute than when you were 18. This natural diminishing in your hearing ability can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Sometimes, muffled hearing can be the outcome of noise-related hearing loss. This form of hearing loss is, unfortunately, usually irreversible. Muffled hearing is frequently one of the first noticeable symptoms; but damage to your stereocilia has usually already occurred by the time you detect the distorted sounds. You should find treatment promptly to avoid your hearing getting considerably worse quickly.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is usually a helpful thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. However, excessive earwax can eventually cause muffled hearing (or even hearing loss). This earwax can usually be loosened up by using a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide. Do not make use of a cotton swab to try to dislodge the earwax, as cotton swabs can compact your earwax and make the issue worse. If the problem continues, come in and talk to us.

The precise symptoms of muffled hearing will vary depending on the base cause.

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

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

In terms of sensorineural hearing loss, the focus changes to symptom management instead of a complete cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. However, symptoms can be controlled. This might take a number of forms, but the most prevalent is using a set of hearing aids so that you can bring clarity to what you hear.

Hearing aids can help you remain connected to loved ones and go about your daily activities without a significantly noticeable impact, particularly when this process is initiated quickly.

Avoiding muffled hearing

Some types of muffled hearing are hard to avoid, no matter what. Infections, for example, can’t always be avoided.

Having your hearing examined, however, can help detect any causes of muffled hearing and can help avoid any long-term hearing loss that might be developing. Call us for an appointment right away.

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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