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 wide variety of reasons. For the majority of people, it’s a temporary experience. But muffled hearing can also be an indication that a more severe hearing problem is occurring. Partly, that’s because, aside from sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is usually not a condition that develops suddenly. Symptoms build gradually and over time.

In many cases, one of the first detectable 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 a sign of long-term hearing loss. Indeed, millions of people experience muffled hearing each year.

Maybe you’re wondering if you should be concerned about your muffled hearing. Generally, the answer tends to vary. Understanding the root cause of your muffled hearing is critical to finding the best treatment plan. Additional damage can be avoided and your hearing can get back to normal with some prompt solutions. You will be able to get back to enjoying the sounds of your life after you get us to help you with some successful treatments.

What is muffled hearing?

When sound can’t move through your outer, middle, and inner ear in a normal way, your hearing can sound muffled. This leads to a noticeable drop in sound quality. In the majority of instances, those with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but things sound quieter or jumbled. Hearing speech and language can be especially tough.

Your ears will often also feel clogged up when your hearing is muffled. Many people have experienced this feeling temporarily, for example, when they have a cold or when they are taking a flight. Muffled hearing isn’t always associated with this feeling, however.

What causes muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing can be caused by all kinds of issues. Figuring out the root cause of your muffled hearing can be essential in establishing an effective treatment plan. Here are several of the most prevalent causes:

  • Travel: Altitude changes, such as when you’re on a plane, can cause a feeling of muffled ears. In most cases, this feeling will go away quickly and your normal hearing will be restored.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a long-term balance and hearing issue. Dizziness, balance problems, tinnitus, and muffled ears will develop over time because of this disease. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be managed but not cured.
  • Age-associated hearing loss: As you get older, your hearing can diminish due to natural causes. After all, there are few senses as acute when you are 80 as when you are 18. This natural diminishing in your hearing ability can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Infection: Inflammation of the ear canal will frequently accompany problems like ear infections or sinus infections. This swelling can cause your ear canal to swell shut, effectively reducing your ability to hear. Once the base infection clears, any swelling it caused should also clear.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: In some cases, muffled hearing can be the consequence of noise-related hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is, unfortunately, normally irreversible. Muffled hearing is often one of the very first detectable symptoms; but by the time you detect the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has likely already taken place. If you don’t seek out treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is generally a helpful thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. However, excessive earwax can ultimately cause muffled hearing (or even loss of hearing). This earwax can typically be loosened up by using a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide. Never try to dislodge stuck earwax with a cotton swab which will only pack the wax further up into the ear canal. We can help if the problem persists.

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

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing can be cured. The base cause of your muffled hearing will determine the treatment method. For example, if excess earwax buildup is the main cause, we might use specific tools to help you clean out your ear canal. Antibiotics are typically prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

When it comes to sensorineural hearing loss, the emphasis changes to symptom management instead of a total cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can’t be reversed. However, symptoms can be managed. There might be numerous approaches to this treatment including a pair of hearing aids.

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

How to avoid muffled hearing in the first place

No matter what you do, certain kinds of muffled hearing can’t be avoided. For instance, ear infections and sinus infections are hard to reliably avoid.

However, in most instances, regular hearing tests can help you avoid many of the causes of muffled hearing and identify 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.

Medical information dates as new research comes out all the time - if you have a concern about your hearing, please call us.

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