Causes of Muffled Hearing and Some Treatments

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 most instances, this condition is temporary. But muffled hearing can also be an indication that a more serious hearing issue is occurring. Partly, that’s because, aside from sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is usually not a condition that develops suddenly. Symptoms progress gradually and over time.

One of the earliest symptoms of gradually progressing long-term hearing loss is the feeling that your hearing is muffled. However, it’s important to point out that muffled hearing in and of itself is not always a sign of long-term hearing loss. Each year millions of individuals experience muffled hearing.

Perhaps you’re wondering if you should be worried about your muffled hearing. Generally, the answer tends to vary. Recognizing the root cause of your muffled hearing is essential to finding the correct treatment approach. Prompt solutions can in some cases help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least reduce possible harm. 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 day-to-day life.

Muffled Hearing – what exactly is it?

Muffled hearing takes place when sound is unable to travel through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it normally does. A very noticeable decrease in sound quality is the result. In most instances, those with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but everything sounds quieter or jumbled. This may particularly affect your ability to discern and understand voices and spoken language.

In many cases, and depending on the underlying cause, muffled hearing can be combined with a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Many individuals have experienced this feeling temporarily, for example, when they have a cold or are taking a flight. Muffled hearing isn’t always combined with this feeling, however.

Causes of muffled hearing

There are a lot of potential causes of muffled hearing. In order to develop the suitable course of treatment, it’s important to establish the root cause. Here are several of the most common causes:

  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Sometimes, muffled hearing can be the outcome of noise-related hearing loss. Sadly, this form of hearing loss is normally permanent. Muffled hearing is often one of the first noticeable symptoms; but damage to your stereocilia has usually already occurred by the time you detect the distorted sounds. If you don’t seek out treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.
  • Travel: Altitude changes, such as when you’re on a plane, can lead to a feeling of muffled ears. Your hearing will go back to normal fairly quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Infection: Inflammation of the ear canal will frequently accompany problems like ear infections or sinus infections. This swelling can cause your ear canal to be completely blocked, effectively reducing your ability to hear. Muffled hearing symptoms caused by infections will normally go away after the root illness has been dealt with.
  • Hearing loss related to age: Most people will experience diminishing hearing as they get older. Obviously, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less acute than when you were 18. This natural decline in your ability to hear can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Earwax buildup: Normally, earwax is a positive thing. The health of your ear canal depends on the production of earwax. But muffled hearing (and in some circumstances even hearing loss) can be the consequence of too much earwax. This earwax can typically be loosened up by using a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide. Never attempt 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 issue persists.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from chronic hearing and balance problems. Dizziness, balance issues, tinnitus, and muffled ears will develop over time as a result of this disease. There is no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be treated.

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

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Not all forms of muffled hearing have a cure. The base cause of your muffled hearing will determine the treatment method. For instance, 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.

Symptom management is generally the strategy when you’re dealing with sensorineural hearing loss as opposed to a cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can not be reversed. But it is possible to control symptoms. This might take several forms, but the most prevalent is the use of 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

No matter what you do, some kinds of muffled hearing can’t be avoided. Infections, for instance, can’t always be avoided.

Getting your hearing examined, however, can help detect any causes of muffled hearing and can help prevent any long-term hearing loss that may be developing. These examinations can help you stay on top of your hearing health and get treatment quickly.

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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