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 the majority of cases, this situation is short-term. But muffled hearing can also be an indication that a more serious hearing problem is happening. That’s because, in general, hearing loss is a gradually developing condition. Symptoms progress gradually and over time.

Often, one of the first detectable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. Muffled hearing, however, isn’t necessarily a sign that you are developing long-term hearing loss. Every year millions of individuals experience muffled hearing.

Maybe you’re wondering if you should be worried about your muffled hearing. Generally, the answer varies. Understanding the root cause of your muffled hearing is crucial to finding the best treatment approach. Timely solutions can in some cases help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least reduce possible harm. You will be able to go back to enjoying the sounds of your life after you get us to assist you with some successful treatments.

What is muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing occurs when sound is not able to move through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it normally does. This results in a noticeable drop in sound quality. Hearing won’t be entirely gone with muffled hearing but things will sound garbled and quieter. Discerning speech and language can be particularly challenging.

Your ears will frequently also feel plugged up when your hearing is muffled. Sometimes, when you’re taking a flight or have a cold you may experience this feeling. Muffled hearing isn’t always combined with this feeling, however.

What causes muffled hearing?

There are a lot of potential causes of muffled hearing. In order to establish the correct course of treatment, it’s important to establish the root cause. Here are a few of the most prevalent causes:

  • Sensorineural hearing loss: In some cases, muffled hearing can be the result of noise-related hearing loss. Regrettably, this form of hearing loss is usually irreversible. Muffled hearing is frequently one of the very first detectable symptoms; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has probably already taken place. You should find treatment promptly to avoid your hearing getting considerably worse quickly.
  • Infection: Inflammation of the ear canal will frequently come with issues such as ear infections or sinus infections. This inflammation can cause your ear canal to be completely blocked, effectively diminishing your ability to hear. Once the underlying infection goes away, any inflammation it caused should also clear.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from persistent hearing and balance issues. Dizziness, balance issues, tinnitus, and muffled ears will manifest over time due to this disease. There is no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be treated.
  • Hearing loss related to age: As you age, your hearing can decline due to natural causes. Needless to say, 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.
  • Travel: Altitude changes, such as when you’re on a plane, can lead to a feeling of muffled ears. In most instances, this feeling will go away rapidly and your hearing will go back to normal.
  • 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 hearing loss). Try a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen the wax up. Do not use a cotton swab to try to dislodge the earwax, as cotton swabs can compact your earwax and make the issue worse. If the problem persists, come in and see us.

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

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Some forms of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The treatment for your muffled hearing will differ depending on the base cause. 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 frequently prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

Symptom management is generally the approach when you’re dealing with sensorineural hearing loss rather than a cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. However, symptoms can be controlled. This may take a number of forms, but the most common is the use of a pair of hearing aids so that you can bring clarity to what you hear.

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

Avoiding muffled hearing

Some types of muffled hearing are hard to avoid, no matter what. 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 identify any permanent hearing loss early. Contact 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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