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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. For most individuals, it’s a short-term situation. In other instances, muffled hearing can be a harbinger of more significant hearing-related issues. In part, that’s because, aside from sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is usually not a condition that develops suddenly. Symptoms appear gradually over a long time period.

In many cases, one of the first detectable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. However, it’s essential to mention that muffled hearing in and of itself is not always a sign of permanent hearing loss. Each year millions of individuals experience muffled hearing.

You may be wondering: when should I be worried about muffled hearing? Generally, the answer varies. Finding the right treatment for your muffled hearing depends on understanding the underlying cause. Prompt solutions can in some cases help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least minimize possible harm. Contacting us for a consultation can help you start this process, typically resulting in successful treatments, so you can continue enjoying the sounds of your everyday life.

What is muffled hearing?

When sound can’t travel through your outer, middle, and inner ear in a normal way, your hearing can sound muffled. A very noticeable decline in sound quality is the outcome. In the majority of instances, those with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but things sound quieter or jumbled. This might especially affect your ability to discern and understand voices and spoken language.

Your ears will often also feel clogged up when your hearing is muffled. Sometimes, when you’re on a plane or have a cold you may experience this feeling. Muffled hearing is not always combined with this feeling, however.

Causes of muffled hearing

There are lots of potential causes of muffled hearing. Identifying the root cause of your muffled hearing can be essential in developing a successful treatment plan. Here are a few of the most prevalent causes:

  • 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 loss of hearing). This earwax can typically be loosened up by utilizing a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. Do not use a cotton swab to try to free the earwax, as cotton swabs can condense your earwax and make the problem worse. We can help if the problem persists.
  • Travel: The changing altitude associated with air travel can often cause a feeling of fullness in the ear, followed closely by muffled hearing. Your hearing will go back to normal fairly quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Sometimes, muffled hearing can be the consequence of noise-related hearing loss. Sadly, this kind of hearing loss is normally permanent. Muffled hearing is often one of the first noticeable symptoms; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has likely already occurred. You should seek out treatment promptly to avoid your hearing growing significantly worse quickly.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from chronic hearing and balance problems. Over time, this disease can trigger tinnitus, loss of hearing (often starting with muffled hearing), and dizziness or loss of balance. There’s no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be managed.
  • Age-related hearing loss: Most people will experience decreasing hearing as they age. After all, there are few senses as acute when you are 80 as when you are 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the consequence of this natural decline of your hearing.
  • Infection: Swelling of the ear canal will often come with problems such as ear infections or sinus infections. This inflammation can cause your ear canal to swell shut, effectively decreasing your ability to hear. Muffled hearing symptoms brought on by infections will normally go away once the underlying illness has been treated.

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

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Some forms of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The treatment for your muffled hearing will change depending on the base cause. For example, if excessive earwax buildup is the primary cause, we might use specific tools to help you clear out your ear canal. Muffled hearing caused by an ear infection will typically clear up once the infection has been managed, so antibiotics are frequently prescribed.

Symptom management is usually the approach when you’re dealing with sensorineural hearing loss as opposed to a cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. However, symptoms can be managed. This may take several forms, but the most prevalent is the use of a pair of hearing aids so that you can bring clarity to what you hear.

Hearing aids can help you remain connected to loved ones and tackle your day-to-day activities without a substantially noticeable impact, especially when this process is initiated quickly.

Avoiding muffled hearing

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

Getting your hearing examined, however, can help identify any causes of muffled hearing and can help prevent any long-term hearing loss that might be developing. Contact us for an appointment right away.

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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.
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