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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 most individuals, it’s a temporary situation. In other instances, muffled hearing can be a precursor of more substantial hearing-related issues. That’s because, for the most part, hearing loss is a gradually developing condition. Symptoms show up gradually over a long time period.

One of the earliest symptoms of gradually progressing long-term hearing loss is the sense that your hearing is muffled. Muffled hearing, however, isn’t always a sign that you are developing permanent hearing loss. Indeed, millions of people experience muffled hearing each year.

You may be wondering: when should I be worried about muffled hearing? Generally, the answer tends to vary. Recognizing the root cause of your muffled hearing is essential to finding the best treatment strategy. Timely solutions can in some cases help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least minimize possible harm. Calling us for a consultation can help you start 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?

When sound can’t move through your outer, middle, and inner ear in a normal way, your hearing can sound muffled. This results in a noticeable decrease in sound quality. Hearing won’t be totally gone with muffled hearing but things will sound garbled and quieter. Hearing speech and language can be especially tough.

In many cases, and depending on the root cause, muffled hearing can be associated with a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Sometimes, when you’re taking a flight or have a cold you may experience this feeling. Muffled hearing is not always accompanied by this feeling, however.

What causes muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing can be caused by all kinds of issues. Determining the underlying cause of your muffled hearing can be important in establishing an effective treatment plan. Some of the most prevalent causes of muffled hearing include the following:

  • Infection: Sometimes, issues like infections (such as sinus infections or ear infections) can result in inflammation in the ear canal (this is especially true with ear infections). This will reduce your hearing ability by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Muffled hearing symptoms brought on by infections will usually go away after the root illness has been dealt with.
  • Age-related hearing loss: Most individuals will experience decreasing hearing as they age. Obviously, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less sharp than when you were 18. This normal decline in your ability to hear can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a chronic balance and hearing problem. Over time, this disease can trigger tinnitus, hearing loss (often starting with muffled hearing), and dizziness or loss of balance. There is no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be treated.
  • Earwax buildup: Normally, earwax is a good thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. But muffled hearing (and in some instances even hearing loss) can be the result of too much earwax. Try a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen things up. Never try to free stuck earwax by using a cotton swab which will only pack the wax further up into the ear canal. If the issue lingers, come in and talk to us.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: In some cases, muffled hearing can be the outcome of noise-related hearing loss. This form of hearing loss is, regrettably, generally permanent. Muffled hearing is frequently one of the earliest detectable symptoms; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has likely already occurred. You should find treatment rapidly to avoid your hearing getting significantly worse quickly.
  • Travel: The changing altitude associated with air travel can often cause a plugged feeling in the ear, followed closely by muffled hearing. In most cases, this feeling will pass quickly and your normal hearing will be restored.

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

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Some forms of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The base cause of your muffled hearing will establish the treatment strategy. For example, if excessive earwax buildup is the primary cause, we may 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.

When it comes to sensorineural hearing loss, the emphasis changes to symptom management instead of a total cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. But it is possible to manage symptoms. This may take a number of 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 stay connected to loved ones and tackle your daily activities without a substantially noticeable impact, particularly when this process is initiated promptly.

How to steer clear of muffled hearing in the first place

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

However, in most instances, routine hearing tests can help you steer clear of many of the causes of muffled hearing and identify any permanent hearing loss early. These checkups 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.
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