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.

Muffled hearing can present for a wide variety of reasons. In most cases, this situation is temporary. In other instances, muffled hearing can be a harbinger of more significant hearing-related problems. In part, that’s because, aside from sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is usually not a condition that progresses suddenly. Symptoms appear gradually over a long period of time.

Typically, one of the first recognizable 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. Every year millions of people experience muffled hearing.

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 crucial to finding the correct treatment strategy. 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.

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. A rather noticeable decrease in sound quality is the result. In the majority of cases, those with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but everything sounds quieter or jumbled. This might particularly impact your ability to hear and understand voices and spoken language.

In many cases, and depending on the root cause, muffled hearing can be accompanied by a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Lots of people have experienced this feeling for a short time, for example, when they have a cold or are flying. This plugged feeling, however, doesn’t always come with muffled hearing.

What causes muffled hearing?

There are lots of possible causes of muffled hearing. In order to develop the correct course of treatment, it’s essential to figure out the root cause. Here are several of the most prevalent causes:

  • Earwax buildup: Usually, earwax is a good thing. The health of your ear canal relies on the generation of earwax. But muffled hearing (and in some instances even hearing loss) can be the consequence of excess earwax. Try a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen things up. Do not make use of a cotton swab to try to dislodge the earwax, as cotton swabs can condense your earwax and make the issue worse. We can help if the problem persists.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from chronic hearing and balance issues. Dizziness, balance issues, tinnitus, and muffled ears will manifest over time due to this disease. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be managed but not cured.
  • Travel: Altitude changes, like when you’re on a plane, can cause a feeling of muffled ears. Your hearing will go back to normal rather quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Infection: Swelling of the ear canal will frequently come with problems such as ear infections or sinus infections. This inflammation can cause your ear canal to swell shut, effectively diminishing your ability to hear. Once the root infection goes away, any inflammation it caused should also clear.
  • Hearing loss associated with age: As you get older, your hearing can decline 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.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss caused by noise-related damage can sometimes result in muffled hearing. This kind of hearing loss is, unfortunately, usually permanent. One of the earliest recognizable symptoms is muffled hearing; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has probably already occurred. If you don’t seek out treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.

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

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing have a cure. The treatment for your muffled hearing will change depending on the underlying cause. We might use some specialized tools to help clear out your ear canal if, for instance, earwax buildup is at the root of your muffled hearing. Antibiotics are usually prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

Symptom management is usually the strategy when you have sensorineural hearing loss as opposed to a cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can’t be cured. However, symptoms can be controlled. There might be numerous strategies to this treatment including a pair of hearing aids.

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

How to avoid muffled hearing in the first place

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

However, in most instances, regular hearing tests can help you steer clear of many of the causes of muffled hearing and detect any permanent hearing loss early. Call 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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