Causes of Muffled Hearing and Some Remedies

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 the majority of people, it’s a short-term experience. In other instances, muffled hearing can be a harbinger of more significant hearing-related issues. That’s because, for the most part, hearing loss is a gradually progressing condition. Symptoms show up slowly over a long time period.

One of the earliest symptoms of slowly developing long-term hearing loss is the sense that your hearing is muffled. Muffled hearing, however, isn’t necessarily an indication that you’re developing long-term hearing loss. Each year millions of people experience muffled hearing.

You may be wondering: when do I need to be concerned about muffled hearing? The answer depends on various factors. Understanding the root cause of your muffled hearing is crucial to finding the correct treatment plan. Timely solutions can sometimes help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least reduce possible harm. You will be able to get back to enjoying the sounds of your life after you get us to assist you with some successful treatments.

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 rather noticeable decline in sound fidelity is the outcome. In the majority of instances, people with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but everything sounds quieter or jumbled. This might especially affect your ability to hear and understand voices and spoken language.

In many instances, and depending on the underlying cause, muffled hearing can be associated with a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Many people have experienced this feeling for a short time, for instance, when they have a cold or when they are taking a flight. Muffled hearing is not always combined with this feeling, however.

Causes of muffled hearing

Muffled hearing can be caused by a wide variety of issues. Identifying the underlying cause of your muffled hearing can be important in developing a successful treatment plan. Some of the most common causes of muffled hearing include the following:

  • 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 as a result of this disease. There’s no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be managed.
  • Earwax buildup: Usually, earwax is a good thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. 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 utilizing a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. Never attempt to dislodge stuck earwax with a cotton swab which will only push the wax further up into the ear canal. If the problem continues, come in and see us.
  • Hearing loss associated with age: As you get older, your hearing can diminish as a result of natural causes. Obviously, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less acute than when you were 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the outcome of this normal decline of your ability to hear.
  • Travel: The changing air pressure related to air travel can frequently cause a plugged feeling in the ear, accompanied by muffled hearing. Your hearing will go back to normal relatively quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Infection: In some cases, problems such as infections (including sinus infections or ear infections) can cause inflammation in the ear canal (this is especially true with ear infections). This swelling can cause your ear canal to swell shut, effectively decreasing your ability to hear. Once the underlying infection clears, any inflammation it caused should also clear.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Sometimes, muffled hearing can be the result of noise-related hearing loss. This kind of hearing loss is, unfortunately, normally irreversible. Muffled hearing is frequently one of the first noticeable symptoms; but by the time you detect the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has probably already taken place. If you don’t find treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.

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

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Some forms of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The base cause of your muffled hearing will establish the treatment method. For instance, if excessive 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 approach when you’re dealing with sensorineural hearing loss as opposed to a cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can’t be cured. However, symptoms can be managed. This might take a number of forms, but the most prevalent is using a pair of hearing aids in order to bring clarity to what you hear.

Hearing aids can help you stay connected to loved ones and go about your daily activities without a significantly noticeable effect, especially when this process is started promptly.

Avoiding muffled hearing

No matter what you do, some kinds of muffled hearing can’t be avoided. For example, ear infections and sinus infections are difficult to reliably avoid.

Getting your hearing tested, however, can help identify any causes of muffled hearing and can help prevent any long-term hearing loss that may be developing. 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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