Woman in pain for tinnitus, sound and noise problem. Healthcare, pressure and hearing loss with girl suffering with muffled hearing.

There are a large number of reasons for muffled hearing. For the majority of individuals, it’s a short-term experience. But muffled hearing can also be a sign that a more serious hearing issue is happening. In part, that’s because, outside of sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is usually not a condition that develops suddenly. Symptoms develop slowly and over time.

One of the first symptoms of slowly advancing long-term hearing loss is the sense that your hearing is muffled. However, it’s important to point out that muffled hearing in and of itself is not always an indication of long-term hearing loss. Indeed, millions of people experience muffled hearing each year.

Perhaps you’re wondering if you should be concerned about your muffled hearing. The answer depends on a number of factors. Finding the best treatment for your muffled hearing depends on recognizing the underlying cause. Prompt solutions can sometimes help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least minimize possible harm. You will be able to go back to enjoying the sounds of your life after you get us to help you with some successful treatments.

What is muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing occurs when sound is unable to move through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it normally does. This results in a noticeable decrease in sound quality. In most cases, those with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but things sound quieter or distorted. Discerning speech and language can be especially tough.

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 individuals have experienced this feeling temporarily, for example, when they have a cold or when they are taking a flight. This plugged feeling, however, doesn’t always come along with muffled hearing.

What causes muffled hearing?

There are lots of potential causes of muffled hearing. In order to formulate the suitable course of treatment, it’s important to establish the root cause. Some of the most prevalent causes of muffled hearing include the following:

  • Travel: Altitude changes, such as when you’re on a plane, can lead to a feeling of muffled ears. Your hearing will go back to normal rather quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Earwax buildup: Normally, earwax is a good thing. The health of your ear canal relies on the generation of earwax. But muffled hearing (and in some circumstances even hearing loss) can be the consequence of excess earwax. This earwax can usually be loosened up by utilizing a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide. Never try to free stuck earwax with a cotton swab which will only push the wax further up into the ear canal. If the issue continues, come in and see us.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a chronic balance and hearing issue. Over time, this disease can cause tinnitus, hearing loss (frequently beginning with muffled hearing), and dizziness or loss of balance. There’s no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be treated.
  • Hearing loss related to age: Most individuals will experience decreasing hearing as they get older. Obviously, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less sharp than when you were 18. This natural diminishing in your ability to hear can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Infection: Sometimes, problems such as infections (such as sinus infections or ear infections) can result in swelling in the ear canal (this is especially true with ear 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 clear up once the root illness has been treated.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Sometimes, muffled hearing can be the result of noise-related hearing loss. Sadly, this type of hearing loss is normally permanent. Muffled hearing is frequently one of the very first noticeable symptoms; but damage to your stereocilia has likely already happened by the time you notice the distorted sounds. If you don’t find treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.

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

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing have a cure. The treatment for your muffled hearing will differ depending on the underlying cause. We may use some special tools to help clear out your ear canal if, for instance, earwax accumulation is at the root of your muffled hearing. 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 generally the approach when you have sensorineural hearing loss as opposed to a cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can not be cured. But it is possible to manage symptoms. This might take several forms, but the most common is using a set of hearing aids so that you can bring clarity to what you hear.

With hearing aids, you can keep enjoying your daily activities without hearing loss impacting your quality of life.

Avoiding muffled hearing

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

Getting your hearing examined, however, can help detect any causes of muffled hearing and can help prevent any long-term hearing loss that may be developing. These checkups can help you stay on top of your hearing health and get treatment quickly.

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