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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 happen for lots of reasons. In most cases, this situation is temporary. In other cases, muffled hearing can be a precursor of more significant hearing-related problems. In part, that’s because, outside of sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is generally not a condition that progresses suddenly. Symptoms develop slowly over a long time period.

Typically, one of the first noticeable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. Muffled hearing, however, isn’t always an indication that you’re developing long-term hearing loss. Each year millions of people experience muffled hearing.

You might be wondering: when should I be worried about muffled hearing? Generally, the answer tends to vary. Finding the right treatment for your muffled hearing depends on understanding the root cause. Prompt 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 help 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 very noticeable reduction in sound fidelity is the result. Hearing won’t be totally gone with muffled hearing but things will sound distorted and quieter. Hearing speech and language can be especially tough.

Your ears will frequently also feel clogged up when your hearing is muffled. Many individuals have experienced this feeling temporarily, for example, when they have a cold or when they are flying. Muffled hearing isn’t always associated with this feeling, however.

Causes of muffled hearing

There are a lot of potential causes of muffled hearing. Identifying the underlying cause of your muffled hearing can be important in developing an effective treatment plan. Here are a few of the most common causes:

  • Infection: Sometimes, issues like infections (such as sinus infections or ear infections) can result in swelling 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. Once the base infection clears, any swelling it caused should also clear.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Sometimes, muffled hearing can be the result of noise-related hearing loss. This form of hearing loss is, regrettably, usually irreversible. Muffled hearing is frequently one of the first noticeable symptoms; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has likely already taken place. You should find treatment rapidly to avoid your hearing getting substantially worse quickly.
  • 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 relatively quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Hearing loss associated with age: Most people will experience diminishing hearing as they age. After all, there are few senses as acute when you are 80 as when you are 18. This natural diminishing in your ability to hear can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from chronic hearing and balance problems. Over time, this disease can cause tinnitus, hearing loss (often starting with muffled hearing), and dizziness or loss of balance. There’s no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be managed.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is usually a helpful thing. The health of your ear canal relies on the generation of earwax. 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. 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 problem lingers, come in and talk to us.

The exact symptoms of muffled hearing will differ depending on the base cause.

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Some types of muffled hearing can’t be cured. The root cause of your muffled hearing will establish the treatment strategy. For instance, if excessive earwax buildup is the main cause, we may use specific tools to help you clean out your ear canal. Antibiotics are usually prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

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

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

How to steer clear of muffled hearing in the first place

Some types of muffled hearing are hard to avoid, no matter what. For example, ear infections and sinus infections are difficult to reliably avoid.

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