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 happen for lots of reasons. For most individuals, it’s a temporary experience. In other cases, muffled hearing can be a harbinger of more serious hearing-related problems. That’s because, for the most part, hearing loss is a gradually developing condition. Symptoms build slowly and over time.

Typically, one of the first noticeable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. However, it’s important to point out that muffled hearing in and of itself is not always an indication of permanent hearing loss. Each year millions of people experience muffled hearing.

You may be wondering: when should I be concerned about muffled hearing? Generally, the answer varies. Recognizing the root cause of your muffled hearing is crucial to finding the best treatment approach. Prompt solutions can in some cases help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least minimize possible harm. You will be able to get 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 travel 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 outcome. In the majority of cases, individuals with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but things sound quieter or jumbled. This may especially impact your ability to hear and understand voices and spoken language.

In many instances, and depending on the root cause, muffled hearing can be combined with a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Sometimes, when you’re on a plane or suffering from a cold you may experience this feeling. Muffled hearing isn’t always accompanied by this feeling, however.

What causes muffled hearing?

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

  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is generally a helpful thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. But muffled hearing (and in some circumstances even hearing loss) can be the result of excess earwax. Try a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen things up. Never attempt to free stuck earwax by using a cotton swab which will only pack the wax further up into the ear canal. We can help if the problem persists.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: In some cases, muffled hearing can be the outcome of noise-related hearing loss. Unfortunately, this kind of hearing loss is 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 taken place. If you don’t seek out treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.
  • Infection: Swelling of the ear canal will often come with issues such as ear infections or sinus infections. This swelling can cause your ear canal to be completely blocked, effectively decreasing your ability to hear. Muffled hearing symptoms brought on by infections will normally go away after the root illness has been dealt with.
  • Travel: The changing altitude associated with air travel can frequently cause a feeling of fullness in the ear, followed closely by muffled hearing. Your hearing will go back to normal relatively quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from persistent hearing and balance issues. Dizziness, balance issues, tinnitus, and muffled ears will develop over time as a result of this disease. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be managed but not cured.
  • Age-associated hearing loss: As you get older, your hearing can decline as a result of natural causes. After all, there are few senses as sharp when you are 80 as they were when you are 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the result of this normal decline of your ability to hear.

Depending on the underlying cause, the exact symptoms of muffled hearing will differ.

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Not all forms of muffled hearing have a cure. The underlying cause of your muffled hearing will establish the treatment method. For example, if excessive earwax buildup is the main cause, we might use specific tools to help you clean out your ear canal. Muffled hearing caused by an ear infection will likely clear up once the infection has been addressed, so antibiotics are often prescribed.

Symptom management is usually the strategy when you have sensorineural hearing loss rather than a cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can’t be cured. However, symptoms can be controlled. This may take a number of forms, but the most common is using a pair of hearing aids so that you can bring clarity to what you hear.

Hearing aids can help you remain connected to loved ones and tackle your daily activities without a substantially noticeable impact, particularly when this process is started quickly.

Avoiding muffled hearing

Some types of muffled hearing are hard to avoid, no matter what. 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 might be developing. Contact 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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