Muffled Hearing: Causes and Solutions

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 temporary situation. But muffled hearing can also be an indication that a more severe hearing issue is occurring. In part, that’s because, aside from sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is usually not a condition that develops suddenly. Symptoms appear slowly over a long time period.

Often, 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 permanent hearing loss. Every year millions of people experience muffled hearing.

Maybe you’re wondering if you should be concerned about your muffled hearing. The answer depends on several factors. Recognizing the root cause of your muffled hearing is essential to finding the right treatment strategy. Added damage can be avoided and your hearing can get back to normal with some quick solutions. Calling us for a consultation can help you begin this process, typically leading to successful treatments, so you can continue enjoying the sounds of your day-to-day life.

What is muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing takes place when sound is not able to travel through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it usually does. This leads to a noticeable decrease in sound quality. Hearing won’t be entirely gone with muffled hearing but things will sound garbled and quieter. Discerning speech and language can be especially tough.

In many instances, and depending on the underlying cause, muffled hearing can be combined with a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Sometimes, when you’re taking a flight or have a cold you might experience this feeling. Muffled hearing is not always accompanied by this feeling, however.

What causes muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing can be caused by all kinds of issues. Figuring out the underlying cause of your muffled hearing can be important in establishing a successful treatment plan. Here are a few of the most prevalent causes:

  • Travel: The changing altitude related to air travel can frequently cause a plugged feeling in the ear, followed closely by muffled hearing. Your hearing will go back to normal rather quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Age-associated hearing loss: 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 they were when you are 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the outcome of this normal diminishing of your ability to hear.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from persistent hearing and balance problems. Over time, this disease can trigger tinnitus, loss of hearing (frequently beginning with muffled hearing), and dizziness or loss of balance. There is no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be managed.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss caused by noise damage can sometimes bring about muffled hearing. This type of hearing loss is, regrettably, normally irreversible. Muffled hearing is often one of the very first detectable symptoms; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has most likely already occurred. You should seek out treatment promptly to avoid your hearing growing significantly worse quickly.
  • Infection: Swelling of the ear canal will frequently accompany problems like ear infections or sinus infections. This will reduce your ability to hear by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Muffled hearing symptoms caused by infections will normally go away after the underlying illness has been treated.
  • 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. 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. We can help if the issue persists.

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

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing have a cure. 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 clear out your ear canal. Antibiotics are usually prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

When it comes to sensorineural hearing loss, the emphasis changes to symptom management rather than a complete cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can not be reversed. However, symptoms can be controlled. There may be numerous strategies to this treatment including a pair of hearing aids.

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

Avoiding muffled hearing

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

However, in most cases, 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.

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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