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There are a wide variety of reasons for muffled hearing. For the majority of individuals, it’s a temporary experience. But muffled hearing can also be an indication that a more severe hearing issue is taking place. That’s because, for the most part, hearing loss is a gradually developing condition. Symptoms progress gradually and over time.

Typically, one of the first recognizable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. Muffled hearing, however, isn’t necessarily a sign that you’re developing long-term hearing loss. Indeed, millions of people experience muffled hearing each year.

Maybe you’re wondering if you should be concerned about your muffled hearing. The answer depends on a number of factors. Recognizing the root cause of your muffled hearing is essential to finding the correct treatment approach. Timely solutions can sometimes help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least reduce possible damage. Calling us for a consultation can help you start this process, typically leading to successful treatments, so you can continue enjoying the sounds of your everyday life.

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 quality is the result. In most instances, individuals with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but everything sounds quieter or distorted. Discerning speech and language can be particularly challenging.

Your ears will frequently also feel plugged up when your hearing is muffled. Lots of people have experienced this feeling for a short time, for instance, when they have a cold or are flying. Muffled hearing is not always associated with this feeling, however.

What causes muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing can be caused by all kinds of problems. In order to develop the appropriate course of treatment, it’s essential to determine the root cause. Here are several of the most common causes:

  • Earwax buildup: Normally, earwax is a good thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. But muffled hearing (and in some instances even hearing loss) can be the consequence of excess earwax. Try a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen the wax up. Never attempt to dislodge 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.
  • Infection: Sometimes, issues such as infections (including sinus infections or ear infections) can cause swelling in the ear canal (this is especially true with ear infections). This will diminish your hearing ability by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Muffled hearing symptoms due to infections will usually clear up once the root illness has been dealt with.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Sometimes, muffled hearing can be the outcome of noise-related hearing loss. Regrettably, this kind of hearing loss is usually permanent. One of the first recognizable symptoms is muffled hearing; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has most likely already occurred. If you don’t find treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.
  • Travel: Altitude changes, like when you’re on a plane, can cause a feeling of muffled ears. In most instances, this feeling will pass quickly and your hearing will go back to normal.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from persistent hearing and balance problems. Dizziness, balance problems, tinnitus, and muffled ears will manifest over time because of this disease. There’s no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be treated.
  • Age-associated hearing loss: Most individuals will experience decreasing hearing as they get older. Needless to say, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less sharp than when you were 18. This natural decline in your hearing ability can cause muffled hearing over time.

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

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing have a cure. The base cause of your muffled hearing will establish the treatment method. We might use some special tools to help clear out your ear canal if, for instance, earwax accumulation is at the root of your muffled hearing. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

When it comes to sensorineural hearing loss, the emphasis changes to symptom management as opposed to a complete cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can not be reversed. 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 remain connected to loved ones and go about your day-to-day activities without a substantially noticeable effect, particularly when this process is initiated quickly.

How to avoid muffled hearing in the first place

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

However, in most cases, regular hearing tests can help you avoid many of the causes of muffled hearing and detect 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.