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

There are a wide variety of reasons for muffled hearing. In most cases, this condition is temporary. But muffled hearing can also be a sign that a more severe hearing problem is happening. Partly, that’s because, aside from 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 gradually progressing long-term hearing loss is the sense that your hearing is muffled. However, it’s essential to mention that muffled hearing in and of itself isn’t always an indication of long-term hearing loss. Every year millions of people experience muffled hearing.

You may be wondering: when should I be worried about muffled hearing? The answer depends on several factors. Recognizing the root cause of your muffled hearing is essential to finding the right treatment approach. Prompt solutions can in some cases help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least reduce 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?

Muffled hearing happens when sound is not able to travel through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it ordinarily does. A rather noticeable reduction in sound quality is the outcome. In most cases, people with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but everything sounds quieter or distorted. Discerning speech and language can be especially difficult.

In many cases, and depending on the root cause, muffled hearing can be associated with a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Many individuals have experienced this feeling for a short time, for example, when they have a cold or are taking a flight. This clogged feeling, however, doesn’t always come along with muffled hearing.

What causes muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing can be caused by all kinds of issues. In order to develop the suitable course of treatment, it’s important to establish the root cause. Here are several of the most common causes:

  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is generally a helpful thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. However, too much earwax can eventually cause muffled hearing (or even hearing loss). Try a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen things up. Do not make use of a cotton swab to attempt to free the earwax, as cotton swabs can compact your earwax and make the problem worse. If the problem lingers, come in and talk to us.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss which results from noise damage can sometimes cause muffled hearing. This form of hearing loss is, sadly, usually irreversible. One of the earliest recognizable symptoms is muffled hearing; but damage to your stereocilia has likely already happened by the time you detect the distorted sounds. You should find treatment rapidly to avoid your hearing getting substantially worse quickly.
  • Hearing loss associated with age: As you age, your hearing can diminish due to natural causes. Needless to say, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less acute than when you were 18. Over time, muffled hearing can be the outcome of this natural diminishing of your hearing.
  • Travel: The changing air pressure associated with air travel can often cause a feeling of fullness in the ear, followed closely by muffled hearing. In most instances, this feeling will pass rapidly and your normal hearing will be restored.
  • Infection: Sometimes, problems like infections (including sinus infections or ear infections) can result in inflammation in the ear canal (this is particularly true with ear infections). This swelling can cause your ear canal to swell shut, effectively reducing your ability to hear. Muffled hearing symptoms brought on by infections will typically clear up once the root illness has been dealt with.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a long-term balance and hearing problem. Dizziness, balance problems, tinnitus, and muffled ears will develop over time because of this disease. There is no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be treated.

Depending on the root cause, the precise symptoms of muffled hearing will vary.

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Not all forms of muffled hearing have a cure. The root cause of your muffled hearing will determine the treatment strategy. We may use some special tools to help clear out your ear canal if, for example, earwax accumulation is at the root of your muffled hearing. Antibiotics are typically prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

Symptom management is usually the strategy when you’re dealing with sensorineural hearing loss rather than a cure. That’s because there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. But it is possible to manage symptoms. This may take several forms, but the most common is the use of a set of hearing aids in order to bring clarity to what you hear.

Hearing aids can help you stay connected to loved ones and tackle your day-to-day activities without a significantly noticeable effect, particularly when this process is initiated promptly.

How to avoid muffled hearing in the first place

Some types of muffled hearing are difficult to avoid, no matter what. Infections, for example, can’t always be avoided.

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