Causes of Muffled Hearing and Some Remedies

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. In most cases, this condition is temporary. In other instances, muffled hearing can be a harbinger of more substantial hearing-related issues. That’s because, for the most part, hearing loss is a slowly progressing condition. Symptoms build slowly and over time.

Often, one of the first recognizable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. However, it’s essential to point out that muffled hearing in and of itself isn’t always an indication of permanent hearing loss. Indeed, millions of individuals experience muffled hearing each year.

Maybe you’re wondering if you should be concerned about your muffled hearing. The answer depends on several factors. Understanding the root cause of your muffled hearing is critical to finding the best treatment approach. Prompt solutions can in some cases help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least reduce possible damage. You will be able to get back to enjoying the sounds of your life after you get us to assist you with some successful treatments.

Muffled Hearing – what exactly is it?

Muffled hearing takes place when sound is not able to travel through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it ordinarily does. A very noticeable decrease in sound fidelity is the result. Hearing won’t be entirely gone with muffled hearing but things will sound distorted and quieter. This may especially affect your ability to hear and understand voices and spoken language.

Your ears will often also feel clogged up when your hearing is muffled. Sometimes, when you’re taking a flight or have a cold you might experience this feeling. This plugged feeling, however, doesn’t always come along with muffled hearing.

Causes of muffled hearing

There are a lot of possible causes of muffled hearing. In order to establish the appropriate course of treatment, it’s important to figure out the root cause. Here are a few of the most common causes:

  • 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: As you get older, your hearing can diminish 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 natural diminishing of your ability to hear.
  • Earwax buildup: Usually, earwax is a positive thing. The health of your ear canal depends on the production of earwax. But muffled hearing (and in some cases even hearing loss) can be the consequence of excess earwax. This earwax can typically be loosened up by using a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide. Do not use a cotton swab to attempt to dislodge the earwax, as cotton swabs can condense your earwax and make the issue worse. We can help if the problem persists.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from chronic hearing and balance problems. Dizziness, balance problems, 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.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss which results from noise damage can sometimes cause muffled hearing. Sadly, this kind of hearing loss is usually irreversible. Muffled hearing is frequently one of the very first detectable symptoms; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has likely already occurred. If you don’t find treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.
  • Infection: Sometimes, issues like infections (including sinus infections or ear infections) can result in swelling in the ear canal (this is particularly true with ear infections). This swelling can cause your ear canal to be completely blocked, effectively reducing your ability to hear. Once the base infection clears, any inflammation it caused should also clear.

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

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Not all forms of muffled hearing can be cured. The root cause of your muffled hearing will establish the treatment method. We may use some specialized tools to help clear out your ear canal if, for example, earwax buildup is at the root of your muffled hearing. Muffled hearing caused by an ear infection will typically clear up once the infection has been addressed, so antibiotics are usually prescribed.

In terms of sensorineural hearing loss, the emphasis changes to symptom management as opposed to a complete cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can not be cured. But it is possible to manage symptoms. There may be numerous strategies to this treatment including a pair of hearing aids.

With hearing aids, you can continue to enjoy your day-to-day activities without hearing loss effecting your quality of life.

How to steer clear of muffled hearing in the first place

No matter what you do, certain kinds of muffled hearing can’t be avoided. For instance, ear infections and sinus infections are difficult to reliably avoid.

However, in most cases, routine hearing tests can help you avoid many of the causes of muffled hearing and detect any permanent hearing loss early. These checkups can help you stay on top of your hearing health and get treatment quickly.

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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    Dr. Laura Padham, Audiologist

    Ocean Gate, NJ

    143 W Barnegat Avenue
    Ocean Gate, NJ 08740

    Mobile Services in:Ocean, Monmouth, Middlesex, Somerset, Union, Essex, Hudson, Bergen, Passaic, Atlantic, Mercer, and Burlington Counties.

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