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Muffled hearing can present for lots of reasons. For most 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 develop gradually and over time.

One of the earliest symptoms of slowly developing long-term hearing loss is the feeling that your hearing is muffled. However, it’s important to point out that muffled hearing in and of itself is not always a sign of long-term hearing loss. Indeed, millions of individuals experience muffled hearing every year.

You might be wondering: when should I be concerned about muffled hearing? Generally, the answer tends to vary. Finding the best treatment for your muffled hearing depends on understanding the underlying cause. Timely solutions can sometimes help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least minimize possible damage. Contacting us for a consultation can help you begin this process, typically resulting in successful treatments, so you can keep enjoying the sounds of your day-to-day life.

What is muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing occurs when sound is not able to move through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it usually does. A very noticeable reduction in sound fidelity is the result. In the majority of cases, those with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but things sound quieter or jumbled. This may especially affect your ability to hear and understand voices and spoken language.

In many instances, 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 instance, when they have a cold or when they are taking a flight. This clogged feeling, however, doesn’t always come along with muffled hearing.

What causes muffled hearing?

There are lots of possible causes of muffled hearing. Identifying the root cause of your muffled hearing can be important in developing a successful treatment plan. Some of the most common causes of muffled hearing include the following:

  • Hearing loss related to age: As you get older, your hearing can diminish as a result of natural causes. Obviously, 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 normal decline of your ability to hear.
  • Travel: The changing air pressure associated with air travel can often cause a feeling of fullness in the ear, accompanied by muffled hearing. Your hearing will go back to normal relatively quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Earwax buildup: Normally, earwax is a positive thing. The health of your ear canal relies on the generation of earwax. But muffled hearing (and in some instances even hearing loss) can be the consequence of excess earwax. This earwax can typically be loosened up by utilizing a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. Never attempt to free stuck earwax with a cotton swab which will only pack the wax further up into the ear canal. If the issue continues, come in and see us.
  • Meniere’s Disease: When you have Menier’s Disease, you suffer from chronic hearing and balance issues. Dizziness, balance issues, tinnitus, and muffled ears will develop over time as a result of this disease. There’s no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be treated.
  • Infection: Sometimes, problems such as infections (such as sinus infections or ear infections) can result in swelling in the ear canal (this is especially true with ear infections). This inflammation can cause your ear canal to swell shut, effectively decreasing your ability to hear. Once the root infection clears, any inflammation it caused should also clear.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: In some cases, muffled hearing can be the result of noise-related hearing loss. This kind of hearing loss is, sadly, generally irreversible. Muffled hearing is often one of the earliest noticeable symptoms; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has probably already occurred. You should seek out treatment promptly to avoid your hearing getting substantially worse quickly.

The exact symptoms of muffled hearing will vary depending on the base cause.

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing can be cured. The treatment for your muffled hearing will differ depending on the base cause. For example, if excessive earwax buildup is the principal cause, we might use specific tools to help you clear out your ear canal. Antibiotics are typically prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

Symptom management is usually the approach when you’re dealing with sensorineural hearing loss rather than a cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can’t be cured. However, symptoms can be managed. There might be numerous approaches to this treatment including a set of hearing aids.

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

How to avoid muffled hearing in the first place

Some forms of muffled hearing are difficult 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 avoid any long-term hearing loss that may be developing. 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.
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