Audio Life Hearing Center- Knoxville, TN

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

Muffled hearing can present for lots of reasons. In the majority of cases, this condition is temporary. In other cases, muffled hearing can be a harbinger of more substantial hearing-related problems. That’s because, for the most part, hearing loss is a gradually progressing condition. Symptoms develop slowly and over time.

Often, one of the first recognizable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. Muffled hearing, however, isn’t always a sign that you are developing long-term hearing loss. Each year millions of people experience muffled hearing.

Perhaps you’re wondering if you should be concerned about your muffled hearing. Generally, the answer tends to vary. Finding the best treatment for your muffled hearing depends on recognizing the underlying cause. Additional damage can be prevented and your hearing can get back to normal with some prompt solutions. 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 happens when sound is unable to travel through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it normally does. A rather noticeable decline in sound quality is the result. Hearing won’t be completely gone with muffled hearing but things will sound distorted and quieter. Discerning speech and language can be especially tough.

In many cases, and depending on the underlying cause, muffled hearing can be associated with a sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears. Sometimes, when you’re on a plane or suffering from a cold you might experience this feeling. This plugged feeling, however, doesn’t always come with muffled hearing.

What causes muffled hearing?

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

  • Sensorineural hearing loss: In some cases, muffled hearing can be the result of noise-related hearing loss. Sadly, this form of hearing loss is usually irreversible. One of the earliest recognizable symptoms is muffled hearing; but by the time you notice the distorted sounds, damage to your stereocilia has most likely already happened. If you don’t find treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.
  • Travel: The changing altitude related to air travel can frequently cause a plugged feeling in the ear, accompanied by muffled hearing. Your hearing will go back to normal fairly quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a long-term balance and hearing problem. Over time, this disease can trigger tinnitus, hearing loss (frequently beginning with muffled hearing), and dizziness or loss of balance. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be managed but not cured.
  • Hearing loss related to age: Most people will experience diminishing hearing as they age. Obviously, when you’re 80 all of your senses will be less acute than when you were 18. This normal diminishing in your ability to hear can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Infection: In some cases, problems 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 caused by infections will typically clear up after the underlying illness has been dealt with.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is generally a helpful thing. The health of your ear canal depends on the production of earwax. But muffled hearing (and in some circumstances even hearing loss) can be the result of too much earwax. Try a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to loosen the wax up. Do not make use of a cotton swab to attempt to dislodge the earwax, as cotton swabs can compact your earwax and make the problem worse. If the problem persists, come in and talk to us.

The exact symptoms of muffled hearing will differ depending on the root cause.

Can muffled hearing be cured?

Not all forms of muffled hearing have a cure. The root cause of your muffled hearing will establish the treatment strategy. For example, if excess earwax buildup is the primary cause, we might use specific tools to help you clean out your ear canal. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed if your muffled hearing is being caused by an infection.

When it comes to sensorineural hearing loss, the focus changes to symptom management instead of a total cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can’t be cured. However, symptoms can be controlled. There may be numerous approaches to this treatment including a pair of hearing aids.

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

Avoiding muffled hearing

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

However, in most instances, routine 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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