Hearing Solutions - Yukon, OK

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. For the majority of individuals, it’s a temporary situation. In other instances, muffled hearing can be a harbinger of more substantial hearing-related problems. Partly, that’s because, aside from sudden hearing loss, hearing loss is usually not a condition that progresses suddenly. Symptoms show up gradually over a long time period.

In many cases, one of the first noticeable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. However, it’s important to mention that muffled hearing in and of itself is not always a sign of long-term hearing loss. Indeed, millions of people experience muffled hearing each year.

You may be wondering: when do I need to be worried about muffled hearing? Generally, the answer varies. Understanding the root cause of your muffled hearing is essential to finding the correct treatment plan. Added damage can be avoided and your hearing can get back to normal with some prompt solutions. Contacting us for a consultation can help you begin this process, often leading to successful treatments, so you can continue enjoying the sounds of your everyday life.

Muffled Hearing – what exactly is it?

Muffled hearing occurs when sound is not able to travel through your outer, middle, and inner ear in the way that it usually does. This results in a noticeable decrease in sound quality. In the majority of instances, individuals with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but everything sounds quieter or distorted. This may particularly affect your ability to discern and understand voices and spoken language.

In many instances, and depending on the root cause, muffled hearing can be combined 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 flying. Muffled hearing is not always accompanied by this feeling, however.

What causes muffled hearing?

Muffled hearing can be caused by all kinds of problems. In order to formulate the suitable course of treatment, it’s essential to determine the root cause. Some of the most common causes of muffled hearing include the following:

  • Travel: The changing air pressure associated with air travel can frequently cause a plugged feeling in the ear, accompanied by muffled hearing. Your hearing will go back to normal relatively quickly once your physical conditions return to normal.
  • Infection: Sometimes, issues like infections (including sinus infections or ear infections) can cause swelling in the ear canal (this is particularly true with ear infections). This will diminish your hearing ability by causing the ear canal to swell shut. Once the base infection goes away, any inflammation it caused should also clear.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a long-term balance and hearing problem. Dizziness, balance issues, tinnitus, and muffled ears will develop over time as a result of this disease. The symptoms of Menier’s disease can be treated but not cured.
  • Age-related hearing loss: As you age, your hearing can decline as a result of natural causes. After all, there are few senses as sharp when you are 80 as they were when you are 18. This natural decline in your ability to hear can cause muffled hearing over time.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is usually a helpful thing. The health of your ear canal depends on the generation of earwax. But muffled hearing (and in some cases even hearing loss) can be the result of excess earwax. Try a couple of 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. If the issue lingers, come in and see us.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss caused by noise-related damage can sometimes cause muffled hearing. This type of hearing loss is, regrettably, normally irreversible. Muffled hearing is often one of the earliest detectable symptoms; but damage to your stereocilia has likely already happened by the time you notice the distorted sounds. If you don’t seek out treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.

Depending on the root cause, the exact symptoms of muffled hearing will differ.

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Not all kinds of muffled hearing can be cured. The underlying cause of your muffled hearing will establish the treatment method. For instance, if excess earwax buildup is the main cause, we may use specific tools to help you clear out your ear canal. Muffled hearing caused by an ear infection will typically clear up once the infection has been managed, so antibiotics are often prescribed.

When it comes to sensorineural hearing loss, the emphasis changes to symptom management as opposed to a total cure. That’s because sensorineural hearing loss can’t be reversed. However, symptoms can be managed. There might be several strategies to this treatment including a pair of hearing aids.

With hearing aids, you can keep enjoying your daily activities without hearing loss impacting your quality of life.

Avoiding muffled hearing

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

However, in most instances, regular 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 promptly.

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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.