Hearing Services of Nashville

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. 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, in general, hearing loss is a gradually developing condition. Symptoms show up slowly over a long time period.

Typically, one of the first noticeable symptoms is a sense that sounds feel muffled, distorted, or quieter. Muffled hearing, however, isn’t necessarily an indication that you’re developing long-term hearing loss. Indeed, millions of individuals experience muffled hearing each year.

Perhaps you’re wondering if you should be worried about your muffled hearing. Generally, the answer tends to vary. Understanding the root cause of your muffled hearing is crucial to finding the best treatment strategy. Prompt solutions can in some cases help get your hearing back to normal, or, at least reduce possible damage. Calling us for a consultation can help you begin this process, typically 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 ordinarily does. A rather noticeable decline in sound fidelity is the result. In most instances, individuals with muffled hearing can still hear some or even most things, but things sound quieter or distorted. Discerning speech and language can be particularly challenging.

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

What causes muffled hearing?

There are lots of potential causes of muffled hearing. In order to establish the suitable course of treatment, it’s essential to determine the root cause. Here are several of the most prevalent causes:

  • Travel: Altitude changes, such as when you’re on a plane, can lead to a feeling of muffled ears. In most cases, this feeling will go away quickly and your hearing will go back to normal.
  • Infection: Inflammation of the ear canal will frequently come with problems such as ear infections or sinus infections. This inflammation can cause your ear canal to swell shut, effectively decreasing your ability to hear. Muffled hearing symptoms brought on by infections will typically go away once the root illness has been dealt with.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is a chronic balance and hearing issue. Dizziness, balance issues, tinnitus, and muffled ears will manifest over time because of this disease. There’s no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but symptoms can be managed.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss which results from noise damage can sometimes bring about muffled hearing. Unfortunately, this type of hearing loss is normally irreversible. Muffled hearing is frequently one of the first detectable symptoms; but damage to your stereocilia has usually already occurred by the time you detect the distorted sounds. If you don’t seek out treatment quickly, your hearing will rapidly get worse.
  • Age-associated hearing loss: 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 consequence of this normal diminishing of your ability to hear.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is usually a helpful thing. It helps keep your ear canal healthy. But muffled hearing (and in some cases even hearing loss) can be the result of too much earwax. This earwax can typically be loosened up by using a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide. Do not utilize a cotton swab to attempt to dislodge the earwax, as cotton swabs can condense your earwax and make the issue worse. If the issue persists, come in and talk to us.

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

Is there a cure for muffled hearing?

Not all forms of muffled hearing can be cured. The treatment for your muffled hearing will change depending on the root cause. We may use some specialized tools to help clean out your ear canal if, for instance, earwax buildup is at the root of your muffled hearing. Antibiotics are typically 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 there’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. But it is possible to control symptoms. This might take several forms, but the most common is using a set of hearing aids so that you can bring clarity to what you hear.

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

Avoiding muffled hearing

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

Getting your hearing tested, however, can help detect any causes of muffled hearing and can help avoid any long-term hearing loss that may be developing. 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.
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