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Muffled Hearing, the Causes and What You Can Do for Relief

Inflammation of the ear canal may enlarge the passage to the inner ear and lead to muffled hearing or blocked up awareness and discomfort.

Table of Content

1. Muffled hearing and sudden hearing loss.
Ear infections and muffled hearing.
3. Treatment for muffled hearing.
4. The cause may be due to a blockage.

Muffled Hearing and Sudden Hearing Loss

Some people have muffled hearing while down with a common cold, it can also happen after getting a cold. If so, you probably know about those annoying symptoms such as ear pain, dizziness, and the muffled hearing they often bring.

Another reason that can be corrected is the use of certain medications that prompt muffled hearing as a side effect. Sometimes though, the reasons for muffled hearing are far more deceptive.

Medical Treatment Can Often Fix This Hearing Loss

The most common hearing loss during a cold or the flu is a conductive hearing loss. This hearing loss usually is short-lived, and your hearing will return in a time frame of a few days to a few weeks.

Certain infections and illnesses may cause muffled hearing or hearing loss in one ear. An ear infection, for instance, causes fluid to build up in the middle ear, blocking the sound from entering the inner ear.

If left untreated, Eustachian tube dysfunction can lead to recurring ear infections, hearing loss and even chronic dizziness. An outer ear infection, generally known as swimmer’s ear, is often caused by water caught in the ear-canal and will also lead to sudden hearing loss.

  • Yawn or chew gum to relieve tension in your Eustachian tubes.
  • In about 5% of cases, there may be an unexpected loss of hearing.
  • Your hearing may return to normal after your cold clears up.
  • Blocked Eustachian tubes frequently get better on their own.

Once you notice muffled hearing loss in one ear, you may have other symptoms that add to your problem. Because a sinus infection or middle ear infection caused ear blockage and muffled hearing, your doctor may direct you to an antibiotic to clear the infection.

Everyone needs earwax; however, excessive levels which can harden are likely to lead to a feeling of blocked ears and muffled hearing. As can be seen, there are several reasons you might be experiencing muffled hearing.

Damage to the eardrum may also be responsible for muffled hearing. The severity of muffled hearing and its symptoms often vary according to the underlying cause.

Ear infections could be caused by either fungi or bacteria.

Bouts of dizziness may come on quickly or after a short period of tinnitus or muffled hearing. If you experience muffled hearing or hearing loss in one ear, contact a physician, preferably a physician specialising in diseases of the ear.

Muffled hearing might be prompted by something as simple as congestion from the common cold or hay fever, in which case, your hearing may steadily improve on its own. Sometimes referred to as a ruptured eardrum, an eardrum perforation is another cause of muffled hearing.

Ear Infections and Muffled Hearing

Simple viruses can also provoke ear infections and affect the middle ear and its proper conduction of sounds. A mixture of factors or medical conditions can cause this, including a build-up of earwax and ear infections.

A ear infection in either the ear canal or middle ear will lead to a build-up of fluid within the ear, blocking sounds from reaching the inner ear. Should the fluid becomes infected, the common ear infection develops.

People Should Never Ever Use Cotton Swabs to Clean Their Ears

Ear infections of different kinds and causes can create swelling in your ear canal or middle ear. Fungal ear infections are a lot more common in people who often swim, live in tropical climates, or have diabetes or chronic skin ailments.

These bacterial or viral infections occur whenever fluid accumulates in the middle ear due to swelling or inflammation in the Eustachian tube. Viral infections can also play a role in sudden Sensorineural hearing loss where inflammation may cause the blood supply going to the ear to be disrupted.

Those with chronic ear infections may need further handling, such as inserting a small tube in the eardrum to drain fluid and prevent future infections. Hearing loss due to an ear infection customarily has a very sudden onset. It may come with a sense of dizziness or even nausea.

Will My Muffled Hearing Last Long?

Clogged ears resulting from a mild ear infection usually only lasts one or two weeks. When the problems are with the inner ear, they then could stay longer. Mild ear infections usually clear up by themselves, and you can alleviate the pain with painkillers, ear drops, or by applying a warm cloth to your ear.

Ear infections are not only painful, but they can also cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. Temporary hearing loss can strike anyone, but it’s most likely to impact people exposed to loud noises or those that have a bad cold and ear infection.

Children that have frequent ear infections may also develop Otitis Media with effusion after their condition has cleared up if fluid stays in the middle ear. A sinus infection happens whenever the cavities around the nasal passage become inflamed and swollen.

Luckily, most hearing loss caused by sinus infection, pressure or sinusitis is temporary and hearing returns to regular once the sinus congestion clears. For some others, the problem becomes chronic, so they have infections frequently.

Getting help from a doctor will help preserve your hearing.

Chronic ear infections can lead to problems that mean a more significant and maybe even lasting hearing loss, mostly if the issues remain untreated. Middle ear infections frequently cause ear pain and ear drainage. Although some middle ear infections are mild and clear on their own.

Your ears, nose and throat are intimately connected, and if you get an infection in that area, it can make your hearing feel a little muffled. When your short hearing loss is the result of something, such as an infection or blockage, you should look for treatment to clear up the issue before it worsens.

Treatment for Muffled Hearing

Getting timely treatment increases the chance you will recover at least some of your hearing. Sometimes, treatment is unnecessary as the ear clears up on its own.

When the condition is persistent or frequent, getting an evaluation by an audiologist may provide clarity on the situation and an appropriate treatment plan. Ensuring that you get the right treatment for any causes listed above can help prevent possible long-term complications.

It's Essential to Follow the Instructions Your Doctor Provides

Treatments might include antibiotics, but that’ll be up to your doctor. After an ear infection, your hearing may not return to normal, and you must explore your treatment options.

It’s crucial to talk to your doctor right away so you can get treatment. Your health care team might do tests to find the cause of hearing problems during cancer treatment.

The longer the situation may go untreated, the less likely it is that the nerves will react to treatment. Until and unless you can pinpoint the exact nature and extent of your hearing loss, treatment options will be unclear.

  • Medications plus other treatments may help with symptoms.
  • Tinnitus can also begin or increase when you have a cold.
  • A nasal balloon may help clear the fluid from the middle ear.
  • Audiologists usually take care of non-medical hearing problems.

A specialist should manage treatment and can include surgery or antibiotics. Suppose your hearing loss is severe, does not respond to treatment, or perhaps happens in both ears. Should that be the case, then your doctor may suggest you use hearing aids or even receive cochlear implants.

Many patients having sudden hearing loss are initially misdiagnosed as having an ear infection or impacted earwax, which delays treatment. Even if you think it’s just a symptom of your seasonal allergies, postponing treatment can make its effects even worse.

Do not expose yourself to loud sounds.

But there are ways to control hearing problems effectively during and after specific treatments. Professional help can safely assess your situation and apply expertise towards creating a treatment plan that best fits your particular needs.

If you have got an ear infection, see your healthcare provider for treatment. Sometimes, further treatment is needed if doctors discover that the underlying cause of the hearing loss is a secondary medical issue.

The Cause May Be Due to a Blockage

Blockages of the ear, including a foreign object, dirt or earwax, or fluid because of colds and allergies, may also cause conductive hearing loss. The compacted earwax in the ear canal is a common cause for what feels like muffled hearing.

Earwax plays a vital role in the sensory system and helps prevent bacteria/dust from getting into the ear. The compacted earwax forms a barrier making it much harder for sound waves to pass from the outer ear to the inner ear.

Hearing Loss Taking Place as You Age Is Common

Usually, this wax drains little by little out of the ears. Still, continued use of earplugs can prevent draining, and even pack the earwax tightly into the ear canal. A usual side effect of compacted earwax is tinnitus or ringing in the ears.

And since manually removing earwax with a cotton swab is not recommended, there aren’t many other DIY options available. If it’s severe, a hearing specialist will use tools and equipment to remove the earwax.

What Is Causing My Ear to Feel Plugged?

Plugged ears can be prompted by a few different things, including fluid in the ear, changes in atmospheric pressure, excessive ear wax, or objects obstructing your eardrum. Each cause has a further treatment. When you’re not sure what’s causing your discomfort, it’s worth seeking a professional opinion.

The only way you’ll find out for sure and to remove the earwax safely from the affected ear is to see a physician or your hearing healthcare professional. The specialist may prescribe ear drops, try to remove the earwax, or try hearing tests.

Earwax impaction, sinus pressure, and ear infections can cause clogged and ringing ears. With age, earwax becomes more rigid and less fluid.

People with Eustachian tube blockage can develop a fullness feeling in the ear, even dulled hearing, and quite possibly once this happens. Those that have poorly functioning Eustachian tubes can experience similar symptoms when they’re riding in elevators, driving in the mountains, or diving to the bottom of a swimming pool.

Sinus infections can also cause issues with your ears.

Sometimes, fluids build up behind the eardrum and cannot escape through the dysfunctional Eustachian tubes. The Eustachian tube becomes blocked and prevents a free flow of air into the middle ear, resulting in the difference of air pressure mentioned above.

If you encounter muffled hearing or a sudden change in hearing in one ear, see an Ear, Nose, and Throat practitioner immediately. However, suppose you have not participated in the before mentioned activities and are still struggling with muffled hearing in one or both ears. In that case, it can have another root source.

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