My Hearing Is Getting Muffled — Should I Be Worried?

My Hearing Is Getting Muffled — Should I Be Worried?

Are you experiencing difficulty hearing? Does it sound like others are far away when they’re talking to you, even though they’re sitting beside you? Hearing loss can be gradual or sudden, depending on the cause. 

Your hearing is a critical sense that helps you navigate your environment. Without satisfactory hearing, you’re more at risk for motor vehicle accidents, falls, and other injuries. If your hearing is muffled, something is amiss and you need the help of a specialist. 

Dr. Nilesh Patel, MD, is a board-certified otolaryngologist who specializes in ear, nose, and throat disorders. Dr. Patel gets to the root cause of your hearing difficulty during a comprehensive exam and develops a treatment plan to help you hear more clearly. 

Following are common reasons why your hearing may be compromised. 

Age-related hearing loss

Having difficulty hearing is one of the most common age-related complaints of seniors. Up to 50% of adults over age 75 have some degree of hearing loss, as do one-third of adults aged 65 to 74.   

Your ear’s complex mechanisms age just like the rest of your body. Changes in the neural connections from the middle and inner ear to the brain may occur as you age. The inner ear may stop functioning as it should.  

If others in your family have experienced hearing loss, you’re more likely to experience it also. Your genes very likely play a part in whether you’ll have difficulty hearing as you grow older. 

It’s important to seek treatment for age-related hearing loss and use aids to help you hear. Studies show that seniors with untreated hearing loss are more likely to experience cognitive decline.

Ruptured eardrum

Did you know that you could rupture your eardrum by putting something as small as a cotton-tipped swab in it? Never put any object in your ear. 

If you have muffled hearing, it’s important to call our office for an appointment to rule out a serious ear disorder. A ruptured eardrum that’s left untreated can result in chronic infections, drainage, and/or hearing loss. Your ruptured eardrum may need antibiotic drops or other treatment which Dr. Patel administers.  

Health conditions and medications

Do you have diabetes or high blood pressure? Either condition can lead to hearing loss. 

Do you take medication for cancer, heart disease, or a lingering infection? Some of these medications can damage your inner ear, causing hearing loss. In addition, some pain relievers can cause hearing problems. 

Loud noise

Do you love listening to music through your headphones or earbuds? Loud music or other persistent loud noises such as snowblowers, lawn mowers, or jackhammers can cause permanent hearing loss. 


If voices sound far away all of a sudden, the problem may simply be earwax. Don’t try to dislodge the earwax yourself. We repeat: Never put an object in your ear. We use modern vacuum technology to whisk away your earwax and restore your hearing. 

If you have earwax, a ruptured eardrum, vertigo, an infection, or another ear disorder, Dr. Patel treats it so that you can hear again. If you have age-related hearing loss and need a hearing aid, Dr. Patel can refer you to an audiologist who can review the types of aids that best meet your needs. 

Call either of Dr. Patel’s Midtown, New York, offices or book an appointment through our online portal today. We take same-day appointments if you need one.

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