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Is tinnitus causing your hearing to be muffled?

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Your hearing could be muffled because of ringing, buzzing, hissing, whistling, or clicking that isn't really there, known as tinnitus. This is when you hear ringing, buzzing, hissing, whistling, or clicking that isn't really there. It's one of the most common health issues in the U.S. -- in fact, about 15% of Americans have some form of it.

Tinnitus isn't a disease. Rather, it's a symptom of some other health condition. More than 200 disorders can cause it. Some of the more common ones include:

Depending on the condition that causes it, tinnitus can go away on its own, or you might have it for a long time. There's no specific cure for it, but some treatments can help. These include sound therapy, behavioral therapy, and hearing aids in the case of hearing loss. if your hearing does not improve, make sure to see your doctor to find out what it is and what to do about it.

  • Age-related hearing loss
  • Certain drugs, including some antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and water pills or diuretics
  • Common cold
  • Earwax buildup
  • Head or neck injury
  • Meniere's disease
  • Noise-induced hearing loss
  • Sinus pressure
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ

From: Why Is My Hearing Muffled? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery: "Ear Wax and Care."

American Hearing Research Foundation: "Ear Wax."

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: "Causes of Hearing Loss in Adults."

American Tinnitus Association: "Causes," "Treatment Options," "Understanding the Facts."

Cleveland Clinic: "Cerumen Impaction."

Mayo Clinic: "Airplane Ear," "Meniere's Disease."

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders: "Age-Related Hearing Loss," "Noise-Induced Hearing Loss."

Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein on August 1, 2018

SOURCES:

American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery: "Ear Wax and Care."

American Hearing Research Foundation: "Ear Wax."

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: "Causes of Hearing Loss in Adults."

American Tinnitus Association: "Causes," "Treatment Options," "Understanding the Facts."

Cleveland Clinic: "Cerumen Impaction."

Mayo Clinic: "Airplane Ear," "Meniere's Disease."

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders: "Age-Related Hearing Loss," "Noise-Induced Hearing Loss."

Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein on August 1, 2018

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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