Common hearing problems
If you’re hearing sounds muffled or like there’s water in your ear, then this could be due to something as simple as a cold or hay fever. Both cause congestion which can affect your ears and make your hearing feel muffled. Similarly, sinus infections can impact your hearing, too. When hearing loss occurs due to congestion it's likely to clear up on its own.
Another cause is ear wax. A wax build-up can cause conductive hearing loss which can lead to hearing feeling muffled. To treat an ear wax build up, softeners are available over-the-counter, or you can use a few drops of olive oil.
If you’re a regular swimmer, you might be experiencing something known as swimmer’s ear.
Hearing ringing in the ears
If you experience a buzzing or ringing sound in your ears, this is most likely tinnitus. In fact, tinnitus can be a range of sounds, from ringing, humming, hissing, whooshing or throbbing.
Tinnitus is common and often no cause for concern. Sometimes, tinnitus will come and go and be manageable, but other times it will cause people significant disruption. Chronic tinnitus can lead to lack of concentration, insomnia and even depression.
Causes of tinnitus
Hearing a buzzing sound can be caused by:
Loud noise exposure
Anxiety or depression
Medications such as antibiotics, NSAIDS or chemotherapy
Treatment of tinnitus varies as different people respond better to different methods and techniques. For example, white noise machines can be really helpful to some.
Hearing a heartbeat
Hearing a heartbeat in your ear can be distressing and disorienting. Hearing rhythmic thumping, whooshing or experiencing throbbing in one or both ears is known as ‘pulsatile tinnitus’. It is common for pulsatile tinnitus to worsen when someone is lying down.
Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing a sound that's not coming from the outside world, often a ringing or buzzing noise. However, pulsatile tinnitus is a rhythmic sound that usually has the same rate as a heartbeat.
What causes pulsatile tinnitus?
The causes of hearing a heartbeat in your ear include:
Labyrinthitis (inner ear infection) - This typically follows a cold or flu and is caused by bacteria. As well as pulsatile tinnitus, labyrinthitis also causes vertigo, ear ache and hearing loss.
High blood pressure
Build up of ear wax
Ruptured ear drum
If you are concerned about your hearing you should seek advice from
a healthcare provider to determine the cause.
Hearing white noise
Hearing white noise is also a symptom of tinnitus, which can manifest in different ways for different people.
Interestingly, listening to white noise from sound machines can improve the symptoms of tinnitus. Listening to white noise as you fall asleep, for example, is a common part of sound therapy or sound enrichment, which is used to distract you from the noises of tinnitus.