Q. My hearing is muffled after a noise-induced hearing loss incident. Will it ever get better?

Answered by
Dr. Shyam Kalyan. N
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 05, 2017 and last reviewed on: Oct 09, 2018

Hello doctor,

I experienced a noise-induced hearing loss incident three days ago by firing a couple of shots from a rifle without using ear plugs. I went to see a doctor. He confirmed that my eardrums were not ruptured and prescribed 20 mg of Prednisone. As of now, my hearing is still muffled, loud noises hurt my ears, and my ears are still ringing. Whenever I plug and unplug my ears, my hearing returns to normal for 5 to 10 seconds. Will this muffled hearing improve or did I ruin my ears permanently?



Welcome to

  • We must continue the course of steroids (Prednisone). With time, we do hope that the hearing returns. It is hard to predict how much of an improvement you will have. It depends on the intensity of the sound that you exposed your ears to while firing. Since the duration must have been short, higher intensities are required to cause hearing loss.
  • High-intensity sounds cause a temporary shift in the hearing threshold, which is due to temporary stunning of hair cells in the ear. They return to normal when their bathing fluid gets replaced, nutrients replenish, and potentials return to normal. Steroids help improve the condition by reducing the inflammation that has occurred due to the acoustic trauma.
  • However, when the trauma is very severe and sound intensities are super high, the threshold shift becomes permanent. That is, permanent hearing damage occurs. Such a loss is due to the destruction of the function of hair cells and cannot be improved much. Mild improvement may occur.
  • The tinnitus is due to the trauma as well. The tinnitus should improve with time, and it should go away as you continue with the medication.
  • I suggest you get an audiogram test done to check the hearing threshold in either ear and quantify any hearing loss. This test can act as a reference point for any improvement or worsening. Till then it is advised you do not expose yourself to loud sounds. You must eat nutritious food.
  • Discuss with your doctor the advantages of giving the steroid injection directly into the ear so that it can act directly in the hearing apparatus.

Do revert if you need any further support. I will be happy to help you.

For more information consult an ENT otolaryngologist online -->

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