What is a conductive hearing loss?
A conductive hearing loss is a hearing loss where the ear’s ability to conduct sound from the outer ear and middle ear into the inner ear is blocked or reduced. In this way, a conductive hearing loss differs from a sensorineural hearing loss, where the causes of the hearing loss are found in the inner ear. A conductive hearing loss is when the cause of the hearing loss is to be found in the process of conducting sound from the outer ear through the middle ear into the inner ear.
Symptoms of conductive hearing loss
A conductive hearing loss reduces the ability to hear at a normal hearing level. The symptoms of a conductive hearing loss are therefore partial or full loss of hearing. The hearing loss can be in one ear or both ears. If a conductive hearing loss occurs suddenly or the hearing is reduced more and more over a short time, you should see a doctor to get your ears examined.
Treatment of conductive hearing loss
Most cases of conductive hearing loss are temporary and are cured by means of appropriate medical treatment, so it is important to seek immediate medical assistance. Other types of conductive hearing losses can be treated with hearing aids or types of hearing implants. Finally, some types of conductive hearing loss can be treated through surgery.
Causes of conductive hearing loss
Can ear wax cause hearing loss? Yes, one of the most common causes of conductive hearing loss is a blockage in the external ear canal, usually caused by wax (excessive cerum). Other causes of conductive hearing loss can be infections of the ear canal, a perforated or ruptured eardrum, very small ears, cysts and tumours, or foreign objects in the ear canal. Otosclerosis, which is an abnormal growth of bone in the middle ear, can also cause a conductive hearing loss.
In the middle ear conductive hearing loss occurs due to chronic middle ear infections or glue ear, where fluids fill up the middle ear, so that the eardrum cannot move. Conductive hearing loss can also be caused by diseases, damage and physical changes in the middle ear such as otosclerosis, cholesteatoma, tumours and otic barotrauma.
What should I do if I have a conductive hearing loss?
If you think that you might have a conductive hearing loss you should see your family doctor or a hearing professional.
If you have a problem with your outer ear, do not try to do anything about it yourself. Rather, you should seek medical assistance.