Conductive hearing loss is a type of hearing loss that occurs when there is a problem with the outer or middle ear, which blocks sound from reaching the inner ear. This type of hearing loss can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Earwax. Earwax is a natural substance that helps to protect the ear canal. However, if it builds up, it can block the ear canal and cause hearing loss.
- Fluid in the middle ear. Fluid in the middle ear can be caused by an infection, allergies, or a problem with the Eustachian tube, which is a small tube that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat.
- Damage to the eardrum. The eardrum is a thin membrane that separates the outer ear from the middle ear. If the eardrum is damaged, it can cause hearing loss.
- Damage to the bones of the middle ear. The bones of the middle ear (malleus, incus, and stapes) help to transmit sound vibrations to the inner ear. If these bones are damaged, it can cause hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss is usually temporary and can be treated with medication, surgery, or other interventions. In some cases, however, conductive hearing loss can be permanent.
The symptoms of conductive hearing loss can vary depending on the severity of the loss. People with conductive hearing loss may experience:
- Difficulty hearing soft sounds
- Muffleness or distortion of sound
- Difficulty understanding speech, especially in noisy environments
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor or audiologist for a hearing test. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent further hearing loss and improve your quality of life.
Here are some of the treatments for conductive hearing loss:
- Earwax removal. If earwax is blocking the ear canal, it can be removed by a doctor or audiologist.
- Medication. If fluid is in the middle ear, medication may be prescribed to help drain the fluid.
- Surgery. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair a damaged eardrum or bones of the middle ear.
- Hearing aids. Hearing aids can amplify sound and make it easier to hear.
The best treatment for conductive hearing loss will depend on the underlying cause of the loss. Your doctor or audiologist will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is right for you.