What is Conductive Hearing Loss?

October 3, 2014

Learn more about what it is, what causes it and how it’s treated


- Hearing loss is categorised according to the part of the auditory system that is damaged or affected There are three different types of hearing loss: conductive hearing loss, sensori-neural hearing loss and mixed hearing loss.


Conductive hearing loss is caused by any type of interference with the transmission of sound from the outer ear canal to the eardrum, and through the middle ear cavity and the tiny little bones or ossicles, to the inner ear. This type of hearing loss can often be corrected medically or surgically.


What are the symptoms?

Conductive hearing loss usually involves a reduction in intensity (volume), or the reduced ability to hear faint sounds.


How is it diagnosed?

To determine if a patient is suffering from conductive hearing loss, an Ear Nose and Throat or ENT doctor can determine the specific diagnosis and treatments for hearing loss and perform surgical treatments, if necessary.


What causes Conductive Hearing Loss?

-Fluid in the middle ear from a cold

-Ear infection


-Poor Eustachian tube function

-Perforated eardrum

-Benign tumours

-Impacted earwax

-Infection in the ear canal

-Swimmer’s Ear

-Presence of a foreign body

-Absence or malformation of the outer ear, ear canal, or middle ear (Atresia and/or microtia)


How is it treated?

Conductive hearing losses are usually treated medically or surgically depending on the cause:

-Middle ear infections can be treated with antibiotics. In severe cases in children, grommets can be inserted to release the pressure build up in the middle ear cavity and allow for the drainage of the accumulated fluid. If pressure is not released – the ear drum can collapse onto the middle ear bones. Severe retraction of the ear drum may necessitate ear tube surgery or a surgery to rebuild the ear drum

-A hole in the eardrum caused by infection or trauma may result in hearing loss as the sound vibrations are not effectively captured by the damaged ear drum. This condition is repaired surgically.

-An obstruction or blockage of the outer and/or middle ears may be easily cleared, and damaged ossicles can be sometimes be replaced by a prosthesis


Once the cause of the hearing loss is determined, the treatment and rehabilitative options can be considered to achieve the best possible hearing outcome and hearing related quality of life.

-For any middle ear problem that cannot be treated medically or surgically, with a persistent hearing lost, a bone anchored hearing implant (Baha) is the best solution.

Source:  http://www.audiologysa.co.za/

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