Conductive Hearing Loss

A conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not transmitted efficiently at some point along the pathway from the outer ear canal to the oval window. The oval window separates the middle ear from the inner ear. This pathway includes the tympanic membrane (eardrum) and the ossicles (three small bones). A conductive hearing loss usually involves a reduction in sound level or the ability to hear faint sounds.

Causes of Conductive Hearing Loss

  • Fluid in the middle ear
  • Ear infection (otitis media)
  • Allergies (serous otitis media)
  • Exostoses (bony growths in the ear canal)
  • Poor eustachian tube function
  • Perforated eardrum
  • Benign tumors
  • Impacted earwax (cerumen)
  • Infection in the ear canal (external otitis)
  • Swimmer’s Ear (otitis externa)
  • A foreign body in the outer ear canal
  • Absence or malformation of the outer ear, ear canal, or middle ear

Treatment of Conductive Hearing Loss

A conductive hearing loss is often treated medically or surgically. However, in cases where medical or surgical intervention is not appropriate, individual’s with a conductive hearing loss may be a candidate for hearing aids. Because a conductive hearing loss typically impacts just the volume of sound and not the clarity of sound, individuals with a conductive hearing loss, who use hearing aids, generally adapt very quickly to their hearing aids.

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