Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the way sound is conducted to the inner ear and a structure called the cochlea. The problem may lie in the ear canal, eardrum (tympanic membrane), or the middle ear (ossicles and Eustachian tube). The inner ear remains unaffected in this type of hearing loss.
Types of conductive hearing loss
There are several types of conductive hearing loss. Some types of conductive hearing loss can be corrected with hearing aids. If the Corti organ in the cochlea functions normally, hearing aids can help transmit sound in in the outer or middle ear. Other types of conductive hearing loss can be treated medically or surgically.
What are the symptoms?
People with conductive hearing loss will find soft sounds difficult to hear at all pitches, both low and high.
- That sounds are muffled
- That sounds are very low or quiet
Causes of Conductive Hearing Loss
- Some causes of conductive hearing loss can include:
- Fluid in your middle ear from colds or allergies.
- Ear infection, or otitis media. Otitis is a term used to mean ear infection, and media means middle.
- Poor Eustachian tube function. The Eustachian tube connects your middle ear and your nose. Fluid in the middle ear can drain out through this tube. Fluid can stay in the middle ear if the tube does not work correctly.
- A hole in your eardrum.
- Benign tumors. These tumors are not cancer but can block the outer or middle ear.
- Accumulation of ear wax
- Infection in the ear canal, called external otitis. You may hear this called swimmer’s ear.
- An object stuck in your outer ear. An example might be if your child put a pebble in his ear when playing outside.
- A problem with how the outer or middle ear is formed. Some people are born without an outer ear. Some may have a deformed ear canal or have a problem with the bones in their middle ear.
- Cholesteatoma – A growth in the middle ear
- Otosclerosis – An abnormal bone growth near the middle ear.