A conductive hearing loss is a type of hearing loss that occurs when there is an impedance of the auditory pathway. Essentially sound that you hear is being made to lose energy before it gets to your hearing organ. The result of this is that things may feel quiet or muffled. This is usually caused by a blockage or mechanical problem somewhere in the ear before your cochlea.
The causes are too numerous to list here. Some of the more common causes are wax blockages, perforated eardrums, ear infections (of the outer or middle ear) and Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. Depending on the cause of a conductive loss, it can be reversible. Conditions like wax blockages can be treated simply with wax removal and will usually restore the hearing to normal levels. Other conditions may cause a permanent loss to one’s hearing.
The cause of the conductive loss can vary, and the impact can vary for different people. Some people have genetic predispositions towards certain conductive losses, others may suffer a one-time trauma which damages the hearing in this way. Others may experience a conductive loss from disease.
The treatment for conductive hearing loss will heavily depends on the cause of the loss. The results of a hearing test will determine whether someone has a conductive hearing loss. This, in combination with a person’s medical history, ear examination, and other forms of testing will help in determining a root cause of the loss. From there, treatment can be determined. If a loss has a more serious underlying cause or requires further investigation, one may be referred to their local ENT department for further testing and in some cases surgical or medical treatment may be required, if deemed necessary.
For permanent conductive losses, hearing aids or bone anchored hearing aids may be considered. As with sensorineural hearing losses, a hearing aid may benefit someone with a conductive hearing loss, giving them more clarity with the difficulties they are struggling with.