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Conductive Hearing Loss: Causes and Treatment Options

What is Conductive Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss is considered a problem of conduction when the outer ear, eardrum, or middle ear restricts sound from being processed. This type of hearing loss is not noise-induced (though the ear may also suffer from some noise-induced hearing loss), and it is often reversible either medically or surgically if there is no damage to hair cells in the ear.

Potential Causes:

There are many potential causes of conductive hearing loss, with some problems being easier to treat than others. This type of hearing loss may be indicative of something more serious, such as a tumor on the hearing nerve, or something relatively easy to remedy, such as an earwax blockage in the ear canal. Malformation of the outer or middle ear structures, a middle ear infection in which fluid accumulates behind the eardrum, abnormal bone growth in the middle ear, a hole in the eardrum, or poor Eustachian tube function may be responsible for conductive hearing loss.

Treatment Options:

Treatment for conductive hearing loss varies based on the circumstances. Antibiotics or antifungal medications are usually prescribed for ear infections, whereas surgery is usually an option for malformed or abnormal outer or middle ear structures and other physical problems. Hearing aids are often the best answer when surgery is not possible, because they significantly improve hearing and are convenient. Though usually not necessary, cochlear implants that directly stimulate the cochlear nerves are another option.

Learn about the other types of hearing loss:

If you have any questions about conductive hearing loss or hearing loss in general, please contact one of our locations to speak with an audiologist.