Conductive hearing loss is one of the three main types of hearing loss. This type of hearing loss potentially affects people of all ages. There are a variety of causes, signs, and symptoms of conductive hearing loss.
Diagnosis of the condition requires testing by a specialist, and only a specialist with expertise in treating hearing loss can determine if one of the solutions or treatments for conductive hearing loss is an option for you or your loved one.
What is Conductive Hearing Loss?
Conductive hearing loss happens when sounds cannot get through your outer ear, and your middle ear. Do you have difficulty hearing soft sounds? Do some voices sound muffled to you?
These are examples of how conductive hearing loss affects some people, when the condition causes issues with conversion of sound waves. When you or your loved one has conductive hearing loss, the sound waves do not reach the inner ear.
Some people exhibit signs of conductive hearing loss during infancy or childhood, while others develop the condition in their later years.
Signs and Symptoms of Conductive Hearing Loss
The signs and symptoms of conductive hearing loss vary, and potentially depend on the reasons that you or a family member develops this type of hearing loss.
Do you have difficulty hearing people that speak softly, or difficulty hearing faint sounds that other people hear with no problems? Do you hear loud sounds, yet the sounds still sound muffled? These are some signs of possibly conductive hearing loss.
If you experience pain in one or both ears, have a sense of fullness or pressure, aching, or other abnormal sensations, these are possible signs of conductive hearing loss. Some individuals with conductive hearing loss experience dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus, or other signs and symptoms.
Conductive Hearing Loss Causes
Conductive hearing loss is caused by a variety of factors and conditions. When a person is born with some deformities of the ear, the resulting conductive hearing loss often continues into adulthood, particularly if there is no early diagnosis or treatment. Some individuals have deformities of the outer ear, or an absent outer ear, while other people are born with deformities to the ear canal.
Perhaps you or your loved one has a condition where there are issues with the bones of the middle ear. Otosclerosis, a condition that occurs when there are abnormal bone growths in the middle ear, is responsible for the conductive hearing loss experienced by some people.
While conditions at birth, or in later development of the ear is a potential cause of conductive hearing loss, there are other causes that sometimes lead to an earlier diagnosis, and possible earlier treatment.
Earwax is one cause of conductive hearing loss. While that cause likely seems minor to some people, a buildup of earwax, particularly among seniors, is a potentially dangerous condition.
A Healthline article indicates that a buildup of earwax sometimes leads to pressure buildup, and balance issues in addition to the hearing loss. Several studies link hearing loss with increased cognitive decline and dementia. When you or your senior loved one has a buildup of impacted earwax, called ‘cerumen impaction,' this possibly results in conductive hearing loss.
Fluid in one or both ears, ear infection, or scarring on the eardrum resulting from repeated ear infections are potential causes of conductive hearing loss.
Children are not the only people that get a foreign object stuck in their ear canal. Adults, including seniors, receive treatments from private physicians and emergency department staff after getting a foreign object stuck in their ear, either by accident or because of an injury. Any foreign object in the eardrum increases the risk that you will develop conductive hearing loss.
Trauma to the ear or brain, even without getting a foreign object lodged in or near the eardrum, potentially increases your chances of experiencing conductive hearing loss. If you have any type of injury or trauma to one or both ears and experience any degree of hearing loss, even if you feel it is minor, inform your physician or other medical team member as soon as possible.
Conductive Hearing Loss Solutions and Treatment
Receiving treatment for conductive hearing loss first requires testing to confirm the diagnosis. There are several types of tests that accurately diagnose your suspected conductive hearing loss, and the severity of your specific degree of hearing loss. Once you have this information, the next step is developing a treatment plan with possible solutions specifically for you.
Some conductive hearing loss is temporary, while in other cases, the condition results in permanent hearing loss. Placing tubes in the eardrums that removes fluid, treating ear infections, and removing impacted earwax possibly helps with treatment.
Medications work for some people with conductive hearing loss, while others benefit from surgery, depending on the cause of their hearing loss.
When your hearing loss is permanent, there are solutions and treatments that possibly help improve your quality of life. Learning to read lips or learning sign language allows individuals with hearing loss to communicate better.
Consider a hearing aid, which helps amplify sounds. You likely want to consult a specialist, and have a hearing aid made for your specific needs. Hearing aids sold in bulk online are not developed for the needs of the individual.
A cochlear implant is another device that potentially helps someone with conductive hearing loss. While it does not restore your normal hearing, it helps improve sounds, and helps you understand speech.
Assistive listening devices enhance sound, and reduce noise, reverberation, and other interferences. Today’s modern assistive listening devices cross into the realm of technology, allowing users to watch television, talk on the phone, and participate in social media circles.
If you believe that you or your loved one has conductive hearing loss, it is crucial that you contact your primary care physician or your hearing specialist as soon as possible. The earlier that you receive a diagnosis, there is likely a greater possibility of your medical team finding a treatment or solution that best works for you.