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What is Conductive Hearing Loss?

diagram of ear

Conductive Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors and can be categorized as one of three types of hearing loss – sensorineural, conductive or mixed (both sensorineural and conductive components). Sensorineural hearing loss is most common, as general aging and exposure to noise over the lifespan result in this type of hearing loss.  See our blog post on sensorineural hearing loss for more detailed information. You can also find more information about all types of hearing loss here.

Your ear is made up of three parts – the outer, the middle and the inner ear. A conductive hearing loss occurs when sound cannot get through the outer and middle ear. Typically, medicine or surgery can correct part or all of a conductive hearing loss. What can happen that keeps sound from getting through the outer and middle ear? Below are examples of some of the more common causes of conductive hearing loss:

Causes of Conductive Hearing Loss

  • Earwax (also called cerumen) or an object stuck in the ear canal.
  • A hole in the eardrum.
  • Fluid in the middle ear. This can be due to allergies, colds or an ear infection (also called otitis media).
  • Poor Eustachian tube function. The Eustachian tube connects the middle ear space to the back of the throat to help equalize pressure and drain fluid from the middle ear. If it becomes inflamed or blocked, your ears may feel full or plugged up.
  • A problem with how to outer or middle ear is formed. Examples of this could be a narrow or deformed ear canal or problems with the small bones in the middle ear.

So how can you tell if your hearing trouble is due to a conductive type of hearing loss? The only way to know for sure to have a full hearing evaluation. Your audiologist will be able to tell you if your hearing loss is conductive and refer you for appropriate medical treatment when needed. Following medical treatment of the conductive hearing loss, you may or may not be a candidate for hearing aids to treat any remaining hearing loss.

If you believe you’re suffering from hearing loss of any kind please call Evolution Hearing at our Charlottesville, VA location, 434-260-8007, at our Raleigh, NC location, 919-670-3258, or at our Richmond, VA location, 804-215-0001 to schedule an appointment today.