What causes conductive hearing loss?

Conductive hearing loss is when sound is NOT transmitted to the inner ear. This is the second common form or type of hearing loss.

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There are different types of what causes conductive hearing loss but usually it is because the ear drum is blocked. This could easily be diagnosed just by looking in the patient’s ear with the use of an otoscope. Most commonly what causes conductive hearing loss is ear wax.

Ear wax is normal and protect the ear from water and any infection. It is formed from wax glands, dead skin, sweat and oil. In as much as ear wax is essential, too much can cause an impaction to the ear whereas too little wax could increase chances of ear infections. This could be what causes conductive hearing loss.

Another cause would be the presence of a foreign object in the ear as in insects, beans, pebbles – anything small that could get in our ear. Removing a foreign object can be uncomfortable and troublesome as it could be difficult to get that object out. Plus, having a foreign object in the ear could cause infections. There are times when surgery will be needed to remove the object.

Osteoma could be another reason for what causes conductive hearing loss. Osteoma is a growth found mostly in cold – water swimmers luckily, this needs no surgery nor treatment and goes away on its own.

Another reason that could be what causes conductive hearing loss is External Otitis which is an outer ear infection. This infection is painful and mostly the treatment would be antibiotics and pain killer to help ease some of that pain and discomfort.

A tympanic membrane perforation or hole in the ear drum causes conductive hearing loss or most likely hearing reduction. Tympanosclerosis causes minor conductive hearing loss due to previous ear infections and even trauma.

The presence of fluid in the middle ear, or Otitis media, could also be a cause for conductive hearing loss albeit this would be dealt with by getting the fluid out.

The presence of tumors in the inner ear, although rare, could be another reason. Cholesteatoma, most associated with chronic ear infection, could contribute to the reason for having conductive hearing loss. And, Ossicular chain problems, when the bones in the large ear drum and the oval window – where sound is transmitted to – are fused or broken, conductive hearing loss is most likely to happen.

There have been instances where there is conductive hearing loss but the middle ear has no disease or infections present as in Superior Canal Dehiscence Syndrome (SCD) where the hearing is above normal but with the presence of sensorineural hearing loss which could seem like conductive hearing loss due to the air – bone gap. Treating the SCD will clear the air – bone gap. Whereas, an enlargement of the endolymphatic duct, what connects it to the endolymphatic sac, is known as Large Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome. Anyone with LVAS could lead to hearing loss and are more apt to have ear infections or diseases.

Treatments via surgery is available for conductive hearing loss and prognosis is almost always good. The use of hearing aid is also available for those who do not wish to proceed with surgery. Having a hearing aid could be used until the time when an implanted hearing aid will be necessary so as to skip the middle ear all together.

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