Conductive hearing loss is related to problems with the ear canal, eardrum, or middle ear and its tiny bones — the malleus (“hammer”), incus (“anvil”), and stapes (“stirrup”). These issues interfere with the conduction of sound from the external and middle ear to the inner ear.
What is conductive hearing loss?
Conductive hearing loss differs from SNHL in that, instead of occurring in the inner ear, the hearing loss is caused by sound blockages in the outer and middle ear. The blockages may make it difficult to hear soft sounds and may muffle loud sounds.
The hearing loss can be unilateral, in one ear, or bilateral, in both ears.
Causes of conductive hearing loss
A variety of issues can cause conductive hearing loss, including:
- Ear infections
- Fluid in the middle ear, likely from colds or allergies
- Glue ear, from fluids filling the middle ear so the eardrum cannot move
- Poor function of the eustachian tube, which controls pressure in the middle ear
- A hole in the eardrum
- Benign tumors
- Earwax stuck in the ear canal
- Infections in the ear canal, sometimes called swimmer’s ear
- An object stuck in the outer ear
- Incorrect formation of the outer or middle ear
Ear infections can leave scar tissue, which can affect how the eardrum works. Infection and trauma can cause malfunction of the ossicles in the middle ear. Additionally, a condition called ankylosis can cause hearing loss by fusing the ossicles.
Symptoms of conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss typically affects how an individual perceives loudness rather than clarity. Among the symptoms that suggest this type of hearing loss are the following:
- Sensing one’s own voice sounds different
- Difficulty hearing speech
- Conversations sound muffled
- Strange odor from the ear
- Pain or pressure in one or both ears
- Ear discharge
If you think you or someone you love may have a hearing loss, call us today to schedule a free hearing test!
ASI Audiology & Hearing Instruments – 855-663-4044