Hearing Loss - Conductive

Hearing loss is being partly or totally unable to hear sound in one or both ears.
Considerations
Symptoms of hearing loss may include:

  • Certain sounds seeming too loud
  • Difficulty following conversations when two or more people are talking
  • Difficulty hearing in noisy areas
  • Trouble telling high-pitched sounds (such as "s" or "th") from one another
  • Less trouble hearing men's voices than women's voices
  • Problems hearing when there is background noise
  • Hearing voices as mumbled or slurred 

Other symptoms include:

  • Feeling of being off-balance or dizzy (more common with Ménière's disease and acoustic neuroma)
  • Feeling of pressure in the ear (in the fluid behind the eardrum)
  • Ringing or buzzing sound in the ears (tinnitus) 
Causes
Conductive hearing loss (CHL) occurs because of a mechanical problem in the outer or middle ear. This may be because:
  • The three tiny bones of the ear (ossicles) are not conducting sound properly.
  • The eardrum is not vibrating in response to sound. 

Causes of conductive hearing loss can often be treated. They include:

  • Buildup of wax in the ear canal
  • Damage to the very small bones (ossicles) that are right behind the eardrum
  • Fluid remaining in the ear after an ear infection
  • Foreign object that is stuck in the ear canal
  • Hole in the eardrum
  • Scar on the eardrum from repeat infections

When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if:

  • Hearing problems interfere with your lifestyle.
  • Hearing problems do not go away or become worse.
  • The hearing is worse in one ear than the other.
  • You have sudden, severe hearing loss or ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
  • You have other symptoms, such as ear pain, along with hearing problems.
  • You have new headaches, weakness, or numbness anywhere on your body. 

What to Expect at Your Office Visit
The health care provider will take your medical history and do a physical exam.

Tests that may be done include:

  • Audiometry (a hearing test used to check the type and amount of hearing loss)
  • CT or MRI scan of the head (if a tumor or fracture is suspected)
  • Tympanometry

The following surgeries may help some types of hearing loss:

  • Eardrum repair
  • Placing tubes in the eardrums to remove fluid
  • Repair of the small bones in the middle ear (ossiculoplasty) 

The following may help with long-term hearing loss:

Cochlear implants are only used in people who have lost too much hearing to benefit from a hearing aid.

 

 

Source: NIH   MedlinePlus