Causes Of Conductive Hearing Loss
The causes of conductive hearing loss are numerous and quite varied, ranging from trauma-related injuries to gradually worsening bone growth. Here are some of the most common:
A build up of earwax in the outer ear can prevent sound from reaching the ear drum. Earwax is a vital part of the ear’s mechanism for keeping itself clean, transporting bits of dust and dirt out of the ear. However, an excessive amount will simply block the ear canal and prevent sound, as well as dirt from reaching your middle ear.
Can occur in either the outer ear (otitis externia) or middle ear (otitis media). Infection in the outer ear is commonly known as ‘Swimmer’s Ear’ as it can be picked up through water exposure. Otitis externia can result in highly uncomfortable swelling and pain. As the ear canal swells it narrows, leaving a small space through which sound can pass. Infections in the middle ear can lead to a build up of fluid behind the eardrum and around the all-important ossicles. Particularly common in children, this fluid makes it difficult for the ossicles to vibrate and perfectly transmit sound to the inner ear.
Such an injury can be caused by prolonged or one-off trauma, infection or high pressure. The damaged eardrum struggles to effectively relay the sound. Unlike with other causes, the effect upon your hearing can be near instantaneous.
An abnormal bone growth on one of the three ossicles, typically the stapes. Over time the bone growth expands and reduces the ability of the ossicles to freely move and vibrate. In some instances, the growth can be so extensive that it begins to have an impact on the nerves within your ear. Nerve-related hearing loss is typically known as sensorineural hearing loss. The combination of both types, in this instance, would give a diagnosis of mixed hearing loss. The cause of otosclerosis is not entirely known but there is strong evidence that it can be inherited. Symptoms generally begin to emerge in the late teen/early adult years and then worsen over time. It is though to be twice as common in women as men.
If the ossicles have been moved out of place, stiffened up or loosened, they will not vibrate correctly.