Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is prevented from reaching the inner ear due to a blockage in the outer or middle ear. This can either be a temporary or permanent situation, with hearing aids and surgery being the most common forms of treatment. My Hearing will help you find the right advice and treatment that best suits your lifestyle.

Typically, sound is able to travel freely down the ear canal to the middle ear, where it is then relayed to the inner ear by the vibration of three tiny bones. These are known as the ossicles. If you are experiencing conductive hearing loss, either the ear canal has been blocked or the ossicles have been restricted in their movement.

The experience of conductive hearing loss is akin to the sensation you’d get by putting your fingers in the ear (although we don’t recommend you do this!). You can still understand speech and conversations if they’re quite loud and there isn’t a great deal of background noise to contend with.

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:

Earwax

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.

Ear Infection

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.

Perforated Eardrum

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.

Otosclerosis

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.

Problematic Ossicles

If the ossicles have been moved out of place, stiffened up or loosened, they will not vibrate correctly.

Conductive Hearing Loss Treatment

The most common treatments for conductive hearing loss are surgery, antibiotics or hearing aids. It is always advisable, wherever possible, to try and avoid surgery given the associated risks. However, in some instances, surgery will provide the best long-term results.

At My Hearing, our priority is to always find the most appropriate treatment for your degree of hearing loss and type of lifestyle. To talk through the below treatment options, get in touch today.

Conductive Hearing Loss Treatment 1: Earwax

If your conductive hearing loss has been caused by earwax, standard earwax removal techniques will be used to remove the blockage. For less severe cases, we may simply provide you with ear drops. To boost their effectiveness, we would recommend that you lie down on your side after applying the drops. The softened earwax should just slide out. Should the ear drops fail to work, we can either use the irrigation or microsuction methods. With irrigation, a small amount of water is directed into the ear to flush out the wax. In microsuction, a syringe is used to suck out the wax. Both treatments should only be carried out by professionals.

Congenital deformities (present at birth), benign tumours and trauma-related injuries can frequently be corrected through surgical procedures. For example, repairing a perforated ear drum or reducing the size of an abnormal bone growth.

Conductive Hearing Loss Treatment 2: Otosclerosis

For otosclerosis, a hearing aid would typically be the first choice of treatment, with surgery only used in more advanced and severe cases. As your condition deteriorates further, more and more powerful hearing aids will be needed until surgery becomes unavoidable.

A surgeon would remove the stapes bone and replace it with an implant, in a process known as a stapedotomy. Either general anaesthesia or local anaesthesia will be provided to stop you feeling any pain. A small cut will be made towards the front of the ear through which the eardrum can then be lifted and the stapes removed. An implant is then inserted in its place. The scarring from this cut will be minimal to non-existent. Depending on the severity of your hearing loss, you may no longer need to wear a hearing aid following the operation.

Conductive Hearing Loss Treatment 3: Infection

If the source of the issue is a bacterial infection, the best course of treatment is likely to be antibiotics. These will be prescribed to you by your GP. Should the course of antibiotics fail to work, you may require surgery. Unfortunately, with a viral infection you will simply have to wait for the infection to pass by itself. However, you can use pain relief to manage the symptoms.

We’re Here For You

If you are searching for guidance and further information on conductive hearing loss treatment, get in touch today. We partner with highly experienced hearing aid dispensers who can provide you with expert advice on your diagnosis, ensuring that you receive the most suitable treatment.

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