Conductive Hearing Loss: Signs, Causes, and Treatments

Dr. Maria Wynens, Au.D.Hearing Loss

Conductive Hearing Loss: Signs, Causes, and Treatments

Dr. Maria Wynens, Au.D.

Dr. Maria Wynens is known in the Atlanta area as the “audiologist in cowboy boots” – but she would prefer patients remember her as the Doctor that is here for them today, helping them hear tomorrow. For more than 28 years Dr. Wynens, the Atlanta Hearing Doctor, has been pursuing her passion of improving people’s lives one ear at a time.
Dr. Maria Wynens, Au.D.

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Generally, the ear consists of three chambers, namely; the inner ear, middle ear, and outer ear. Conductive hearing loss is one of the most common types of hearing impairment that occurs when the sound fails to travel through the middle ear to reach the inner ear. Often, it becomes hard to understand soft tones.

If conductive hearing loss occurs in a combination of sensorineural hearing loss, it results in a condition known as mixed hearing loss. Depending on the severity of conductive hearing impairment, hearing health may be partially or fully restored through surgical intervention or the use of pharmaceuticals. However, cases of severe and chronic conductive hearing impairment may require other treatment interventions such as the use of hearing aids to improve sound detection and sound perception.

If you suspect having a conductive hearing impairment, we recommend you urgently consult us at Atlanta Hearing Doctor.

Signs and Symptoms of Conductive Hearing Impairment

Conductive hearing impairment typical affects the ability to perceive loudness of sound, but not sound acuity. The most common symptoms, which can be used to rule out the presence of this condition are:

  • Difficulty hearing soft sounds
  • Feeling as if your voice sounds different
  • The sense of pain in both ears
  • A sensation of pressure in one or both ears
  • Draining fluid with a strange odor from the ear
  • More comfortable to hear more efficiently with one ear than the other

Symptoms vary depending on the part of the ear affected or the root cause of hearing impairment. The majority of the people with conductive hearing impairment finds that increasing the volume of TVs, radio, or music is a convenient way to improve their hearing ability. Although not recommendable, this can be a temporary quick fix for the condition until it is adequately dealt with.

How to Diagnose Conductive Hearing Impairment

There are several options we can look at to rule out the presence of conductive impairment. An otoscopy test can be used to check the presence of foreign particles in the ear canal. While carrying out a weber test, a medical fork is stuck in the crown of the head. People with normal hearing health should be able to hear sounds equally on both ears. But for some persons with hearing impairment, they often struggle to perceive sounds on the ear with hearing loss.

In the Rinne test, we will insert a tuning fork on the mastoid bone, where the clients signal when they fail to hear any sound. For an individual with normal hearing health, the mastoid conduction sound is heard half the amount of time as the second sound. If you have a conductive hearing impairment, the initial mastoid bone sound will be heard as more extended as the second sound.

Causes of Conductive Hearing Impairment

Primarily, conductive hearing impairment occurs when the sound fails to reach the eardrum through the middle ear from the outer ear. These may happen when there is a fluid build-up in the middle ear blocking the ability to perceive sound, and often the noise is perceived as fainter than usual. The following are some of the factors that contribute to conductive hearing impairment:

  • Glue-like wax build-up
  • Fluid build-up in the middle ear
  • Infections of the middle ear
  • Perforation of the eardrum
  • Abnormal growth of tumors in the middle ear bone

Much like conductive hearing impairment symptoms, the cause can as well affect one or several ear parts. Treating hearing loss options may vary depending on the particular part of the ear affected. Early diagnoses and prompt treatment are necessary to reduce the impact of untreated hearing loss.

How to Appropriately Treat Conductive Hearing Impairment

Untreated hearing loss affects more than your ears. Your hearing is linked to many aspects of your well-being, like your relationship with others, energy level, and memory. Unlike sensorineural hearing impairment, treating hearing loss caused by conductive impairment can be easily performed and effectively managed with the right form of treatment. You can use either home or medical remedies to treat hearing loss. However, severe cases of conductive hearing impairment require professional audiologist treatment to restore your hearing condition.

In the case of wax build-up, wax removal syringes are used to extract the accumulated fluid restoring the condition. Whereas there is abnormal cell growth in the ear, surgical, or medical procedures may be sought. Removing fluids and wax that could have build-up in the middle ear can often solve the conductive hearing impairment.

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If you’ve noticed changes in your hearing and struggle with communication, contact us today. We provide comprehensive hearing health services and we’re here to help!