Conductive Hearing Loss: Causes and Treatments
Conductive hearing loss occurs when a person’s ear has a problem conducting sound from outside the ear to inside it. This can be a problem with any part of the ear, including the outer ear, the middle ear, the inner ear, or the ear drum, which is also known as the tympanic membrane. A number of causes of conductive hearing loss are temporary and can be reversed. For example, a buildup of earwax, which is also called cerumen, can cause hearing loss. Something called otitis externa, more commonly known as an earache, can also result in hearing loss. This occurs when the outer ear and inner ear becomes inflamed, and it is usually caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. This is also known as swimmer’s ear.
Exostosis is an overgrowth of the bone in the outer ear canal, and this can occur if the ears are repeatedly exposed to cold water. Swimmers and other people who participate in water sports can have this problem, and it can cause conductive hearing loss over time. Otosclerosis is an overgrowth of the bone in the middle ear, and it’s usually caused by repeated exposure to loud noises. Tumors, foreign objects in the ear, and ear infections can also cause problems with hearing loss.
Exposing yourself to different pressures can cause conductive hearing loss because it changes the tension of the ear drum. You might have experienced this if you fly. Fortunately, equalizing the pressure by popping your ears can generally restore hearing. However, if the ear drum is torn or perforated, then it will take a longer time to heal.
People who have experienced conductive hearing loss, might exhibit some of the following symptoms, including feeling like their ears are full, tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, having to have things repeated, and depression or withdrawal.
Most of these problems can be corrected with prescription drugs or occasionally surgery. In most cases excess fluids can be drained from the ear, and excessive amounts of earwax can be removed by a doctor. For the problems that cannot be corrected, many doctors will recommend the use of hearing aids, which will benefit most people because they amplify sound.
If you have hearing loss or if you know someone with conductive hearing loss, there are a few things that you can do to help them understand you, and you should always face the person you are talking to, and you should try to speak clearly and loudly.