This topic provides information about conductive hearing loss. Be sure to check our general page on all types of hearing loss if you are looking for more information.
What is a Conductive Hearing Loss?
Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a dysfunction of the outer or middle ear. In this case the organ of hearing (cochlea) and the hearing nerve are functioning normally.
What Causes a Conductive Hearing Loss?
The outer ear consists of three main parts including the:
- portion of the ear that we can see, called the pinna
- ear canal, called the external auditory canal
- eardrum, called the tympanic membrane
If any three of these sections of the outer ear are abnormal, a conductive hearing loss is likely to occur. This may include the following abnormalities:
- Microtia or anotia
- Wax or foreign body in ear canal
- Otitis Externa
- Tympanic Membrane Perforation
The middle ear consists of the air-filled space between the eardrum and the organ of hearing (cochlea). This space houses three tiny bones called the Ossicles.
A conductive hearing loss can be caused by a dysfunction of the middle ear, such as:
- Otitis Media
- Ossicular chain dysfunction
What are the Symptoms of Conductive Hearing Loss?
Symptoms of a conductive hearing loss can include:
How is it Diagnosed?
A conductive hearing loss is diagnosed by an Audiologist after completing a comprehensive hearing evaluation. Testing for a conductive hearing loss will typically include the following:
- Acoustic Reflexes
- Air conduction pure-tone thresholds
- Bone conduction pure-tone thresholds
The use of these tests will determine whether the hearing loss is conductive, or whether it is a different type of hearing loss.
How is it Treated?
Most causes of conductive hearing loss can be medically or surgically corrected, but it may not restore the hearing to normal. Hearing technology may also be an option to manage a conductive hearing loss.