There are three types of hearing loss: conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss and mixed hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss (CHL) typically occurs when there is an issue with the external ear, ear canal, eardrum or ear bones, whereas sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is a problem with the inner ear or the nerve pathways to the brain. Mixed hearing loss is a combination of the two.
How does hearing work?
To be able to hear something, the sound goes through the ear canal to the ear drum. The sound is then sent through the middle ear where it vibrates over the three bones of hearing. A conductive hearing loss occurs when sound can’t be transmitted through the outer ear or middle ear. This hearing loss can either be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause.
What causes conductive hearing loss?
Conductive hearing loss is a common disorder that can occur for a variety of reasons. Even something as simple as having too much earwax (cerumen) can cause a hearing loss. Other causes could be:
- Perforated eardrum
- Ear infection
- Fluid in the middle ear
- Irregular bone growth such as otosclerosis
Who is most at risk for conductive hearing loss?
Anyone can be affected by conductive hearing loss.
How can conductive hearing loss be prevented?
A common cause of conductive hearing loss is a buildup of wax, so keeping your ears clean can prevent this from happening. Wearing ear plugs and keeping the ears dry while swimming will help to prevent ear infections which is another cause of conductive hearing loss.
What are the treatment options?
There are several different treatment options depending on the severity of the hearing loss. If it is permanent and serious, conductive hearing loss is usually treated with surgery. In some cases when surgery isn’t the best option, hearing aids can be used to rehabilitate the hearing.
When should I contact a doctor?
You should contact a doctor when you notice a change in your hearing, or if others complain about your hearing.
Still have questions about conductive hearing loss? Give our friendly staff a call at (602) 277-4327(HEAR). We would be happy to answer any of your questions.