What is conductive hearing loss?
There are two main types of hearing loss: conductive hearing loss (where the problem lies in the middle ear – ear drum or ossicles) and sensorineural hearing loss (where there is damage in the inner ear – cochlea or hearing nerve).
A conductive hearing loss affects the passage of sound between the ear drum and the inner ear. Sound passes down the ear canal to the ear drum and through the middle ear, where the sound is transmitted across the middle ear by the three bones called the ossicles to the inner ear.
Diagram of the human ear
Video showing conductive hearing loss
Thanks to MED-EL.
Causes of conductive hearing loss
|Wax (cerumen)||A build-up of wax in the outer ear may stop sound from reaching the ear drum.|
|Infection||Infection and inflammation in the outer ear (otitis externa) or middle ear (otitis media).|
|Hole in the eardrum (perforation)||A hole in the ear drum may be caused by several things including trauma (damage), pressure, ear surgery and infection.|
|Glue ear (otitis media with effusion)||Inflammation in the middle ear with associated fluid filling the middle ear space around the ossicles. The fluid stops the ossicles and ear drum from moving effectively and stops sound from passing easily through to the inner ear.|
|Inherited||May be caused by a syndrome or other genetic reasons.|
|Problem with the small bones (ossicles) in the ear (otosclerosis)||Stiffening of the chain of small bones in the middle ear prevents sound from passing easily through to the inner ear.|
|Bang on the head (trauma)||May disrupt the small bones in the middle ear that transmit sound.||NHS Direct Wales|
|Ear surgery||May damage the ear drum or small bones in the middle ear stopping sound from passing easily through to the inner ear.||Medic 8|