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Conductive Hearing Loss: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Image of the Vestibular system The Vestibular System

Conductive hearing loss is one of the most common forms of hearing loss. Follow this informative guide to learn more about:

  • What is Conductive Hearing Loss?
  • Symptoms of Conductive Hearing Loss
  • Causes of Conductive Hearing Loss
  • How to Properly Treat Conductive Hearing Loss

At Hearing Direct, you will find a number of management solutions to help properly and effectively manage hearing impairments.

What is Conductive Hearing Loss?

Conductive hearing loss (CHL) occurs when there is an obstruction or damage to the outer or middle ear that prevents sound from traveling to the eardrum and to tiny bones in the inner ear. There may be something blocking the ear canal, such as ear wax or fluids, or the hearing loss might come from an infection or illness. An ear infection or a perforated eardrum are also possible causes. Conductive hearing loss usually causes the “volume” of sounds to seem lower. This condition can be either temporary or permanent and shares similar characteristics to clogged ear. Conductive hearing loss treatment is more straightforward than sensorineural hearing loss.

If you believe you may be experiencing conductive hearing loss, we recommend that you consult an audiologist or ENT professional.

Symptoms of Conductive Hearing Loss

CHL primarily affects the ability to perceive the loudness of sounds, but not the clarity. The condition may present the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty in hearing speech
  • A sense that your own voice sounds different
  • Easier to hear out of one ear than the other
  • The sensation of pain in one or both ears
  • A sensation of pressure in one or both ears
  • A strange odor from the ear

Symptoms can differ depending on which part of the ear is the root cause or multiple symptoms may present themselves at once. Those with CHL often find that increasing the level of volume of TVs, music or radio is all it takes to provide a notable improvement in their ability to hear. Although not ideal, this could be a temporary quick-fix for the condition until it is properly dealt with. It is possible to have conductive and sensorineural symptoms and this is known as a mixed hearing impairment.

Causes of Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs when sounds struggle to reach the eardrum from the outer ear. These causes usually only impact the ability to perceive sounds, and noise will often appear to be fainter than usual. Some of the causes of conductive hearing loss include:

  • Ear wax build up
  • Accumulation of fluid in the middle ear
  • Abnormal bone growth in the middle ear (otosclerosis)
  • Middle ear infections (otitis media)
  • Perforation of the eardrum

Much like the symptoms, the causes may affect one part of the ear or several parts. Depending on which part of the ear is causing the loss, fixing the hearing loss may require different methods. A licensed audiologist or medical practitioner should be able to correctly diagnose the root cause of CHL and suggest appropriate methods of management and treatment.

How To Properly Treat Conductive Hearing Loss

Unlike sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss can be reversed and effectively managed with the right form of treatments. You can treat CHL at home, but sometimes you may still need medical or surgical treatments to correct the condition. In the case of wax build up, ear wax removal tools such as syringes, extractors or cleaners can help resolve the situation. Whereas if infection or abnormal growths are present, then medical procedures may be sought. Clearing excessive wax or fluids out of the ear canal can often solve conductive hearing loss. That's where we come in...

At Hearing Direct, we are able to offer a number of key ear hygiene products such as ear cleansers and wax removers to help eradicate this type of hearing loss.

Image of packaging for Audiclean Total Ear Case SystemAudiclean Total Ear Care System Dual Pack

The Audiclean Total Ear Care System Dual Pack is a combination of products designed to remove a build up of ear wax and then ensure that your ear canal is kept free of troublesome wax.

Earpal Wax Remover

The Earpal ear wax remover is one of the safest wax extraction tools on the market. Due to its expert design, the Earpal ear wax remover cannot touch or perforate the eardrum by accident. As a result, your ears and hearing will avoid damage during the ear cleaning process. It is also safer than Cotton Buds/Q-Tips.

Earol olive oil spray

Earol olive oil spray is designed to assist with the extraction of ear wax by softening the wax. When wax builds up, it can become uncomfortable and irritable.

Further Reading

You may find the following posts of interest:

Mild Hearing Loss Explained

Age-Related Hearing Loss: Causes, Symptoms and Management

How to Clean Ears

Check Your Hearing Online For Free

We have created our very own online hearing test so you can check your hearing for free in the comfort of your own home.  All you will need is a few free minutes and some ear or headphones. Once the test is complete, you will get your results instantly via email, and based on the outcome of the hearing test, you may be encouraged to take further action.

About Hearing Direct

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Author: Joan McKechnie

Image of Joan McKechnieAfter qualifying as a Speech-Language Pathologist and Audiologist Joan has spent most of her 20 year career in hearing-care related roles. She has a wealth of experience within the hearing aid and hearing rehabilitation fields and has worked in manufacturing environments with two hearing aid companies helping to develop  products and roll out new technologies. Joan has been involved with Hearing Direct since its launch and enjoys the online retail environment which seeks to provide easier access to hearing products and accessories. She is HCPC registered. Read Joan's full bio here.