Hearing loss can occur for various reasons, whether it is of a genetic, congenital, or acquired character. Infectious diseases stand out among those causing this type of deficiency and account for approximately 25% of all cases of profound hearing loss.
Regarding where the hearing system is affected, hearing loss can be about the transmission (or conduction), perception (sensorineural), or mixed.
Hearing losses arising from any affection of the outer and middle ear are called transmission or conductive losses. When there is concomitant conductive and sensorineural affection, the loss is classified as mixed.
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Hearing Loss – Conductive
Hearing Loss, specifically Conductive Hearing Loss occurs when sound is unable to reach the inner ear. This can be in the form of a blockage, damage to the eardrum, and a narrowing ear canal.
The outer ear consists of the opening and ear canal. The middle ear includes a number of small bones, and as sound passes through the ear, it moves through these areas to the inner ear, where the cochlea processes the vibrations into sound.
When this process is hindered or blocked, it’s called conductive hearing loss. Most cases of conductive hearing loss are caused by ear infections and earwax buildup, but many other factors can lead to this condition.
Hearing Loss – Conductive – Symptoms
Hearing Loss – Conductive signs can range from mild to severe. If you notice some or all of these signs, you should seek treatment immediately. Common signs of conductive hearing loss are:
- Sudden or unexpected hearing loss in one or both ears.
- Sounds seeming muffled or blocked in one ear.
- Feeling like the ear is full or stuffed.
- Struggling to hear soft sounds at both high and low pitches.
- Clear or yellow liquid from the ear.
- Pain in the ear or head.
- Dizziness or difficulty balancing.
Hearing Loss – Conductive – Causes and Treatments
Conductive hearing losses can be transient, or short-lived. The reason for the hearing loss will play into how often it occurs and how easy or difficult it is to treat.
Malformations are common, and there are many reasons a person might experience conductive hearing loss. Some of the causes are:
1. Foreign body in the ear
Children are prone to sticking small objects in their ears, which causes obstruction. An ENT doctor (Otolaryngologist) will simply remove the obstruction, providing quick relief.
A benign growth in the middle ear. This condition usually occurs as a complication of chronic ear infection or chronic eustachian tube dysfunction.
3. Perforated Eardrum
The eardrum can be perforated because of trauma, or if an ear infection goes untreated the trapped fluid can cause a hole in the eardrum.
This condition usually heals on its own, but the doctor can close the perforation if necessary.
The ear produces wax to moisturize the ear canal. This wax helps fight possible infection and keeps dirt and other particles from the middle and inner ear.
When wax builds up, people try to remove it by using a cotton swab, but that just impacts the wax deeper in the ear, and because of that, it should be removed by Otolaryngologist.
5. Fluid in the ear
Fluid in the middle ear or inner ear can make it hard to hear. This happens a lot in children because their eustachian tubes are not completely formed.
6. Malfunction of the Eustachian Tube
It’s caused by a fluid buildup, especially in children. The child’s eustachian tubes are also smaller and tend to be more horizontal, which makes it harder for the eustachian tubes to drain.
7. Ossicular Fixation
Over time, the middle ear bones can calcify, impeding ear bone motion. Otosclerosis, a genetic condition, can cause calcification and usually presents in adulthood.
It is more common in women and is seen often during pregnancy. This condition can be treated with a hearing aid, or with a procedure called a stapedectomy.
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