Conductive Hearing Loss: Signs, Causes, and Treatments

Conductive Hearing Loss: Signs, Causes, and Treatments

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA Hearing Loss

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA received her Bachelor of Arts Degree (BA) in 1988 from Stetson University, Florida Hearing Aid Dispensing License in 1990 and National Board Certification from the National Board for Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences (BC-HIS) in 1992. Presently, Leanne E. Polhill is Chairperson of the Florida Department of Health’s Board of Hearing Aid Specialists, where she has served since her initial gubernatorial appointment in 2004.
Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA

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Conductive hearing loss is also known as CHL. It is a condition that damages or obstructs the outer or middle section of the ear that interferes with the standard transmission of sound to the eardrum and inner ear.

Materials such as fluids or ear wax may block the ear canal, consequently causing conductive hearing loss. Illness or infection can also cause CHL. CHL can either be temporary or permanent and has the same traits as a clogged ear. However, treatment for the condition is quite straightforward

This article will help you understand the condition more, how to spot the signs and symptoms, causes of CHL, and untreated hearing loss treatment available.

What is the Difference Between Sensorineural Hearing Disorder and CHL?

The primary difference between these two types of hearing disorder is that both conditions affect different parts of the year. CHL is a result of a complication in the middle or outer ear that compromises the transmission of sound, preventing it from being processed in the inner ear, thus affecting hearing health.

As for sensorineural hearing disorder, it caused by damage to the sensory section of the ear, which is located in the inner ear, where sound waves are sent to the brain. CHL is mild and not permanent. Typically, it can be corrected by the right treatment, but the sensorineural hearing disorder is lifelong but can be corrected by hearing aids.

Signs and Symptoms of Conductive Hearing Disorder:

  • Difficult to perceive quiet sounds
  • Problem hearing conversations
  • Discomfort or pressure in the ear
  • Fluctuations in hearing in each ear

While speech may be clear, you will need someone to be louder for you to hear correctly.

Causes of Conductive Hearing Loss

Here are some common causes of CHL:

  • Accumulation of ear wax
  • A buildup of fluid in the middle ear
  • Otitis media (media ear infection)
  • Otosclerosis (abnormal growth of bones in the middle ear
  • Illness or ear infection

Causes of CHL may affect one section of the ear or multiple parts. Depending on the side of the ear where the trigger is, treating the condition may need more than one treatment option. A medical specialist or a certified audiologist will be able to identify the primary cause of the disease and prescribe the right treatment and management methods. Note that untreated hearing loss may lead to permanent loss of hearing ability.

Recognizing When Someone Has CHL

Experiencing hearing loss is not an easy thing those who experience it. It can affect a person’s hearing health, as well as their emotional, physical and mental state. A person may feel frustrated and stressed by not being able to hear conversations and everything around them, especially when it comes to dealing with people around them.

Feeling nervous and embarrassed is not uncommon because a person may not be able to comprehend parts of conversations or the entire conversation entirely. Activities such as social adventures can become even more difficult for a person, and they may refuse to attend gatherings and events because of this.

Treating Hearing Loss

Unlike other types of hearing disorders, CHL can easily be reversed and be managed, as long as the right treatment methods are used. You can treat the condition at home, although you may also require surgical or medical options for treating hearing loss.

If you have ear wax removal tools like cleaners, extractors, and syringes, you can correct the condition. On the other hand, abnormal growth and infection may require medical procedures. Getting rid of excess fluids or wax out of your ear canal can also cause the conductive hearing disorder.

Your local pharmacy should offer several primary hygiene products such as wax removers, ear cleansers to correct this type of hearing disorder. There are still other medical procedures that your audiologist may pursue, based on the extent of your condition.

Hearing Aids

If your CHL has become severe, our team at Encore Hearing may suggest hearing aids or other types of assistive listening tools. In certain situations, alerting or hearing assistive machines may be used, instead of hearing aids. They are available in two forms:

Testing or signaling display devices, which are made to convert keystrokes or sound into a vibratory or visual stimulus or written text.

Assistive listening devices are designed to improve the sound by picking up audio near the source. They reduce reverberation and noise and transmit sound directly to the earing devices or your ears.

Encore Hearing

If you’ve noticed changes in your hearing and struggle with communication, contact us today. We provide comprehensive hearing health services and we’re here to help!