Conductive hearing loss

What is conductive hearing loss?

Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the ear or an obstruction that stops sound from making its way into the inner ear. It can be temporary or permanent, although this may vary from case to case.

Signs and symptoms of conductive hearing loss

Instead of experiencing a total loss of hearing in one or both ears, most people with conductive hearing loss will have trouble with the volume of sounds rather than their clarity. People with this condition may find themselves turning up the volume of their TV or radio to help make it easier for them to hear.

Other symptoms of conductive hearing loss may include:

  • Pain in the ears
  • Finding it easier to hear out of one ear
  • A feeling of pressure within the ears
  • Trouble hearing people speak over the phone
  • A change to the way they hear their own voice
  • An unusual odour originating from within the ear canal

Causes of conductive hearing loss

There are many different things that may cause conductive hearing loss.  Some possible causes of conductive hearing loss include:

  • An ear infection
  • A buildup of fluid in your middle ear
  • Issues with your Eustachian tube
  • A tear in your eardrum
  • Allergies
  • A benign tumour within your ear
  • A buildup of earwax
  • A foreign object stuck within the ear
  • Congenital ear issues
  • Narrowing of the ear canal
  • The development of exostoses (bone-like protrusions)
  • Tympanosclerosis (a thickening of the eardrum)
  • Otosclerosis (a condition affecting the stapes - one of the tiny middle ear bones)
  • Injury or trauma to the ear

Conductive hearing loss treatment

Treatments for conductive hearing loss vary depending on the root cause. Some cases may heal on their own, while others may benefit from medical intervention. For conductive hearing loss caused by infection or other illnesses, antibiotics and other medications may be prescribed, while more serious cases may need to be addressed by surgery. People with permanent conductive hearing loss may benefit from the use of hearing aids.

Preventing conductive hearing loss

Although not every single cause of conductive hearing loss can be prevented, there are a few behaviours that you can adopt to reduce your chances of experiencing the condition. Be sure to keep your ears clean, drying them thoroughly after swimming and bathing. Avoid inserting foreign objects, such as cotton swabs, into your ears too, as they could potentially cause a tear in your eardrum. If you notice any changes to your hearing, book a visit to your GP to determine its cause.

Get support and advice

Request an appointment

Book now

Take an online hearing check

Take the check

Find a clinic near you

Find a clinic