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What Is Mild Conductive Hearing Loss

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Conductive Hearing Loss Explained

Early intervention and detection of hearing loss is crucial this will prevent your child from enduring additional problems with speech and language development. A healthcare team approach is normally used when a child is diagnosed with some degree of hearing loss. Some hearing problems are medically or surgically correctable. Other hearing problems are treated with hearing aids and speech and language therapy.

Definition Of Conductive Hearing Loss

In the ear, the air converts the sound into action potentials of the nerve fibers via a mechanical chain . This process is called transduction. In conduction hearing loss, this transduction is impaired and hearing is therefore limited.

Sounds in everyday life are perceived as softer and discussions feel more strenuous. However, the quality of the sounds is not clear and sharp the perception of both high and low tones is reduced. People with these symptoms frequently describe the feeling of hearing through cotton wool or wearing ear plugs.

The following contains important information on conductive hearing loss. On this page, we provide you with information on the causes, the symptoms, the diagnosis by an ENT specialist and possible forms of treatment.

Hearing Aids And Other Devices

A hearing aid is defined by the Food and Drug Administration as a wearable sound- amplifying device that is intended to compensate for impaired hearing. The goal of treatment with well-fitted hearing aids is to improve the audibility of even soft speech or music and other sounds while ensuring that sounds do not become uncomfortably loud. Hearing aids can be sophisticated instruments with a variety of customizable features that contribute to their high costs whether performance improves with higher-cost devices is uncertain. A variety of noncustomized devices, termed hearing assistive technologies, are also available they include amplified telephones, visual technologies such as captioning, video conferencing, and visual or vibrotactile alerts. Hearing aids are regulated by the FDA, and state laws may restrict access to them. The devices are sold through audiologists and hearing-aid dispensers. The costs of services related to hearing-aid fitting are often bundled with the cost of the device, so the specific costs of the services and the technology are not transparent.

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About Global Burden Of Disease

The Global Burden of Disease Study is a comprehensive regional and global research program of disease burden that assesses mortality and disability from major diseases.

Read more about the Global Burden of Disease Study here: or here:

If you think that you might have a genetic hearing loss, we recommend that you get your hearing checked by a hearing professional.

What Treatments Are Available For Conductive Hearing Loss


Depending on the cause of the impairment, treatment for conductive hearing loss may be simple or complicated. Impairment caused by earwax is quickly and easily rectified manually. Even impaired ventilation in the Eustachian tube can be remedied quickly with the help of medication, e.g. decongestant nasal spray.

In the event of secretory otitis media, drainage through a small incision in the eardrum may be necessary to alleviate hearing impairment. The small incision will heal by itself. If secretory otitis media occurs more frequently especially during childhood a grommet can be inserted to hold open the hole in the eardrum and prevent further inflammation and associated effusions. If hearing is impaired by more serious causes, such as otosclerosis or inflammatory processes that have lead to the destruction of the ossicles, more extensive treatment procedures must be considered. However, modern surgical procedures have enabled the replacement of the ossicles and parts thereof . Hearing aids are also an effective treatment for conductive hearing loss and ultimately help restore hearing.

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Conductive Hearing Loss

The most pronounced symptom of CHL is almost always a decreased ability to hear sounds, especially faint sounds. Other commonly reported signs and symptoms of CHL include the perception of your voice as sounding unusual and a sensation of pain or pressure in one or both ears. It is difficult, if not nearly impossible, to differentiate CHL from other types of hearing loss without professional testing. If you notice any of these signs or symptoms of possible CHL, be sure to schedule a free hearing exam with a Miracle-Ear hearing specialist today.

Differential Diagnosis And Concomitant Otologic Disease

Conductive hearing loss does not always guarantee the diagnosis of otosclerosis, especially when only one ear is involved. This is an important principle to be remembered when counseling patients for surgery. The surgeon must always look for and be prepared to manage problems other than stapes fixation when exploring the impaired ear. Congenital middle ear anomalies, tympanosclerosis, and lateral fixation of the ossicular chain are among the other causes of conductive loss.

A new clinical entity has recently been described that provides an explanation for inner ear conductive hearing loss. Minor noted that patients with dehiscence of the superior semicircular canal present with signs and symptoms indicative of having a third window in the otic capsule, including a positive Tullio phenomenon dizziness with a Valsalva maneuver, coughing, belching, or sneezing pulsatile or thumping tinnitus and occasionally, conductive hearing loss. Tuning fork testing can still show a negative Rinne test . Conductive hearing loss coming from the middle ear routinely exhibits absence of elicited acoustic reflexes. In contrast, acoustic reflexes are typically present when the conductive hearing loss is due to dehiscence of the superior semicircular canal.4 Patients suspected of having otosclerosis should undergo testing for acoustic reflexes preoperatively to help avoid performing middle ear surgery when an alternative source of conductive hearing loss may exist.

Linda M. Luxon, in, 2003

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Diagnosis Of Conductive Hearing Loss


Examination of the middle ear, tympanic membrane, or external ear through an otoscope. Audiologist observes the specific part of your by throwing light in order to identify the problem.

Differential Testing

Basic screening is done then it is followed by Rinne and Weber tests. Audiologists use a 256 Hz tuning fork to diagnose a conductive hearing loss in the Rinne test. A patient is asked to say whether a vibrating tuning fork is heard more loudly adjacent to the ear canal or touching the bone behind the ear , is negative indicating that bone conduction is more effective than air conduction.

In Webers test, a vibrating tuning fork is touched to the midline of the forehead, the person will hear the sound more loudly in the affected ear because background noise does not mask the hearing on this side.

  • Weber Test Sound localizes to affected ear
  • Rinne test Negative Rinne bone conduction > air conduction


It is a simple objective test of the ability of the middle ear to transmit sound waves across it. This test is usually abnormal with conductive hearing loss.


Pure Tone Audiometry test is a standardized hearing test of 250 Hz to 8000 Hz. The shape of the plot reveals the degree or type of hearing loss whether it is conductive or sensorineural.

CT Scan

It is useful in cases of congenital conductive hearing loss, chronic suppurative otitis media or cholesteatoma, ossicular damage or discontinuity, otosclerosis. It diagnoses the anatomy of the ear.

Causes Of Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive vs Sensorineural Hearing Loss: key causes in 90 seconds

This type of hearing loss can be caused by the following:

  • Fluid in your middle ear from colds or allergies.
  • Ear infection, or otitis media. Otitis is a term used to mean ear infection, and media means middle.
  • Poor Eustachian tube function. The Eustachian tube connects your middle ear and your nose. Fluid in the middle ear can drain out through this tube. Fluid can stay in the middle ear if the tube does not work correctly.
  • A hole in your eardrum.
  • Benign tumors. These tumors are not cancer but can block the outer or middle ear.
  • Earwax , or cerumen, stuck in your ear canal.
  • Infection in the ear canal, called external otitis. You may hear this called swimmers ear.
  • An object stuck in your outer ear. An example might be if your child put a pebble in his ear when playing outside.
  • A problem with how the outer or middle ear is formed. Some people are born without an outer ear. Some may have a deformed ear canal or have a problem with the bones in their middle ear.

Learn about other types of hearing loss:

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Bone Conduction Hearing Aids

Bone conduction hearing aids are recommended for people with conductive or mixed hearing loss who can’t wear a more conventional type of hearing aid. Bone conduction hearing aids vibrate in response to the sounds going into the microphone.

They can also sometimes help people with no hearing in one ear and normal or mild hearing loss in the other ear.

The part of the hearing aid that vibrates is held against the bone behind the ear by a headband. The vibrations pass through the mastoid bone to the cochlea and are converted into sound in the usual way. They can be very effective, but can be uncomfortable to wear for long periods.

Treating Conductive Hearing Loss With Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are battery-powered electronic devices designed to improve hearing. Hearing aids typically are not prescribed for people with conductive hearing loss because the underlying cause is known. Once doctors treat that known cause, hearing returns to normal.

However, in some cases, treatment may not fully reverse conductive hearing loss. In such cases, the conductive hearing loss patient may benefit from a hearing aid. Also, if the cochleas Corti organ functions properly, a hearing aid may help transmit sound through the outer and middle ear to the inner ear.

Most hearing aids are small enough to be worn in or behind the ear, and their basic function makes sounds louder.

Hearing aids have three major components: the microphone that picks up sounds from the environment, an amplifier that makes the sound louder, and a receiver that sends the amplified sounds into the ear.

Hearing aids are medical devices and should only be fitted by an audiologist. After proper examination, the audiologist will determine what type of hearing aid you need and fit it to meet your specific hearing needs. There are no one-size-fits-all hearing aids. All hearing aids are customized.

Hearing aids come in different styles and can ft\it in different places. Below are some common hearing aid styles.

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Is There A Treatment

The good news is that most types of conductive hearing loss can be easily treated with medicines or through surgery.

Ear infections are usually easily treated but prompt action is always advisable. A course of antibiotics will quickly clear up most infections. Be careful about using home remedies to treat ear infections, especially if they recur frequently or are persistent. Chronic ear infections may cause permanent hearing loss. Likewise, it is best to let a professional remove earwax.

Ruptured ear drums will frequently heal themselves but it will take about 2 months. The damage may be severe enough to warrant some surgical intervention. In most cases, damage to the hearing will not result in permanent total hearing loss and any hearing loss is usually restricted to one ear.

A range of surgical operations are available to rectify bone growth abnormalities. In the case of otosclerosis there is a specialised operation known as a stapedectomy and this can be very effective. There may be other options too that your hearing professional will discuss with you.

There are also hearing aids designed for conductive hearing loss that will allow you to regain a large part of your hearing. These are known as bone anchored hearing aids and they transmit sound through the skull bones to the inner ear.

The Difference Between Mild And Moderate Conductive Hearing Loss


Like every other type of hearing loss, conductive hearing loss is divided into various types depending on the degree or severity of the hearing loss. For the sake of this post, we will be examining mild and moderate conductive hearing loss.

Hearing loss is divided into categories based on the minimum threshold that an individual can detect. The minimum threshold is measured in decibels. Decibels are the unit used to measure sound intensity.

Before examining the difference between mild and moderate conductive hearing loss, it is important to note that all hearing losses are not the same. Even if two individuals have the same type or degree of hearing loss, the impact and experiences of the two individuals are not the same.

Also, the fact that a hearing loss is referred to as mild or moderate does not mean that the hearing and communication difficulties are mild or moderate.

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Tinnitus As A Result Of A Trade

Fig. 5. Summary of the model. The right panel illustrates that tinnitus could depend on an increase of central gain and AN spontaneous firing or neural noise . Cochlear insults lead to an increase in central gain but not necessarily to tinnitus, as tinnitus is hypothesized to depend on residual spontaneous firing in the AN . An increase in central gain with preserved neural noise each increase the probability to induce tinnitus. Green gradient corresponds to VCN tinnitus, i.e. tinnitus caused by an increase firing in VCN. However, it is known that tinnitus can be present even after sectioning the cochlear nerve and profound hearing loss . It has been shown that VCN activity is completely suppressed after cochlear destruction. In this case, the DCN, which receives non-auditory inputs, may supplant the VCN in maintaining stable neural activity in auditory centers . We call this type of tinnitus DCN tinnitus . Two families of therapeutic strategies can be derived from this model . One strategy is aimed at decreasing the gain controlling neural sensitivity through the restoration of a near-normal distribution of sensory inputs . The top left insert illustrates this idea: compensating the reduced sensory inputs should decrease the slope of the inputoutput function of central neurons. Another strategy is aimed at decreasing spontaneous activity of the cochlear nerve, the main driver of neural noise in the central auditory system .

How Common Is Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is fairly widespread.

If you carried out a hearing test on a larger group of people, one-in-six would have a hearing loss of more than 25 dB, which is the definition of hearing impairment recognized by the World Health Organization, WHO. This means that around 16-17% of all adults have a hearing loss.

Numerous studies in Europe and USA have asked whether people have hearing loss. Around 10-11% of people asked answered that they believe they have a hearing loss. This is the same as between every ninth or tenth adult.

The difference between the two numbers is because it is not everybody with a hearing loss who is actually aware of it.

The older one becomes, the higher the likelihood that you have a hearing loss.

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Conductive Hearing Loss Treatments

As already stated, doctors can treat most cases of conductive hearing loss. Treatment for conductive hearing loss includes pharmaceutical treatment, surgical treatment, and supportive care. Each method is chosen based on the nature and location of the hearing losss causes.

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for conductive hearing loss instead, treatment is prescribed based on the underlying cause. For instance, treatment for conductive hearing loss caused by earwax blockage is different from conductive hearing loss caused by a ruptured eardrum.

What Are The Treatment Options

Types of Hearing Loss – Sensorineural and Conductive (2016)

If you are experiencing hearing loss, you should see an ENT specialist, or otolaryngologist, who can make a specific diagnosis for you, and talk to you about treatment options, including surgical procedures. A critical part of the evaluation will be a hearing test performed by an audiologist to determine the severity of your loss as well as determine if the hearing loss is conductive, sensorineural, or a mix of both.

Based on the results of your hearing test and what your ENT specialists examination shows, as well as results from other potential tests such as imaging your ears with a CT or MRI, the specialist will make various recommendations for treatment options.

The treatment options can include:

  • Observation with repeat hearing testing at a subsequent follow up visit
  • Evaluation and fitting of a hearing aid and other assistive listening devices
  • Preferential seating in class for school children
  • Surgery to address the cause of hearing loss
  • Surgery to implant a hearing device

These conditions may not, but likely will, need surgery:

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Is Conductive Hearing Loss Permanent

In most cases the correct treatment will fully restore your hearing. Even in apparently severe situations, such as a burst eardrum, most people will regain all or nearly all of their hearing. Naturally, this will depend on the severity of the damage.

It can be tempting, when dealing with seemingly minor problems like earwax buildup or ear infections, to treat them yourself. But we always recommend that you see a hearing professional or your doctor whenever you experience pain or discomfort in your ears or any hearing loss.

Some of the common self-treatment choices such as attempting to remove earwax with cotton buds or Q-tips may push the blockage further into the ear or even damage the eardrum. Removing earwax is a job best left to your hearing professional.

Likewise, leaving some of these conditions untreated may cause permanent damage or hearing loss. Frequent untreated ear infections may cause scarring that can permanently affect your hearing. And some of the bone related conditions may also lead to a permanent reduction in hearing ability.

But in all cases a visit to your doctor or hearing professional will quickly identify the problem and identify the best solutions.

What Are The Treatment Options For Conductive Hearing Loss

Is conductive hearing loss curable? Can a conductive hearing loss be treated? Yes, in most cases a conductive hearing loss can be either cured or treated.

The main treatments for conductive hearing loss are:

Most cases of conductive hearing loss are temporary and are cured by means of appropriate medical treatments, so it is important to seek immediate medical assistance.

Other types of conductive hearing losses can be treated with hearing aids or types of hearing implants.

Finally, some types of conductive hearing loss can be treated through surgery.

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