ABCs of Conductive Hearing Loss

Hearing aids can be used in correcting conductive hearing loss so it’s important to discuss your options with your doctor. This is particularly true in cases when the Corti organ in the cochlea still normally functions. The hearing aids amplify the sound coming from the outside into the outer or middle ear.


But what’s conductive hearing loss in the first place? Here are the basics that you should know in case your doctor gave a diagnosis of conductive hearing loss.


A – About Conductive Hearing Loss

There are a few types of hearing loss and conductive hearing loss is common. This is the result of issues in the delivery of sound waves to the cochlea, the part of the inner ear responsible for the sense of hearing.


But don’t worry prematurely about it. The good news is that most cases of conductive hearing loss have good prognosis.  Like most types of hearing loss, early diagnosis and intervention will make a significant difference in preventing more hearing loss or improving hearing capability.


B – Being Aware of the Signs

The signs and symptoms of conductive hearing loss can be confused with the signs of other illnesses or injuries. Their duration and severity can also widely vary depending on the exact cause.


If you have two or more of these symptoms, either simultaneously or in succession, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible.

  • Muffled hearing, such as when the voices of others seem far away
  • Steady or sudden loss of hearing in one or two ears
  • The feeling of fullness or stuffiness in one of both ears
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance (The ear plays a major role in balance and coordination)
  • Drainage from the ears
  • Feelings of tenderness, discomfort and/or pain in the ears


Your doctor will conduct medical history and physical exams, as well as order laboratory exams to determine the exact cause behind these symptoms.


Causes of Conductive Hearing Loss

When the natural movement of external sound waves through the external or middle ear becomes blocked, the result is conductive hearing loss. In this case, some but not all of the sound waves enter the inner ear, thus, the decreased hearing capacity.


There are several causes of conductive hearing loss, particularly to the damage on the ear’s external structures.

  • Earwax buildup, which can completely block the ear canal
  • Swimmer’s ear, also known as otitis externa, isn’t just related to swimming in pools and other bodies of water. Instead, it’s an infection in the ear canal that can also be the result of use of cotton buds or Q-tips as well as water exposure.
  • Foreign bodies, such as small objects like beans and beads, can get stuck in the ear, as is the case for children. In adults, it can be small insects being lodged in the ear.


Other causes include non-cancerous lesions in the bones in the ear canal; aural atresia or physical defects in the external ear canal; and infections in the middle ear.



HK Hearing & Speech Centre

Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,

and Hearing Aid Prescription

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HK Hearing & Speech Centre
Rm 02, 5/F.,
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