According to American Speech-Language Hearing Association ASHA, conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently through the outer ear canal to the eardrum (tympanic membrane) and the tiny bones (ossicles) of the middle ear. It usually involves a reduction in sound level or the ability to hear indistinct sounds. It can occur in conjunction with sensorineural hearing loss that becomes mixed hearing loss.
Some possible causes of conductive hearing loss:
~Impacted earwax (cerumen)
~Infection in the ear canal (external otitis)
~Perforated eardrum can be due to prolonged infection in the middle ear or trauma when exposed to too loud sound such as bomb or being slap.
~Swimmer’s Ear (otitis externa)
~Presence of a foreign body such as insect or inserted object usually on paediatric
~Poor eustachian tube function, the tube that connect between ears to nose that stabilise pressure.
~Fluid in the middle ear from colds
~Ear infection (otitis media)
~Allergies (serous otitis media)
~Absence or malformation of the outer ear, ear canal, or middle ear
Treatment of conductive hearing loss is divided into three modalities: surgical, pharmaceutical, and management, depending on the nature and location of the specific cause. In cases of infection, the options available could be antibiotics or antifungal medications. Some conditions can be treated to surgical intervention such as otitis media (infection in the middle ear), cholesteatoma (noncancerous skin growth in the middle ear) and otosclerosis (overgrowth bone in the middle ear). If conductive hearing loss is due to head trauma, the option could be by surgical repair. If absence or deformation of ear structures cannot be corrected, or if the patient refuses surgery, hearing aids are a possible treatment option.
In the cases where eardrum is needed surgical repair, myringoplasty, tympanoplasty, and ossiculoplasty are the common option. Bone conduction hearing aids (BCHA) are useful as these deliver sound directly, through bone, to the cochlea bypassing the pathology. These can be on a soft or hard headband or can be inserted surgically, a bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA). Conventional hearing aids can also be used as one of the alternative to hear better and live better.