can simulate a conductive hearing loss by plugging your ears with
your fingers. Sounds from the outside are softer while your own
voice actually sounds louder than normal. The following are some
common causes of conductive hearing loss.
When wax become impacted in the ear canal, it acts as an ear plug,
blocking sound waves from striking the eardrum. Excessive wax
may be softened with wax-softening drops and flushed out or removed
by a physician or other trained personnel. Q-tips should never
be used to remove impacted wax because they may push the wax deeper
into the canal or puncture the eardrum if inserted too deeply.
Small objects put in the ears, such as beads or food can block
sound or rupture an eardrum.
This painful bacterial infection can cause the ear canal to swell
shut, resulting in temporary hearing loss, and occurs when the
ear canal remains wet after bathing or swimming.
media (middle ear infection)
This is the most common cause of conductive hearing loss in children.
Otitis media is a general term used to describe a variety of conditions
affecting the middle ear. More than 85% of all children will have
at least one ear infection in childhood. In fact, ear infections
are second only to well-baby checks as the reason for office visits
to a physician.
are various forms and causes of otitis media. The single most
frequent factor is infected adenoids, which harbor bacteria or
obstruct the Eustachian tube that connects the middle ear with
the back of the nose (nasopharynx).
infections also may result from upper respiratory infections or
exposure to cigarette smoke. The two most common types of otitis
media are acute otitis media and otitis media with effusion.
otitis media (AOM) – Ear pain, fever, restlessness and some
hearing loss are common symptoms of acute otitis media (suppurative
otitis media). This type of ear infection may heal by itself
or respond to antibiotics.
In some cases, acute otitis media may cause the eardrum to rupture,
causing fluid drainage from the ear. If left untreated, it could
lead to more severe middle or inner ear infections.
media with effusion (OME) – (Fluid) Frequently follows an
episode of acute otitis media. OME occurs when fluid remains
in the middle ear, impeding eardrum vibrations and middle ear
bone movement. This can cause mild-to-moderate degrees of hearing
loss. In very young children, this hearing loss may hinder spoken
The treatment of otitis media with effusion is controversial.
Sometimes the infection heals on its own or with the help of
antibiotics or myringotomy to drain the fluid, and other times
it resists these conventional approaches. If the infection persists
and hearing loss is present, ventilation or pressure equalizing
(PE) tympanostomy tubes may be inserted to drain the fluid.
These tubes can remain in the ear for several months or even
Tubes can restore hearing, prevent persistent fluid build-up,
reduce the frequency of ear infections and prevent other serious
hearing loss is caused by dysfunction of the cochlea (sensory)
or auditory pathways to the brain (neural) and often is present
from birth (congenital).
hearing losses can range from mild to profound and may affect
all or only certain frequency ranges. For example, high-pitched
sounds may not be detected while low-pitched sounds are heard