Conductive hearing loss is caused by a blockage or damage to the outer or middle ear, prior to sound reaching the inner ear. This type of hearing loss is often (but not always) medically treatable, as it is most often caused by ear infections, fluid buildup, earwax buildup, or anatomical and mechanical problems with the structures of the ear canal and/or middle ear.
Symptoms of conductive hearing loss can include muffled or distorted sound, difficulty hearing soft sounds, and a feeling of fullness or blockage in the ear. Treatment options depend on the cause of the blockage and can include medication, surgery, or hearing aids, and is sometimes capable of complete hearing restoration.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. It occurs when there is damage to both the outer or middle ear, and the inner ear. This type of hearing loss can be caused by a combination of the causes mentioned in each previous type (SNHL and conductive hearing loss). Sometimes, conductive hearing losses that remain untreated, can progress into the inner ear and ultimately cause more permanent damage.
Symptoms of mixed hearing loss can include difficulty understanding speech, muffled or distorted sound, and hearing loss in one or both ears. Intervention options depend on the cause of the hearing loss and may include hearing aids, medication, or surgery.
Diagnosis Informs Support Needs
It is essential to identify the type of hearing loss and seek appropriate care. If you are experiencing hearing loss, it is important to consult with an audiologist who can help determine the cause of your hearing loss and develop a management plan that meets your specific needs. With the right strategy, many people with hearing loss can lead full, active lives.
At NB Hearing we are trained and experienced in the diagnosis and management of various hearing loss types and other conditions that affect hearing and balance. Contact any one of our Cape Town offices for patient-centred care and intervention.