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A conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the one or more of the parts of the ear that conduct sound into the inner ear.
There are many potential causes of conductive hearing loss, with some causes being easier to treat than others. If you have any questions about conductive hearing loss or hearing loss in general, please contact one of our locations to speak with an audiologist. Send Home Our method Usage examples Index Contact StatisticsWe do not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content in this site. To understand the meaning of conductive hearing loss it is necessary to understand some of the anatomy of the ear. The main symptom for conductive hearing loss is a feeling that your ears seem to feel full or plugged. To learn more about the types of hearing loss and what can be done about it, watch our award-winning educational video.
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An audiogram shows the softest sounds a person can hear at different frequencies (pitches).
The frequencies displayed on the horizontal axis of the audiogram are those most crucial to hearing and understanding conversation, with low frequencies on the left and higher frequencies on the right.
Information on audiograms is encoded using symbols, each of which represents a different test condition. Audiologists present stimuli via bone and air conduction to determine the type of hearing loss. When the outer or middle ear is blocked or damaged, bone conduction thresholds will be better than air conduction hearing levels. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the cochlea or to the auditory nerve pathways. Test method and desired patient response is determined by patient age and developmental level. As children approach age 2 ? years, VRA is no longer effective because it cannot hold the child’s interest for the duration of the test.
Preschool: At 2 ? years of age, most children learn games used in conditioned play audiometry (CPA).


School-aged Children: At around age 4 years, children are ready to respond in a more adult-like manner known as a voluntary response. The ear canal, ear drum, and the tiny bones in the middle ear make up the conductive system and any hearing loss caused by a problem in one or more of these areas is called a conductive hearing loss. Malformation of the outer or middle ear structures, a middle ear infection in which fluid accumulates behind the eardrum, abnormal bone growth in the middle ear, a hole in the eardrum, or poor Eustachian tube function may be responsible for conductive hearing loss. Antibiotics or antifungal medications are usually prescribed for ear infections, whereas surgery is usually an option for malformed or abnormal outer or middle ear structures and other physical problems.
The hearing threshold is determined to be the lowest intensity (dBHL) at which multiple presentations of a frequency specific tone were detected 50% of the time. For example, the sound “sss” presents at a high frequency, while an “ooo” presents at a lower frequency. Air conduction testing involves the use of headphones, insert earphones, or speakers to deliver sounds to the ear canal through the middle ear and into the inner ear. Conductive hearing loss is defined as air conduction thresholds greater than 15 dB (outside the normal range) with bone conduction thresholds within the normal range. Consistent, reliable behavioral threshold testing is possible with children as young as 6 months developmental age. Neither the service provider nor the domain owner maintain any relationship with the advertisers. Unlike a sensorineural hearing loss a conductive hearing loss occurs because the sound entering the ear is reduced or dampened by the obstruction; there is no damage to the delicate nerves in the inner ear. Rarely, there may be more serious causes of conductive hearing loss and these conditions, if left unidentified and untreated, may have profound medical consequences. Hearing aids are often the best answer when surgery is not possible, because they significantly improve hearing and are convenient. If for some reason medical or surgical treatments are not appropriate for you, hearing aids should greatly improve your situation. The shaded region on the audiogram shows the range where most conversational speech occurs.
In general, a red “O” is used to represent the right ear while a blue “X” represents the left ear.
To the right is an audiogram of an individual with conductive hearing loss in the left ear.


Traditionally, the test setting involves the child and the audiologist sitting at a small table in a sound booth. In case of trademark issues please contact the domain owner directly (contact information can be found in whois).
A conductive hearing loss can often be partially or completely reversed with medical intervention.
Though usually not necessary, implantable hearing devices such as a bone-anchored hearing aid are an excellent alternative if neither surgery nor a traditional hearing aid are feasible options. In bone conduction testing a bone oscillator is placed behind the ear on the mastoid bone to deliver sounds directly to the inner ear by vibration, bypassing the outer and middle ear. Notice that air conduction results show a moderate hearing loss while bone conduction results show that the cochlea and sensorineural pathway are responding within the range of normal hearing sensitivity. The child is trained to respond to a stimulus by performing a task such as putting block in a bucket or a peg in a board.
Normal hearing is defined as having threshold at an intensity greater than or equal to 15dB HL.
Comparing air conduction and bone conduction thresholds helps determine whether a hearing loss is classified conductive, sensorineural, or mixed.
In a sound-treated room, an audiologist can quickly train a child to look towards something interesting like a puppet or video when a sound is heard (i.e. In cases where a child will not or cannot wear earphones for ear-specific threshold testing, sounds may be presented via speakers (in the “soundfield”). This technique enables audiologists to draw general conclusions about a child’s hearing but does not give any ear-specific information. Arrows connected to audiogram symbols indicate a no response value, indicating that at the specified frequency no response was detected. The Guidelines for Audiometric Symbols can be found on the website of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).



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