Schallleitungsschwerhörigkeit: Behandlung, Ursachen, Symptome

Conductive hearing loss - what is it and what can help?

Through a mechanical chain in which your drum head, your ossicles and your labyrinth play an important role, sound is transmitted from the air into your ears and converted in the nerve fibers. This process is also known as transduction by experts. If you suffer from a conductive hearing loss, this transduction of sound is disturbed. As a result, your hearing is correspondingly limited. With us you can learn everything about conductive hearing loss, we will gladly enlighten you.

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In this article you will learn all the important information about conductive hearing loss. We give you detailed information about the diagnosis, the symptoms and also the causes. In addition, you can learn everything about the possible forms of treatment. If you have any questions, you are welcome to call our experts for a free, no-obligation consultation. Just dial our phone number and do not hesitate any longer.

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Why does conductive hearing loss occur?

There can be different causes for this type of hearing loss. Most often, the external auditory canal or the area of the middle ear is affected. The mechanisms underlying hearing loss can be very diverse. Typical causes are:

  • Inflamed areas
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  • Cholesteatom
  • Otosclerosis
  • Scarring changes
  • Middle ear infections
  • Plugs from earwax and congestion
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  • Foreign bodies
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  • Otitis externa
  • Accident
  • Fracture of the petrous bone

Typical symptoms

In everyday life, with this type of hearing loss, you can perceive the sounds only quietly. For you, a conversation is very exhausting. Not only the quality of the sounds is important, but also the way you can perceive high and low tones. Most of the time you feel like you're listening through absorbent cotton or wearing earplugs.

Diagnostics

There are different ways and methods to detect conductive hearing loss. One example is otoscopy.

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An otoscopy will determine if there is a foreign body in your ear canal or if the drum skin is injured. Typical foreign bodies include earwax. A middle ear effusion can also be excluded with it.

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The Weber test works somewhat differently. In this test, the hard of hearing ear is then lateralized. This means that you can perceive the sound louder in this test. This test means that the doctor puts a tuning fork on the top of your head. Normally, you should be able to perceive the sound equally loud in both ears.

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The Rinne experiment also reveals a disturbance in sound conduction. The struck tuning fork is placed on the bone behind your ear. Then you wait until you can no longer perceive any sound. The tuning fork, which is still vibrating, is then placed in front of your ear and you should be able to hear the sounds again through the air conduction. But if you can not, the result is a negative gutter experiment.

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A tympanogram will determine how mobile your drum head is. If you have exactly the same pressure in the middle ear as you do in the outer ear canal, the drum head will vibrate normally. If, on the other hand, there is a difference in pressure, your vibration pattern also changes, which in turn affects how sound is transmitted. Through this examination, your doctor can detect, for example, increased pressure from a tympanic effusion or other causes. The same applies to decreased pressure, for example, if there is a ventilation disorder. Thus, the cause of your conductive hearing loss can be better narrowed down.

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With a subjective test, or a sound threshold audiogram, the doctor determines whether there is a disorder in the air conduction or in the bone conduction. The goal is to tell the difference between whether it is a conductive hearing loss or a sensorineural hearing loss. In this case, the air conduction curve is targeted, and the much higher decibel levels are compared to the bone conduction levels. In order for you to perceive sounds via bone conduction, louder sounds are also necessary. With a hearing loss, however, the sound over the airway is conducted worse.

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What are my treatment options for conductive hearing loss?

The determining factor is always the degree of disability associated with a conductive hearing loss. The treatment can be complicated or simple. Namely, if it is due to earwax, it can be promptly corrected and removed manually without effort and quickly. The situation is somewhat different in the case of a ventilation disorder. This can also be brought under control with medication. A decongestant nasal spray is an example of this.

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For example, a small incision in the drum head is sufficient to relieve a tympanic effusion. This allows the secretion to drain, resolving the hearing loss. The small incision heals quickly by itself.

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It is especially common in childhood. In this case, a so-called tympanostomy tube can be inserted. This keeps the hole in the tympanic membrane open, preventing further inflammation. The same is true for effusions.

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If, however, there are other causes of hearing loss, such as inflammatory processes or otosclerosis, the treatment is somewhat more complicated. Certain diseases destroy the ossicles, so complex procedures are required. However, with today's modern procedures for surgery, it is possible to replace at least parts of the ossicles. In the case of conductive hearing loss, hearing aids can also provide optimal help. So you can restore your hearing.