The Causes of Conductive Hearing Loss

What is conductive hearing loss?

Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound waves cannot reach the inner ear. There could be a number of different reasons.

Most common causes:

  • A build-up of earwax in the outer ear stopping sound getting to the ear drum
  • Ear infection or inflammation in the outer ear (Otitis Externa) or middle ear (Otitis Media)
  • A build-up of fluid in the middle ear (Glue ear)
  • Perforated eardrum
  • A foreign body
  • Abnormal bone growth in the middle ear (otosclerosis)

Ear wax

A build-up of wax or fluid in the ear can cause hearing loss. This can be a symptom of an ear infection, or it may just be an accumulation of hard ear wax. Ear drops can be used to soften and loosen ear wax, and if this doesn't work your GP can use a pressurised flow of water. If you need any advice and support, our hearing care professionals are only a phone call away.

Perforated eardrum

This can be caused by an infection in the middle ear, a severe blow to the ear or damage caused by a foreign body (e.g a cotton swab used to clean the ear). As a result earache or discomfort and loss of hearing could be the cause. The eardrum has great healing abilities and can often heal itself within a few months, but if pain persists for more than two days, we recommend making an appointment to see your doctor.


This is where there is abnormal bone growth in the middle ear, which can interfere with the transmission of sound leading which can lead to gradual hearing loss. It typically develops in your 20s or 30s and can be treated with surgery, or with hearing aids.

These conditions can affect one or both ears and can often be cured by medicine or surgery. However, if you are experiencing conductive hearing loss, you may also benefit from wearing hearing aids. 

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