If you have been diagnosed with conductive hearing loss, you might wonder what comes next. What can be done to allow you to hear better? Determining the best cause of treatment will start with proper identification of the cause of your hearing loss. Causes like an object in the ear, or earwax are easily treated, but there are some causes of this type of hearing loss that require a careful treatment plan. Luckily, there are procedures and devices that can help you recover your hearing.
One cause for conductive hearing loss is a hole in the eardrum. This is called a tympanic membrane perforation and it occurs when the membrane between the middle ear and the ear canal tears. When this occurs, the middle ear bones do not transmit sound efficiently. Sometimes a doctor can treat this condition by placing a paper patch or dissolvable gel stone over the opening of the hole and treating the edges of the perforation to encourage the membrane to grow back together naturally.
Some perforations require a more extensive surgery where the doctor creates a scaffolding inside the ear to promote ear function and hearing. In situations where the ear bones have eroded, the physician can repair or replace them with an internal prosthetic.
In a situation where a patient has a growth in the middle ear or mastoid, it is necessary for them to have surgery to correct it. A mastoidectomy removes the mastoid cells inside the mastoid bone, if the growth occurs there. This procedure can also be used for cochlear implants or other situations where the surgeon needs access to the middle ear.
Many causes of conductive hearing loss do not require surgery. Most middle ear problems that stem from infection can be treated with antibiotics or ear drops and patients can expect a full recovery. A child experiencing Eustachian tube dysfunction may require temporary ear tubes, and someone with impacted earwax can have their ENT physician easily remove the buildup.
In cases where surgery may not be the best choice, patients may opt for a hearing aid. There are also bone-anchored hearing appliances that can be placed behind the ear to provide sound in cases of conductive hearing loss.
No matter the cause of your conductive hearing loss, it’s important to consult an ENT physician to determine the proper course of treatment.