What is conductive hearing loss?


Conductive hearing loss is caused by problems in the outer ear or middle ear. It can be as simple as a wax blockage in the outer ear that can be quickly treated by a hearing care professional. Conductive hearing loss can also refer to more severe conditions that may be permanent and can require amplification with technology.

Causes of conductive hearing loss

A man's ear.

Temporary causes


  • Ear blockage due to cold or allergies
  • An ear infection
  • Swimmer’s Ear: when water becomes trapped in the middle ear and causes an infection. When treated properly, the infection can be healed and hearing can be restored.
  • Excess wax in the outer ear

Long lasting problems, like


  • Malformation of the outer ear or middle ear 
  • Tumors
  • Measles and mumps leading to otosclerosis, which means one of the bones of the middle ear doesn’t work as it should
  • Sudden head trauma affecting the bones of the ear

Treatment of conductive hearing loss

Some forms of conductive hearing loss can be treated with simple medical treatments. 

Ear infections often respond well to antibiotics. Repeated ear infections are sometimes treated by implanting tiny drains (or tubes) in the ear, a quick process often done on an outpatient basis. 

More serious cases of conductive hearing loss may require more extensive surgery in order to restore full hearing. 
Hearing care professional's tools.
Hearing care professional testing a patient's hearing.