In order for the individual to be able to hear normally, sound must be able to travel freely from the outer ear to the inner ear. A blockage of the movement of sound from the outer ear to the inner ear is called conductive hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss has many possible causes. People who experience hearing loss should consult a physician so that the cause may be identified and promptly treated. This can reduce the risk of permanent hearing loss.

Ear infections can impair hearing. Acute otitis media is the medical term for middle ear infection. Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the ear canal or outer ear. Though swimmer’s ear may cause minor hearing loss, conductive hearing loss due to infection is usually caused by a middle ear infection. Bacterial infections are often treated with antibiotics.

Earwax or a collection of fluid can block the passage of sound through the ear and cause conductive hearing loss. The collection of fluid may be a condition called glue ear. Often, these blockages can be non-surgically removed by a physician.

Some medical conditions can interfere with the ability of sound to travel from the outer ear to the inner ear which can cause conductive hearing loss. Otosclerosis causes rigidity of the auditory ossicles of the middle ear which impairs the auditory ossicles’ ability to vibrate and transfer sound.

Injury to the ear or infection can damage to the auditory ossicles. This damage can cause conductive hearing loss. Injury to the eardrum can cause a perforated eardrum which can cause hearing loss. Perforated eardrums may heal on their own or require surgery. A perforated eardrum can be caused by a head injury, infection, a blow to the ear, or by poking something into the ear.

Hearing tests are used to determine the degree of hearing loss. Two examples of hearing tests are the tuning fork test and the pure tone audiometry tests. These tests check for hearing loss and identify the degree of hearing loss. Once the cause and degree of hearing loss is determined, the physician may suggest treatment options.