What Type of Hearing Aids Are Best for Conductive Hearing Loss?
If you’re hard of hearing and have been diagnosed with conductive hearing loss, a hearing aid can do much more for you than simply improve your hearing.
These small electronic devices are nowadays custom-programmed to your individual needs and preferences.
Hearing aids have been shown to improve your ability to converse with others, even in situations with a lot of background noise.
As such, they can help stimulate your brain, feeding it the information required to stay fit and keep age-related cognitive decline at bay.
With the right hearing aids, you’ll be able to locate the source of sounds with ease and can once again enjoy listening to music and watching TV.
And since you no longer have to strain to hear, you’ll feel less tired at the end of each day.
Are you wondering what types of hearing aids are the best for conductive hearing loss?
Here’s a short guide to choosing the right hearing aids if you have conductive hearing loss, covering the following:
- What is conductive hearing loss?
- Causes of conductive hearing loss
- How can hearing aids help?
- The best hearing aids for conductive hearing loss
What is Conductive Hearing Loss?
We differentiate between three categories or types of hearing loss depending on the underlying cause of impairment: Conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss.
|Conductive hearing loss is a type of hearing loss that occurs when sounds cannot reach the inner ear due to physical blockages, injury or trauma.|
Modern medicine and sometimes surgical intervention can fix most cases of conductive hearing loss. In some instances, hearing aids may be required to allow you to hear again.
Keen to learn more about sensorineural hearing loss and mixed hearing loss? Read on here.
Causes of Conductive Hearing Loss
As mentioned above, conductive hearing loss can be caused by physical damages or blockages, including
This is important because the underlying cause will determine the appropriate choice of treatment, including whether or not hearing aids make sense for you!
The treatment for conductive hearing loss may be as simple as removing a tiny object stuck in your ear canal or as complicated as surgically implanting an osseointegrated device – a bone-anchored hearing aid.
Symptoms of Conductive Hearing Loss
Depending on the cause, conductive hearing loss can occur suddenly or accumulate and worsen over time.
Assuming the inner ear and auditory nerve are still intact, you may only experience difficulty with the loudness of sounds or speech, but not the clarity.
That means you may find yourself turning up the TV volume to watch your favourite show.
Some experience conductive hearing loss only as a full or “stuffy” sensation in one or both ears, often accompanied by dizziness.
As you see, the symptoms of conductive hearing loss are diverse.
They may involve a variation of the following:
- Sudden or increasing loss of hearing
- Hearing normally in one ear, but not the other
- Pain, tenderness or feeling of pressure in one or both ears
- Increased difficulty to hear conversations, in-person or on the phone
- A strange smell coming from the ear canal
- Fluid draining of the ear
Since it can be challenging to spot conductive hearing loss, only a thorough hearing assessment with a hearing care professional can determine the type and cause of any hearing loss.
How Can Hearing Aids Help?
Once you’ve confirmed the type and cause of your hearing loss, your audiologist can recommend a suitable treatment option.
If an obstruction causes conductive hearing loss, they will carefully remove any material that doesn’t belong in your ear canals. This may include the extraction of earwax.
If an ear infection causes your hearing loss, they will instead prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medications to ward off the infection.
Sometimes, only surgery can improve your hearing. For example, conductive losses caused by abnormal bone growth are corrected with a surgical procedure.
But, if your conductive hearing loss is caused by:
- Stenosis – a cervical spine abnormality that can manifest as hearing loss, vertigo, or tinnitus
- Auditory Canal Exostoses – benign bony growth within the external auditory canal
- Otosclerosis – an inherited condition that affects the middle ear and causes gradual hearing loss
- Or an ossicular chain discontinuity – an abnormal separation of the middle ear bones
It may not be reversible and instead considered a permanent hearing loss that can only be treated with standard or bone-anchored hearing aids.
|Antibiotic or antifungal medications are given if your hearing loss is caused by chronic ear infections or fluid accumulation in the middle ear.||Surgery may be used to correct conductive hearing loss present at birth due to defects such as the absence or malformation of the ear canal or middle ear. Also applied when trauma to the head has caused damage to the ears.||In cases of stenosis, auditory canal exostoses, otosclerosis and ossicular chain discontinuities, amplification through bone-conduction or conventional hearing aids may be most appropriate.|
Bone-Anchored vs. Conventional: Which Hearing Aids Work Best for Conductive Hearing Loss?
Traditional hearing aids are small electronic devices worn inside or outside the ear canal.
Their fitting does not require any type of surgical intervention. Ninety per cent of those diagnosed with a hearing impairment will resort to wearing ‘normal’ hearing aids.
Bone anchored hearing aids (BAHA) are implantable devices meant to fuse with the skull bone over time and bypass damaged structures in the auditory canal and middle ear.
Bone-anchored hearing systems work best for people with conductive hearing loss who have at least one inner ear that functions as intended.
This includes children or adults with severe outer or middle ear malformations and single-sided deafness (unilateral hearing loss).
Bone-anchored hearing aids may also be recommended in cases of conductive hearing loss caused by extreme, chronic ear infections or an inability to wear traditional hearing aids.
Ultimately, what hearing aid style is best suited for you largely depends on your needs and preferences, the cause and degree of your hearing loss, and other health factors.
If you think you may be a good candidate for traditional or bone-anchored hearing aids or would like to schedule a comprehensive hearing test to get to the source of any hearing issue you experience, contact the friendly team at Attune Hearing!