The hearing loss might result from any of three individual parts of the ear: the outer ear, the middle ear or the inner ear.

The Outer Ear

Anything that completely blocks the ear canal can cause hearing loss. Blockage with earwax (also called cerumen) is common. A doctor can cure this easily by removing the wax either with specially designed instruments or by flushing with water. There are many over-the-counter wax control preparations that can be used at home. However, they sometimes can cause external ear infections.

Many other problems can block the ear canal and lead to hearing loss. Such blocking causes a decrease in volume but does not generally produce distortion. These problems include:

  • Infections with swelling that shuts the ear canal
  • Foreign bodies in the ear
  • An injury
  • Birth defects
  •  A growth in the ear canal

Any of these, including blockage by wax, may result in conductive hearing loss. That is, it interferes with sound conduction and is generally correctable. It causes decrease in volume but does not generally produce distortion.

The Middle Ear

Problems that can affect the middle ear and lead to hearing loss include:

  •  Ear infections
  •  Fluid in the ear
  • Otosclerosis
  • Birth defects
  • Tumors

The Inner Ear

There are many conditions that cause the delicate inner portion of the ear to function abnormally. They include:

  • Otosclerosis
  • Presbycusis
  • Fistula
  • Head injury
  • Meniere’s syndrome
  • Noise
  • Infections
  • Sudden deafness
  • Neural problems

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