Understanding Hearing Loss

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Conductive hearing loss

A conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is unable to effectively pass through the outer and middle ear to the inner ear.

Conductive losses can be temporary or permanent and are usually mild or moderate.

Glue Ear is the most common conductive hearing loss in children. This animation explains how we hear and illustrates how the middle ear can become filled with fluid as a result of Eustachian tube dysfunction.


The bones of the middle ear (ossicles) are the smallest bones in the human body. A build-up of fluid behind the eardrum means that they are not able to transmit sound effectively to the inner ear.





The Glue Ear MeshGuide has been written to provide detailed advice for parents/carers, practitioners and professionals about the cause of Glue Ear, diagnosis and interventions. For most children Glue Ear will clear and intervention will not be needed. For some children however, Glue Ear can be persistent, resulting in a hearing loss that can impact speech and language development and adversely affect listening and behaviour. 



A conductive hearing loss could be caused excessive wax, a damaged ear drum or related to the structure of the middle or outer ear. The inner ear can function normally with a purely conductive hearing loss.


Mixed Loss
Some children will have a combination of a permanent senorineural hearing loss and a conductive hearing loss.