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