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Medical and Surgical Solutions

Doctor examining a boy's ear

"Manuel had a chronic ear infection. It made his hearing loss even greater. But his doctor treated it and I could really tell a difference." - Marcy

Medications or surgery may also help make the most of a child's hearing. This is especially true for a outer or conductive hearing loss, or one that involves a part of the outer or middle ear that is not working in the usual way.

One type of conductive hearing loss can be caused by a chronic ear infection. A chronic ear infection is a build-up of fluid behind the eardrum in the middle ear space. Ear infections are common for all children, including children who have a hearing loss. Even young infants can get them. If you think your child has an ear infection, it is important to take him or her to your child's doctor. For a child with a hearing loss, an ear infection can lessen the hearing even more. Please talk about this with your child's doctor, and your team.

Most ear infections can be treated with medication or with careful observation. If your child's doctor finds an ear infection, he or she may prescribe one or more medications for your child to take. Infections that don't go away with medication can be treated with a simple surgery that involves putting a tiny tube into the child's eardrum to drain the fluid out.

Another type of conductive hearing loss is caused by a part of the outer or middle ear that did not form correctly while the baby was growing in the mother's womb. There are several parts of the outer and middle ear that need to work together to send sound to the inner ear. If any of these parts did not form correctly, there might be a hearing loss in that ear. This problem can be improved and perhaps even corrected with surgery. An ear, nose, and throat doctor (otolaryngologist) is the health care professional who usually takes care of this problem.

Placing a cochlear implant is also a type of surgery. Please go to the cochlear implants section for more information.

Conductive Hearing Loss: Hearing loss caused by something that stops sounds from getting through the outer or middle ear.
Professional: For this CD-ROM, a professional is a person who has special training in health and education and works with children and families.
Middle Ear: The inner ear is made up of the snail shaped organ for hearing (called the cochlea) and the nerves that go to the brain.
Inner Ear: The inner ear is made up of the snail shaped organ for hearing (called the cochlea) and the nerves that go to the brain.
Outer Ear: The outer ear is made up of the parts we see (pinna), the ear canal, and eardrum (tympanic membrane).
Otolaryngologist: A physician who specializes in conditions related to the ear, nose and throat.
 

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Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities

    Hearing Loss Team

    1600 Clifton Road
    MS E-87
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    (800-232-4636)
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
  • Contact CDC-INFO
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC-INFO