At Home with Chris Jessen 2018 - 106
Let's hear it for
ne in six adults in the UK
struggle to hear the world
around them, according to
the charity Action On Hearing
Loss. The majority of those affected
have an inner-ear hearing loss that
can be helped by ampliﬁcation provided
by an appropriate hearing aid.
However, there is also a small number
of individuals who have a middle-ear
hearing loss, also known as conductive
hearing loss. In this cases, a hearing
aid isn't that helpful, but surgery can
be a viable option.
If you have a certain type of hearing
loss in your middle ear, it could be
time to sound out operation options
How do we hear?
Sound waves are collected by the
outer ear (pinna) and diverted towards
the ear drum via the ear canal. The ear
drum vibrates leading to oscillations
of the three small bones (ossicles)
within the middle ear (see diagram,
right). These oscillations are transmitted
into the inner ear by the footplate of
the third bone in the chain, known
as the stapes. Movement of the ﬂuid
within the inner ear leads to generation
of electrical impulses by the hair cells.
These electrical impulses are then
There are two main types
of hearing loss: 'conductive'
(middle ear, ear drum,
ossicles) and 'sensorineural'
(inner ear - cochlea or