Deafness or loss of hearing is a most debilitating condition. It may vary from mild loss of particular pitch or notes to a complete inability to hear sound. At whatever level, it creates social difficulties and any help that can be obtained can make a substantial difference to an individual’s well-being.

Deafness is discussed here because ageing creates a certain amount of hearing loss, often within sociably acceptable levels, but of course it can occur at any age.

Acute or sudden deafness must be treated as an emergency and should be reviewed by a specialist. Deafness can be divided into two groups: conductive and neurological .

Conductive deafness

Sound is transmitted from the external ear canal through the eardrum and the ear ossicles into the vestibular canal, which houses the ends of the auditory nerve fibres. This part of the ear can be considered the conductive part. Trauma, obstruction, infection and bone diseases such as arthritis of the ossicles can all be a cause of a loss of hearing.

Neurological deafness Deafness that occurs because of damage to the neurological system may occur through trauma or infection in the vestibular canal, or neurological disease , trauma or infection along the auditory nerve to the part of the brain that registers sound. Congenital or hereditary deafness may occur because of malformation or damage to any aspect of the brain or ear.


Establishing the cause of deafness is paramount and any diminution in hearing should be checked by a GP, who should refer you to an ear specialist.

Obstructive causes should be removed if possible. Obstruction may occur because of fluid

Conductive Deafness – Ear and Brain Section

Obstruction or infection in the external ear canal or in middle ear, containing the ear ossicles, may obstruct sound waves and prevent them from being translated into impulses in the auditory nerve fibres. in the middle ear and for treatment see Otitis media and ‘Glue’ ear.

Conductive deafness though damage or arthritic conditions in the ear ossicles may respond to naturopathic treatment but this needs to be specific and a visit to a homeopath and a herbalist is recommended.

Do not hesitate to use hearing-aid appliances. If naturopathic treatments do not help and no surgical procedure will benefit, then the use of hearing aids can make a profound difference.

If specific problems such as cholesteatoma, labyrinthitis or glue ear are the cause of deafness, please refer to the specific section here.