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Why Can't I Hear Out Of One Ear?

Can't hear out of one ear? This can be down to a number of things such as hearing loss, infection, a blockage, a ruptured eardrum or age.

In this blog post, we will guide you through what can cause the inability to hear out of one ear, treatment, and how to manage hearing loss.

Why can't I hear out of one ear?

A loss of hearing in one ear can occur at any point during anyone's lifetime. This could be a result of a medical condition, an infection, a ruptured ear drum, inner ear blockage, or other underlying issues.

A loss of hearing in one ear can occur suddenly or gradually over time. It can affect the left ear, the right, or even both. A sudden loss of hearing may be a result of an infection or blockage, whereas a gradual loss may be down to ageing or another medical issue.

What could cause a loss of hearing in one ear?

Hearing loss in one ear shares similar symptoms to clogged ear and muffled hearing. There could be a number of causes to why you can't hear out of one ear. Below are five common causes:

1. Ageing

As we get older, our hearing can naturally diminish. This could affect one ear over another where you may notice weaker levels of hearing in a particular ear.

Depending on the cause of hearing loss, you may have to take action to prevent further loss of hearing. Hearing aids are a valuable asset to effectively manage hearing loss in one ear, and we supply an affordable range of digital hearing aids to help you enjoy the sounds you love to hear.

2. Ear Infections & Colds

A common cause of being unable to hear from one ear is colds. This can affect your respiratory system which leads to an imbalance of pressure in the Eustachian tubes. The Eustachian tubes maintain the air pressure in your ears helping to keep it at the right levels. These tubes assist the drainage of fluid from the ears and help prevent infections.

A similar sensation and loss of hearing can occur with the occurrence of a sinus or ear infection. Visiting a medical practitioner could help treat this.

3. Wax Build-Up

A build-up of wax in one ear is another common cause of hearing loss. An accumulation of wax could result in sounds appearing muffled or quieter than usual. Subsequently, the removal of wax can help see your hearing revert back to normal.

We have a number of products to help with earwax removal including:

    • Audiclean Cleansing Ear Wash: Audiclean Ear Cleansing Wash is a great way to gently rinse residues from the ear canal and with regular use helps keep ears feeling clear and fresh and also prevents wax build-up.
    • AudiSpray Adult: AudiSpray works by gradually thinning and dissolving ear wax to gently remove excess wax, dust, dirt, and prevent blockages.
    • Earpal Earwax Remover: Earpal is THE ONLY SAFE WAY to remove earwax from your ears as it can never touch or perforate the eardrum by accident.
    • Earol Olive Oil Spray: A single metered dose of olive oil can be placed into the outer ear canal to soften and remove earwax.

4. Foreign Objects Causing a Blockage

When you can't hear out of one ear another cause may be a foreign object or liquids such as water. Trapped water can naturally disappear, however, a trapped object may require medical attention.

It is not recommended that you insert objects into your ear. This may result in compaction of any wax or damage to the ear drum.

5. Sudden hearing loss

A loss of hearing in one ear could be a result of sudden hearing loss.  SHL accounts for about 1% of the overall number of cases of sensorineural hearing loss & occurs rapidly, either all of a sudden or over a few days.

Anyone who experiences sudden hearing loss should visit a medical professional immediately.

6. Ruptured eardrum

A ruptured eardrum may cause hearing loss for a few weeks before it heals. Symptoms can include:

  • sudden hearing loss – you may find it difficult to hear anything or your hearing may just be slightly muffled
  • earache or pain in your ear
  • itching in your ear
  • fluid leaking from your ear
  • a high temperature
  • ringing or buzzing in your ear (tinnitus)

And it may have been caused by the following:

  • an ear infection
  • an injury to the eardrum, such as a blow to your ear or poking an object like a cotton bud deep into your ear
  • changes in pressure, such as while flying or scuba diving
  • a sudden loud noise, such as an explosion

You should visit your doctor if you have any symptoms so they can check that a ruptured eardrum is the cause of your hearing loss. Most of the time the eardrum will heal naturally over the course of a few weeks, but sometimes it may require surgery so don't be shy about getting it checked out.

How to treat hearing loss in one ear

We recommended that if you experience any sensation of loss of hearing or that you can't hear out of one ear, that you seek medical evaluation to determine what has caused the condition. Depending on the outcome, there could be a number of ways to treat and manage hearing loss.

We supply a number of valuable products to assist other causes of clogged ear such a wax build-up. This includes the items highlighted above. For more products, visit our ear hygiene page.

Alternatively, if the loss of hearing is permanent, we advise you seek our a device such as a hearing aid to assist your hearing.

Online hearing test

If you feel you can't hear out of one ear, checking your hearing may help identify a loss of hearing.

You can test your hearing with our online hearing check. It is free, only takes a few minutes, and you will receive your results instantly.

Further Information

Tips for unblocking your ears

About Hearing Direct

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Author: Joan McKechnie

Image of Joan McKechnieAfter qualifying as a Speech-Language Pathologist and Audiologist Joan has spent most of her 20 year career in hearing-care related roles. She has a wealth of experience within the hearing aid and hearing rehabilitation fields and has worked in manufacturing environments with two hearing aid companies helping to develop  products and roll out new technologies. Joan has been involved with Hearing Direct since its launch and enjoys the online retail environment which seeks to provide easier access to hearing products and accessories. She is HCPC registered. Read Joan's full bio here.