Hearing loss in one ear is a widespread issue and deserves as much attention as other hearing impairments, both unilateral and bilateral.
In this quick read blog post, we discuss:
- What is unilateral hearing loss?
- Causes of hearing loss in one ear
- Managing hearing impairments
- How to protect your hearing
What is Unilateral Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss in one ear can drastically affect a person's quality of life, communicational and social skills, and the condition is not unique to a specific age group. Unilateral hearing loss is a mild to profound hearing loss affecting only one ear. People suffering from this kind of condition have problems following conversations especially in noisy environments and locating the direction of the sound.
Hearing loss can be sensorineural (usually permanent) or conductive, usually treatable and reversible. Conductive hearing loss is common to occur in the ear canal or middle ear and some causes include infections, fluid or earwax build-up. Sensorineural hearing loss affects the inner ear or ear nerve. Unfortunately, it is not treatable but a variety of hearing aids exist that can help in managing hearing impairment.
The reasons behind unilateral hearing loss are various, both acquired and hereditary. There are also a number of cases where the cause remains unknown. Children affected by unilateral hearing loss can have later speech development, shorter attention span and difficulty concentrating.
Depending on the particular case, a specialist can recommend different treatments to improve the condition or a suitable type of hearing aid to help in coping with it.
Causes of Hearing Loss in One Ear
The most common reason for hearing loss is advanced age but it can also be a result of various other sources. Age-related hearing loss in one of the most popular global causes of a unilateral hearing impairment.
Hearing loss in one ear can be a genetic condition or acquired during birth. It can also be due to:
- Clogged ear
- Head trauma
- Various diseases later in life such as meningitis, mumps, measles etc.
Many medications have also been proven dangerous for hearing such as some chemotherapy drugs and antibiotics. Apart from all these, however, one of the most widespread enemies of hearing is noise. Continuous exposure to noise could be detrimental to hearing and cause both gradual and sudden hearing loss.
Managing Hearing Impairments
Depending on the type of hearing impairment, difference action points may be required to effectively manage hearing loss in one ear.
Hearing aids are a popular way to manage unilateral hearing loss. Single-sided hearing impairments often require extra amplification to bring the weaker ear more in-line with your normal ability to hear in your stronger ear.
Alternatively, depending on the severity of the loss, CROS, bone anchored and bone conduction hearing aids may be better suited to your needs.
How to Protect your Hearing
If you suspect a hearing difficulty with one of your ears, you should seek immediate help from an ENT specialist or audiologist in order to determine the type and cause of the condition and to prescribe the most suitable treatment or hearing aid.
To preserve the existing hearing in your impaired ear and your healthy ear, it is advisable to avoid noisy environments or wear appropriate ear protection when that is not possible.
Online Hearing Test
Check your hearing with our online hearing test.
It is free, only takes a few minutes, and results will indicate if you should take further action to prevent hearing loss.
About Hearing Direct
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