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Having more difficulty hearing on one side versus the other? You may be experiencing unilateral hearing loss, a condition where one ear hears perfectly fine while the other may be completely deaf or suffering from hearing loss.


Uncovering Causes of Hearing Loss on One Side    


So what exactly causes hearing loss on one side as opposed to both?

There are the same general culprits – loud noises over time, aging, and heredity. These more “natural” causes tend to affect both ears, but it is possible that they only affect one.

You could have also had a variety of curable ailments such as shingles, swimmers’ ears, or infections. In those cases, you are in luck. With proper treatment, you may regain complete hearing.


Medications Causing Hearing Loss In Only One Ear

Certain medications like those used for chemotherapy have also been known to cause temporary or permanent hearing loss.

Major sounds can rupture the eardrum, as well as continued, regular excessive noise levels. However, there are also more dangerous causes like tumors or illnesses such as Meniere’s disease that cannot be fixed.


Meniere’s Disease and Unilateral Hearing Loss

Meniere’s disease can bring the feeling of vertigo, the ringing of tinnitus, and the feeling of pressure. Any of these symptoms alone may be uncomfortable but together can point to an issue in one ear.


Diagnosing Hearing Loss: One Ear or Two?

It can be more of a struggle to determine if you have hearing loss in one ear over the other. In the beginning, it can be as simple as switching preferences of which ear you hold the phone to when listening to a conversation.


Hearing Loss on One Side and Having Trouble During Conversations

Or you may think your family member in the co-pilot seat is always mumbling directions into your ear when you otherwise hear them fine.

You may even realize you have pain in one ear and not in the other or hear distinct ringing on one side. In these cases, you may be less willing to go to the doctor since you still have full hearing on one side.


Determining if You Can Only Hear in One Ear and Not The Other

Your doctor is still your best friend! They can complete a hearing test on both sides and determine which is weaker and if there is a definitive solution to the problem or if hearing aids may be beneficial.

Doctors will be able to leverage their extensive medical training to dive deeper into why you’re having a hard time hearing on one side. Getting an accurate diagnosis is essential to being able to properly treat your condition. 


Taking A Hearing Test to Determine if Have Trouble Hearing in One Ear and Not The Other

If you’re starting to notice you have difficulty understanding your friends and family or need to turn the tv up higher, it’s probably time for a hearing test. There are tons of options when it comes to taking a hearing test. For something fast you can take at home, try an Online Hearing Test. 

Online Hearing Tests offer a quick and easy way to check your hearing. You can also stop in a local clinic, or head over to a Cosco near you to have a hearing test done by a professional.

Test Your Hearing For Free Now

Treatment of Hearing Loss: Ensuring Proper Care

With such varied causes of hearing loss in one ear, it is imperative to contact your doctor. They will be able to determine the cause as well as provide feedback as to the proper treatment methods.


Unilateral Hearing Loss and Steriods to Reduce Swelling

If the ear is inflamed, steroids take down the swelling, and foreign objects such as excess earwax can be properly removed.


Treating One Ear with Antibiotics and Regaining Hearing

Antibiotics help for infections, and surgery is usually an option for tumors or other various ear maladies. When the malady is not curable and only treatable, hearing aids may be the best option to regain what was lost.


Balance Issues When You Have Different Hearing Abiliites In Each Ear

If the loss is only in one ear, wearing only one hearing aid may cause balance issues. Therefore, the use of one or two hearing aids is up to the discretion of both doctor and patent.

As with any hearing loss, contact your doctor right away so your problem does not get any worse. Hearing loss on one side is better than on both!


By: Diana Michel, Updated in 2021 by Kim Smith