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 form hearing loss.
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 have a variety of curable ailments such as shingles, swimmers’ ear, or infection. In those cases you are in luck. With proper treatment you may regain complete hearing. Certain medications like those used for chemotherapy have also been known 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 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
It can be more of a struggle to determine if you have hearing loss in one ear over the other. At the beginning it can be as simple as switching preferences of which ear you hold the phone to when listening to a conversation. Or you may think your family member in the co-pilot seat is always mumbling directions into your ear when you otherwise hearing them fine. You may even realize there is 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 have full hearing in one side. 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.
Treatment of Hearing Loss
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. If the ear is inflamed, steroids take down the swelling, and foreign objects such as excess earwax can be properly removed. 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. 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!