Unilateral hearing loss refers to hearing loss that only occurs in one ear. A profound hearing loss can also be referred to as single-sided deafness. While unilateral hearing loss may often be viewed as minimal hearing loss - after all, you can still hear in your other ear, right? - hearing loss in one ear can have quite an impact on your daily routine.
If you believe you are living with hearing loss but aren’t quite sure where to start, a hearing screening can be a great first step. However, if your hearing loss has come on suddenly, be sure to contact your doctor. Sudden hearing loss may indicate a more severe condition and should be treated immediately.
If you’re struggling to hear in one ear but have a “good” ear, you may be tempted to put off seeking help. But there’s a reason we have two ears—and it’s not just for looks. Your ears actually work together to create a balanced, natural and clear sound. Hearing from both sides also means better identifying where a sound is coming from, keeping you safer and more aware of your surroundings.
Book an appointment with one of our hearing centers to get your hearing tested for unilateral hearing loss.
Unilateral hearing loss affects the ability to perceive sound direction and location because it interferes with the way the brain processes auditory information from the two ears. This can cause difficulty in distinguishing sounds in noisy environments and reduce overall hearing efficiency.
The most common signs and symptoms of unilateral hearing loss include:
It’s important to seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms, as early detection and treatment can greatly improve hearing outcomes. Your doctor may refer you to a Hearing Care Professional for a hearing screening and other diagnostic tests to determine the cause and severity of your hearing loss.
An audiogram is a visual representation of a person's hearing ability, showing the quietest level of sound they can hear at different frequencies (pitches) on a graph. In the case of unilateral hearing loss, there will be a larger discrepancy between the hearing abilities of each ear. One ear will indicate normal hearing abilities, while the other will indicate a certain level of hearing loss.
The audiogram below demonstrates what a unilateral hearing loss could look like. The left ear, indicated by the blue line with an X, shows normal hearing, where as the right ear, indicated by the red line and O, shows a hearing loss within the higher frequencies.Book an appointment with one of our hearing centers to get your hearing tested for unilateral hearing loss.
There is no magic formula to prevent unilateral hearing loss, but there are several steps you can take to reduce your risk:
The specific cause of your unilateral hearing loss will determine the best course of treatment. If a buildup of wax, for example, is causing hearing issues in one ear, your Hearing Care Professional can remove the wax and your hearing should be restored. Other causes, including viral or bacterial infections, may be treated with antivirals, antibiotics or steroids.
There are times, however, that unilateral hearing loss may be permanent. If this is the case, your Hearing Care Professional can help you find ways to manage your hearing loss. Hearing aids are a great way to take back your hearing health.