Hearing Loss in One Ear

Have you ever found yourself asking people to speak into your “good ear”? If you have, you understand how frustrating hearing loss in one ear can be.

Signs, causes &


Also referred to as “single-sided deafness”, unilateral hearing loss occurs when you have hearing issues in one ear while the other ear seems to be fine.

The condition affects approximately 7% of adults.

It’s also believed that about 1% of children are born with hearing loss in one ear.

The extent of unilateral hearing loss varies. Some people may have limited access to sound in their “bad” ear, while others may not be able to hear anything at all.

Signs of Unilateral Hearing Loss

Several signs suggest you may have hearing loss in one ear. Look for the following signals that you may need to book a hearing check with the Freedom Hearing team.

Background noise affects your ability to hear speech

The things other people say may get lost amongst the background noise.

You find it harder to focus on specific sounds because other noises keep getting in the way.

It’s hard to figure out where sounds come from

When both your ears are working as they should, you can usually pinpoint where a sound comes from.

If you’ve found sound localization more difficult lately, you may have the beginnings of unilateral hearing loss.

Asking people to speak into your “good ear”

Speech and sounds may seem muffled on one side of your head and clear on the other. You may find that you keep turning your head to hear better or asking people to speak into your other ear.

Conductive vs. Unilateral Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs when some type of blockage affects the external or middle parts of your ear.

Examples include impacted wax blocking your ear canal or fluid trapped in your ear.

Unilateral hearing loss may occur as a result of conductive hearing loss. However, they’re not the same thing. Hearing loss in one ear may also occur due to damage to the tiny hair cells in one ear or damage to the inner ear.

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Causes & Treatment

There are several infections and diseases that can cause hearing loss in one ear:

  • Mumps
  • Meningitis
  • Microtia
  • Measles
  • Mastoiditis
  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Ménière's disease
  • Waardenburg syndrome

Physical trauma to a single ear may also cause unilateral hearing loss. Plus, the condition can be one of the effects of ageing.

Treatment for unilateral hearing loss varies depending on the specific cause. Sometimes, surgery or antibiotics can solve the problem, especially if a conductive issue is causing the hearing loss. If that isn’t the case, a hearing aid, may restore some or all of the hearing in your ear.

If you’d like to learn more about unilateral hearing loss or find out if the condition affects you, book a hearing check with our team today.

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Hearing Loss in One Ear FAQs

Unilateral hearing loss occurs when one ear’s hearing is within normal limits while the other ear’s hearing is somewhat impaired.

Some people with unilateral hearing loss can regain some or all of their hearing with therapy.

However, for many people, hearing loss is a lifetime issue.

Thanks to modern hearing aids, more people are increasing their hearing ability.

Medical implants known as BAHAs are bone-anchored hearing aids.

Patients with unilateral hearing loss, as well as those who have ear canal or outer ear disorders such as microtia, usually utilise them.

The mastoid bone, which is found behind the ear, is surgically implanted with a small metal device.

Yes, hearing loss in one ear can cause dizziness. This is because the inner ear, which is responsible for both hearing and balance, is affected.

The brain receives conflicting information from the two ears, which can cause confusion and dizziness.

This condition is called unilateral vestibulopathy. It is important to see an audiologist or an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor to determine the cause of the hearing loss and dizziness and to develop a treatment plan.

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