Do you find yourself reminding friends and family to speak into your “good” ear? If so, you’re not alone. Single-sided hearing loss, or unilateral hearing loss, impacts around 60,000 Americans.
Single-sided hearing loss is hearing loss that impacts one ear. It can develop at birth or later in life.
If you have single-sided hearing loss, your hearing may be muffled in one ear. You might not be able to hear certain sounds as clearly as you can with your other ear.
Single-sided hearing loss can occur gradually or suddenly. Seek medical attention right away if you’re experiencing sudden single-sided hearing loss.
At PHC Tennessee, your hearing care is always our biggest priority. Our leading team of trusted audiologists will help you identify the root cause of your hearing loss and recommend the best treatment for your unique case.
Types of Single-Sided Hearing Loss
There are two types of single-sided hearing loss — sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the inner ear is damaged. It’s common when there are issues with the nerve pathways that send messages from your inner ear to your brain. It’s not uncommon for sensorineural hearing loss to be permanent.
Conductive hearing loss can bring symptoms like muffled hearing, a “full” sensation in the ear, dizziness, and tenderness. It happens when the movement of sound through the ear is blocked.
When single-sided hearing loss is so profound that there’s no hearing left, it’s referred to as single-sided deafness (SSD).
Causes of Single-Sided Hearing Loss
Single-sided hearing loss can have many different causes. Once we understand the reason for your symptoms, we can treat them properly. Some reasons for single-sided hearing loss are:
- Injuries to the ear
- Head injuries or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Earwax buildup
- Swimmer’s ear
- Foreign object blockage
- Middle ear infection
- Eardrum problems
- Health conditions
- Loud noise exposure
Symptoms of Single-Sided Hearing Loss
If you have single-sided hearing loss, you may become disoriented in a crowd. That’s because it’s easier for your brain to filter out unnecessary sounds with two ears.
It might be tough for you to distinguish where a sound is coming from or how loud it is, since your brain processes sounds using signals from both ears.
The symptoms of single-sided hearing loss can be frustrating. They can interfere with your day-to-day life and make certain activities more difficult. The good news is that there are many ways to manage your single-sided hearing loss.
Treatment Options for Single-Sided Hearing Loss
With proper care, temporary single-sided hearing loss can be effectively treated, and your hearing will return to normal in time.
If your single-sided hearing loss is permanent, it will usually come on slowly. You may not even notice it at first. There are many treatments available today that will help you manage your symptoms.
Single-sided hearing loss can be treated with:
Our expert audiologists at PHC Tennessee make it our mission to provide you with the best solutions and hearing aids for your unique situation.
Coping Strategies for Single-Sided Hearing Loss
Coping with single-sided hearing loss can be a challenge, but these strategies make it easier.
Let others know about your condition
If the people around you know about your condition, chances are they’ll want to accommodate your needs. Don’t be afraid to tell the people you interact with daily that you have trouble hearing out of one ear. This includes your coworkers and servers in a restaurant.
Letting others know about your condition will save you from the awkwardness that can come with asking them to repeat themselves. Bottom line—ask for what you need!
Don’t be afraid to repeat what you think you heard
Odds are you’ll have to ask speakers for clarification from time to time. It can be helpful to state what you think you heard, and then ask for clarification. The speaker will be gently reminded of your condition, and they won’t have to repeat everything they said. The more comfortable you are with your single-sided hearing loss, the easier it will be for you to cope with it in your everyday life.
Explore hearing aids
Thanks to advances in technology, there are many effective hearing aid options on the market today. At PHC, we can help you choose the best hearing aid for your budget, lifestyle, and unique situation.
When Should You See an Audiologist?
If you’re experiencing single-sided hearing loss symptoms, you should see an audiologist right away—especially if your symptoms are sudden.
With locations in Park West, Fort Sanders, Lenoir City, Tellico Village, and Morristown, we’ve got your hearing needs covered. Our audiologists at PHC Tennessee will perform a comprehensive hearing exam to diagnose the cause of your single-sided hearing loss symptoms. We’ll recommend the best treatment plan for your individual case.
If you’re in East Tennessee and experiencing hearing loss in one ear, schedule an appointment with Tennessee’s most trusted audiologists today.