Hearing Loss in One Ear (Unilateral Hearing Loss)

Unilateral hearing loss means there is a hearing loss in one ear. It is also known as Single-sided or one-sided deafness. Let’s discuss unilateral deafness causes, symptoms, and treatment.

Can you imagine your life without ears or with the Hearing Loss in One Ear? 

Well, this will be troublesome for us, as we have been gifted with two ears. Hence the absence of either one of them can disbalance you. But, What will happen if one ear will stop hearing?

In this present world, the Hearing loss has become a common problem, and we all are aware of this. But we can not blame others for this because only we are responsible for such a loss to us. The need for digitally advance technology for humans is highly responsible for this. Because humans created stuff that produces noise and makes humans deaf.

You can purchase the latest hearing aids at a fair price through HearingSol, If you need any assistance or you have a query regarding Hearing Aid or Hearing Loss in One Ear, feel free to call us at 1800-121-4408. We are always here to help you.

What is Sudden Hearing Loss in One Ear?

It may be possible that the person is suffering from a sudden hearing loss in one ear. You can call it as Unilateral hearing loss or Single Side Deafness. Unilateral hearing loss is nothing but only a type of hearing loss. Thus it is also a troubling disorder, that is not less than the hearing loss in your both side ears.

This problem arises when there is normal hearing in one ear and impaired hearing in another ear. It sometimes referred or called as Single Sided Deafness (SSD). This is a form of sudden hearing loss that affects millions of people all around the world. It can be a severe or inclusive hearing loss in that ear. This problem can be caused by some diseases or from an accident.

audiogram of unilateral hearing loss

In the United States alone, an estimated 60,000 people per year acquire this condition, and in the United Kingdom, it is estimated that more than 9,000 new cases are diagnosed every year.

It is also known as a minimal hearing loss. Because you do not fully lose your hearing abilities. Well, the main reasons behind the unilateral hearing loss are similar to binaural hearing loss. A person may suffer from a hearing loss in one ear. It includes his current lifestyle, accumulation of earwax in the ear canal, ear infections, some medications or drugs, also various diseases that are responsible for it too. Now let us study this serious in detail.

What is Unilateral Hearing Loss Causes?

Well, various common reasons are behind this problem. Sometimes your laziness and ignorance for such common symptoms like – ear wax, pain, slow hearing, play a major role in it. Because untreated ear problems can worsen your normal hearing abilities. If you do not aware of it as soon as possible then you will definitely suffer from Hearing Loss in One Ear.

What causes hearing loss in one ear

Following factors can cause single-sided deafness :

1. Medications

Sometimes the excess use of few medications, which include chemotherapy drugs, diuretics such as furosemide, salicylate (aspirin) toxicity, antibiotics such as streptomycin and tobramycin. These can cause hearing loss to you when taken an overdose or without consulting to a doctor.

2. Viral Infections

This is possible that the virus of Mumps, Measles, Rubella, and Shingles can damage the cochlea. The cochlea is located in the inner ear and responsible for receiving sound vibrations with the help of tiny hair cells. However, these hair cells do not regenerate. Therefore once they are damaged or destroyed, your hearing is permanently affected.

3. Waardenburg Syndrome

Waardenburg Syndrome is a very rare disease. This disorder occurs during the birth of a child. If a child suffers from this syndrome then it is possible for him to have the hearing loss since their birth.

4. Meniere’s disease

Meniere’s disease is a group of different symptoms that can together cause this problem to you. This problem affects the inner part of the ear. Therefore eventually it leads you to the hearing loss in one ear or both ears.

5. Meningitis

Meningitis happens because of the death or damage of nerve endings which known as hair cells. These tiny hair cells reside in the cochlea which is an auditory portion of the inner ear. This damage leads you to mild to medium hearing loss. Also, it causes physical damage to cochlea itself. Which can be the reason for a severe to profound hearing loss.

6. Microtia

Most of the children who suffer from microtia do have hearing loss in the affected ear. Because often there is no ear canal to transmit the sound waves to the inner ear.

7. Labyrinthitis

Labyrinthitis is an inner ear disorder. Sometimes single side deafness can be caused due to a disorder of the inner ear. Because it is responsible for the apparatus to become swollen and irritated.

8. Acoustic Neuroma

Acoustic Neuroma is a type of tumor. This tumor of tissue grows slowly on the nerve of the internal ear. When it becomes large enough then it presses the nerve. Thus it affects and causes hearing loss in one ear.

9. Physical Trauma

A sudden and violent nature of the injury or head trauma may cause damage to the auditory pathway. Any one of the above changes to the ears can result in hearing loss.

10. Eardrum rupture

A tear or hole in the eardrum is called the eardrum rapture. It happens when you try to put any sharp objects inside your ear canal. This problem can cause serious ear injury and leads you to the hearing loss.

11. Neurofibromatosis type 2

Neurofibromatosis type 2: An inherited disease that causes non-cancerous growths to appear on the auditory nerve.

12. Otitis Externa

Otitis Externa which can be called Swimmers’s ear is an inflammation of the outer ear and ear canal. Sometimes when the moisture or water trap inside your ear canal can be the reason for the growth of bacteria and infection.

13. Otitis Media

Otitis Media (with effusion) is a thick and sticky fluid behind the eardrum that causes infection in the internal part of the ear. Also, this problem can cause you pain and problem in regular hearing.

14. Temporal arteritis

Temporal arteritis is an inflammation and damage to the blood vessels in the head and neck. This problem is also known as giant cell arteritis or can be called Horton’s Arteritis. It happens when the blood vessels of the temples are swollen and narrowed.

15. Vertebrobasilar insufficiency

Vertebrobasilar insufficiency is poor blood flow to the back of the brain inhibits the functioning of auditory pathways and leads to unilateral or binaural hearing loss.

One-Sided Hearing Loss Problems

What is the difference between the life led with normal ear and dead ear? Though a person may have only one dead ear, it may affect your life adversely. As the normal working of both ears leads to perfect balance in your life. What problems a person can face with single-sided deafness? Let’s have a look at them.

1. Faces Conversation Problems

The one-sided impairment leads to the problem in conversation. The brain “hears” a sound more loudly when it’s perceived through both ears than if the same sound at the same decibel was only perceived through one ear. This is because the brain reads nerves located in both ears and uses this information to process sounds. Thus, all sounds will register as softer or muffled to the impaired ear.

2. Cognitive load

Ability to understand speech while performing other tasks. The more noise there is, the longer it takes your brain to focus and complete tasks. If you’re trying to listen to someone speak while completing a task, you will miss whatever the person is saying.

3. Sound Localization Problems

You will be unable to recognize the direction and source of sounds. If this exists, you may face problem in crossing the street or navigate in traffic. Therefore one impaired ear can be life-threatening.

4. Unable to hear in a noisy room

The person becomes unable to separate background noise from the sounds that we want to hear. If someone will call you from another room, you may not understand what he/she wants to say and this interrupts communication. However, in environments where there is more noise, it can be difficult for unilateral hearing loss sufferers to engage in conversation and communicate as freely as they would like to.

Single-Sided Hearing Loss Symptoms

  • Irritability
  • Sound aversion
  • Presence of socially awkward body language and mannerisms like staring at other mouths and tilt the head frequently
  • Stress, anxiety and frequent headaches
  • Social isolation
  • Chronic Interpersonal Communication
  • Jumpiness
  • Unable to recognize the source of sound
  • Light dizziness
  • Evasive behavior – Trouble in understanding what people are saying
  • Talking loudly or broadcasting

Impact of Unilateral Hearing Loss on Children

What is the impact of unilateral hearing loss for these children due to the difficulties in those environments?

Impact of Unilateral hearing loss on Children

One in 1,000 newborns is identified with unilateral hearing loss at birth. By the time they reach school age, 3 in 100 children may have developed unilateral hearing loss (Bess, Dodd-Murphy, & Parker, 1998)

Because a child with UHL does not hear the full picture, they are more likely to experience difficulty in the following areas:

  • Speech-language disorders
  • General communication difficulties
  • Psycho-linguistic dysfunction (ability to learn the language)
  • Social-emotional problems
  • Poor academic skills and development
  • Reduces the overall development of the children
  • Hinders the children personality development

If the person is facing the above problems, he can understand that unilateral hearing loss is as serious as binaural hearing loss. Thus if he neglects these, it can worsen the situation. Thus he should immediately think about his dead ear in order to make it live. It is important to deal with this problem for the stability of daily life.

How to Help People with Unilateral deafness?

Well, single-sided deafness cannot be treated but various methods, technologies and treatment options can restore the sensation of hearing from both sides. It may involve using your “good” ear to help correct the “dead” ear.

Hearing Loss in One Ear Treatment

If you are suffering from a hearing loss in one ear, you should not avoid it and visit an audiologist. He will perform hearing tests to know the specific underlying causes behind your dead ear. During tests, he may ask several questions, in order to know the present situations of the ear and the problems you are facing due to it. Then your treatment will depend on the cause of hearing loss.

Following treatments can work in single-sided deafness :

  • Surgery to repair the ear or remove a tumor
  • Antibiotics to treat the infection
  • Steroids to reduce inflammation and swelling
  • Stopping use of the medication that may be causing the hearing loss
  • Finding the best possible sitting and listening positions and reduce background noise

Hearing Devices for Single-Sided Deafness

Various hearing devices are available at the best options for the people suffering from the unilateral hearing loss like BAHA hearing aids, CROS, and Bi CROS hearing aids and microphone technology.

BAHA (Bone Conduction Hearing Aids)

BAHA single sided deafness

A newer alternative is the bone-anchored hearing aid, BAHA which has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, FDA. The BAHA system has been regarded as a successful treatment option in Europe since the late 1970s. Currently, the BAHA system is worn by 15,000 people worldwide.

BAHA is based on the principle that the best way to restoring the sensation of hearing loss is to transfer the sound from the deaf side to the hearing side.

It uses a surgically implanted abutment to transmit sound by direct conduction through the bone to the inner ear, bypassing the external auditory canal and middle ear. This way, it can increase hearing in a noisy environment and helps to localize the sounds.

Hearing Aids for Unilateral Deafness


Hearing Aids like CROS and Bi-CROS assist the people and helps to reduce the problems of unilateral hearing loss. It routes the sound coming from the side of the deaf ear to the standard ear. The patient wears one device on the deaf ear that picks up the sound by way of a microphone. This sound is then wirelessly transmitted to a hearing aid that’s worn on the normal ear.

Suppose the person has a dead ear along with the impaired ear that can be aided, in that case, Bi-CROS hearing aid is useful.

hearing aids for single sided deafness

Wireless Microphone technology

Remote wireless microphone technology is the recommended solution for children with unilateral hearing loss to hear better in noise and at a distance. Using a wireless microphone, the voice of a teacher or peers is sent directly to a child wearing a small receiver either alone or attached to their hearing aid. This technology can reduce all the hindrances caused due to single-sided deafness and makes the teaching-learning process smooth and effective.


Whether hearing loss is unilateral or binaural, it will disturb your peaceful and happy life. It may disturb you by tinnitus, ear pain in the upcoming period. Thus instead of ignoring these hearing-related problems, you should focus on both of your ears. Single-Sided deafness can disturb the balance of your activity as well as the natural balance of life.

You can purchase the latest hearing aids at a fair price through HearingSol, If you need any assistance or you have a query regarding Hearing Aid or Hearing Loss in One Ear, feel free to call us at 1800-121-4408. We are always here to help you.

Read More:

Is Hearing Loss in one ear considered a disability?

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