Single-Sided Deafness – What You Should Know

If you’re experiencing difficulty hearing in one ear, you may have single-sided deafness. It’s estimated that up to 60,000 Americans develop the condition each year.

We’re taking a closer look at what you should know about single-sided deafness.

Single-Sided Deafness – What You Should Know

Single-Sided Deafness is also known as one-sided hearing loss, or unilateral hearing loss (UHL). As indicated by the name, it refers to a hearing loss (or in some cases complete deafness) in one ear. Below, we discuss the causes of single-sided deafness, symptoms you should look out for and potential treatment options.

What Are The Symptoms of Single-Sided Deafness?

Single-sided deafness results in “monaural hearing”. Normal hearing is known as “binaural hearing”. Binaural hearing involves both ears working together to process the sounds that we hear. It’s a very similar process to our use of both eyes to see; we need hearing in both ears to process sounds accurately.

Many people who have one-sided hearing loss report more difficulties hearing than those who have hearing loss in both ears, known as binaural hearing loss. Some of the problems that one-sided hearing loss can cause include:

  • Difficulty hearing conversations on the affected side
  • Difficulty determining the origin of sound
  • Difficulty understanding speech in an environment with background noise
  • Difficulty with social communication
  • Difficulty concentrating in large, open environments

What Causes Single-Sided Deafness?

Single-sided deafness usually happens quickly and is often caused by a specific incident. Some examples may include:

  • An injury to the ear
  • Blockage in the ear
  • Tumor in the ear
  • Illness
  • Reaction to certain types of drugs

Healthline notes that SSD can also be a result of head or ear injuries. A foreign body in the ear that can be caused by any of the following medical conditions:

  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Eardrum rupture
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Neurofibromatosis type 2\
  • Otitis externa (swimmer’s ear)
  • Otitis media with effusion
  • Shingles
  • Reye’s syndrome
  • Temporal arteritis
  • Vertebrobasilar insufficiency

Hearing loss in one ear may also be caused by prescription medications, including:

  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Diuretics such as furosemide
  • Salicylate (aspirin) toxicity
  • Antibiotics such as streptomycin and tobramycin

Treatments for Single-Sided Deafness

If you’re experiencing hearing loss in one ear, seek treatment ASAP. The sooner you have a diagnosis and treatment, the better your chances are of recovering. Treatment will depend on the cause, and must be diagnosed by a hearing professional or doctor. Treatment options can include:

  • Antibiotics or steroid medication
  • Surgery
  • Hearing aid for the affected ear

Hearing, Balance, & Speech Center is Here to Help You with all Your Listening Needs

If you’d like more information on Single-Sided Deafness, or to book a complimentary hearing assessment, please contact us at Hearing, Balance, & Speech Center to speak with one of our hearing professionals. We are here to take care of all your listening needs. Call us on (203) 208-3678 or request an appointment online.

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The purpose of this hearing assessment and/or demonstration is for hearing wellness and to determine if the consumer may benefit from using hearing aids, which may include selling and fitting hearing aids. Products demonstrated may differ from products sold. Assessment conclusion is not a medical diagnosis and further testing may be required to diagnose hearing loss. The use of any hearing aid may not fully restore normal hearing and does not prevent future hearing loss. Hearing instruments may not meet the needs of all hearing-impaired individuals.