Hearing loss from one ear can be caused by many reasons, depending on if the hearing loss came on suddenly or gradually. A doctor will deem hearing loss from one ear as a unilateral hearing loss or unilateral deafness caused by anything from ear wax buildup, a busted eardrum, or a medical ailment.
People who have hearing loss in one ear have difficulty comprehending speech in crowded areas, sensing higher-pitched noises, and having difficulty locating a sound. If you cannot hear out of one of your ears, seek medical guidance from a healthcare professional.
Medications and treatments can be helpful and might be deemed necessary for unilateral hearing loss, including the use of hearing aids, among other medical devices to help you.
Top 6 reasons why you might not be able to hear from one ear
1. Ear infection
A common reason for gradual hearing loss from one ear could be an ear infection. Bacterial or viral infection causes fluid to build up within the ear canal and can cause gradual and, in most cases, temporary hearing loss. Ear infections are often developed after a cold and are a commonality among children, typically only infecting one ear. Although this type of hearing loss can be an inconvenience as well as an annoyance, it usually isn’t any cause for much concern.
2. Ruptured eardrum
A particularly bad ear infection can cause a ruptured eardrum, exposure to really loud noises, pressure from take-offs on planes, or cotton swabs used for cleaning your ears. These cases of a ruptured eardrum aren’t usually permanent, but in some cases, like exposure to loud noises, it can be painless, but recovery sometimes isn’t possible. It’s best to take precautions when possible if you are exposed to loud noises or when boarding a plane, and always avoid placing objects within your ear canal.
3. Meniere’s disease
Meniere’s disease is a chronic condition that impacts the inner ear and balance. The cause of this disorder is unknown, but it is believed to be caused by fluid changes in the inner ear. Other causes could be genetics, allergies, and autoimmune disease. Meniere disease symptoms include hearing loss and vertigo and headaches, loss of balance, and nausea. Doctors diagnose this condition through hearing and balance tests.
4. Earwax buildup
The ear can clean up earwax to protect itself, but when it doesn’t and begins to block your ear, loss of hearing can occur. When the ear neglects to clean out the earwax that is supposed to fall out naturally, a doctor can help clean it out for you by using a curet device that will gently scrape out the excess earwax. Sometimes it can get so severely stuck that more invasive measures might have to be taken by way of specialized medical equipment.
5. Swimmer’s ear
A swimmer’s ear, or an outer ear infection, can cause hearing loss in one ear and can make your ears feel full and tender to the touch. This condition can happen when water stays in your ear after swimming or when scratches and abrasions are inflicted in your inner ear canal caused by cotton swabs or your finger.
It usually impacts only one ear but can also affect both and can be incredibly painful. To reduce your chances of getting a swimmer’s ear, wear earplugs when swimming and try to minimize contact with your inner ear canal.
6. Other possible causes
There are many potential causes of hearing loss from one ear that ranges from extremely common to very rare. Hearing loss from one ear can be a symptom if you suffer from shingles, temporal arthritis, or a tumor growing within the ear. Rare conditions like abnormal bone growth in the ear and Reye’s Disorder, most often found in children, can also cause hearing loss. Prescription drugs and certain treatments like chemotherapy, antibiotics such as streptomycin, and diuretics like furosemide can also all contribute to hearing loss.
What are your options when it comes to treatments?
Treating hearing loss from one ear depends on the condition that caused it. Some conditions will leave hearing loss inoperable, and medical devices from torontofamilyhearing.com, like hearing aids, will be recommended to help minimize the hearing loss already inflicted. Other treatments that might be recommended include:
- Ceasing the use of medication that is causing hearing loss
- Antibiotics to treat outer and inner ear infections
- Surgery to remove a tumor growth or to repair the ear
- Steroids to reduce inflammation
Under the advice of Harvard Health publishing, medical intervention should often be immediate when you suddenly suffer from hearing loss at any age, especially someone at an advanced age. If the hearing loss isn’t severe enough to receive medical attention, home remedies like hydrogen peroxide, baby oil, or mineral oil can be helpful. If home remedies do not work after a few days and hearing loss remains imminent, seek professional care.
FAQ about hearing loss
Q1: Why am I suddenly experiencing muffled hearing in one ear?
Those that experience muffled ears tend to have a feeling of plugged up or fully clogged ears. Do you feel like cotton or some other object is clogging up the ear? It might be best to act upon it. For most people, this is and will happen due to a conductive hearing loss because your sound waves can’t pass or move from the inner to the outer ear.
Q2: What to do if you experience muffled hearing?
Always contact a physician who can give you a proper examination of the ear or ears. Never try to self-diagnose yourself since chances are that you won’t get your treatment just right. Have a talk with your doctor and see your options.
Q3: When does a hearing aid help?
At times the hearing loss can be treated with a hearing aid, which is when a hearing aid can be used to provide a binaural hearing. This can also be helpful and can come in handy if you have just one ear that you can’t hear with. Then, the sound is transmitted wirelessly to the better ear to be processed.
Q4: Is there a way to reduce my risk of getting sudden loss of hearing in one ear?
Sometimes your background can play a huge part, along with some hereditary concerns. But, if you wish to take care of your health and invest time & care for yourself, make sure that you:
- Eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals
- When and where needed, protect your ears from loud noises
- Don’t clean your ears as much with cotton
- Be extra careful when at loud concerts, shooting ranges, near airplanes, etc