Comprehensive and Innovative Hearing Solutions
The professionals at Pueblo and Canon City Hearing Aid aim to help patients hear more details around them with new technology and comprehensive options for all kinds of hearing loss problems and conditions. We aim to keep up with advances in hearing loss treatment and give our patients the hearing aids they deserve. We want to amplify your world with comfortable and discreet solutions that improve your quality of life.
What Is Hearing Loss in One Ear?
Our bodies are meant to take in sound in a binaural way. This means that we use both of our ears to hear different parts of each sound. Hearing loss in one ear is known as unilateral hearing loss. Someone with unilateral hearing loss has significantly less hearing in one ear over the other, but they’re not completely deaf in the affected ear.
In addition to not hearing sounds correctly or only hearing parts of sounds, someone with unilateral hearing loss may also experience physical discomfort. The unbalanced sounds that come through both ears can feel like a strange pressure or like something is caught in the ear on one side. This is why it’s often referred to as “muffled hearing loss.”
Since the hearing loss on one side causes sounds to be out of balance, the person experiencing this may have trouble understanding sounds clearly, detecting where a sound is coming from or how far away it is, or can’t tune out noises that are in the background.
What Causes Unilateral Hearing Loss?
This type of hearing loss in one ear is typically caused by some kind of injury, trauma, illness, or infection. The ear is damaged in some way that results in hearing loss in one ear only. Known as conductive hearing loss, the damage stops sound waves from going through both ears.
A common infection that can cause unilateral hearing loss is “swimmer’s ear.” When swimmers go underwater, they can get water in their ears. If that water gets trapped or the ear becomes inflamed so that water is trapped, a bacterial infection develops that blocks the ear.
When people clean inside their ears with cotton swabs, they push cerumen (earwax) into the ear where it builds up into a blockage. As the blockage becomes worse, unilateral hearing loss occurs. There is a similar effect when a foreign object is inserted into the ear canal and gets stuck, a common problem with small children.
Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) can happen in only one ear. This type of injury causes a tear in the eardrum or damage to the small bones of the inner ear. Loud noises such as explosions, very loud concerts, or continued exposure to other loud noises are some of the ways NIHL can occur.
Traumatic injury to the head or brain is another common cause of unilateral hearing loss. Damage to the head on one side that also damages the structures of the ear can cause the blockage of sound waves that is characteristic of hearing loss in one ear.
Treatment for Unilateral Hearing Loss
The treatment for this condition depends on whether or not the damage is permanent. Hearing loss in one ear that is caused by trauma is often sudden. Sometimes, the damage can be repaired with time or with a surgical procedure. With infection and illness, antibiotics or other drugs can treat the cause of the hearing loss. If the cause is obstruction due to a foreign object or a buildup of cerumen, removing the blockage can reverse the hearing loss.
If the hearing loss cannot be repaired and is permanent, it can be treated with hearing aids. New and innovative technologies can mimic normal hearing, giving the person with unilateral hearing loss relief from the stuffed up or blocked feeling in the ear as well as providing hearing compensation in the affected ear.
Tips for Protecting Your Hearing Health
One of the most common things people do that causes a buildup of cerumen and eventually blockage is using cotton swabs to clean inside their ears. Cotton swabs should only be used on the outer part of the ear and never inside the ear canal.
Wear ear protection if you plan to be around loud noises or are frequently exposed to bursts of harsh sounds. Keep the volume turned down on your headphones or earbuds and give your ears frequent breaks from earbuds, over-ear headphones, or ear plugs of any kind.
There are certain vitamins and minerals that can help protect your ear health when included in a healthy diet. Ask a hearing professional about which foods are best for boosting hearing health and avoiding infections or illnesses that can lead to unilateral hearing loss.
Get Your Hearing Checked Today
Understanding your hearing health can be complicated. The professionals at Pueblo and Canon City Hearing Aid in Colorado are here to help. Call today for a consultation and to get your hearing health checked.