Single-Sided Deafness Explained

If you’ve noticed that you are having a problem hearing in one ear, you may be experiencing single-sided deafness (SSD). SSD, also known as one-sided hearing loss or unilateral hearing loss (UHL), is not common. Hearing loss tends to affect both ears in people, although the hearing ability in one ear may be different to the other ear.

Causes of Single-Sided Deafness

SSD or one-sided hearing loss usually occurs instantly. It is normally the result of a specific incident, which could include:

  • An ear injury
  • A blockage in your ear
  • An illness
  • A tumor in your ear
  • A reaction to medication

Symptoms of Single-Sided Deafness

The most obvious symptom of SSD is a loss of hearing in one ear. Hearing care professionals will also note that patients who present with SSD often report greater difficulty hearing than patients with a hearing loss in both ears. The increased difficulty hearing is down to how our ears normally function. Binaural hearing is where both ears will work together to allow us to hear. Symptoms of single-sided deafness may also include:

  • Difficulty or inability to hear conversations on the side that’s affected
  • Difficulty understanding speech or conversations in places with background noise
  • Difficulty determining the origin of speech or sounds
  • Difficulty concentrating in open or large environments
  • Struggling with communicating socially

Treatments of  Single-Sided Deafness

If you suspect that you’re suffering with SSD, we recommend that you seek immediate treatment. With one-sided hearing loss, early treatment and diagnosis improves the chances of recovery. Your hearing care professional will be able to outline a course of treatment, depending on the diagnosis of your SSD. Common treatment options include:

  • Steroid medication
  • Antibiotics
  • Surgery
  • Hearing devices for the impaired ear

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Still have questions about hearing loss and the importance of early detection? We are here to help! Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of certified hearing care professionals at HearingLife (formerly Family Audiology).

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