Causes Of Hearing Loss In One Ear
information and advice
The causes of unilateral hearing loss are very similar to those that cause problems in both ears. Overall, hearing loss in one ear is more likely to be caused by an infection or a traumatic incident than more natural causes like age or long-term noise exposure:
Our hearing naturally deteriorates over time. The hair cells of the inner ear become damaged or die, ear wax hardens and other medical conditions begin to have an impact. Sometimes, one ear can be affected a lot more than the other.
Whilst earwax is vital for keeping your ears clean, too much of it can cause a blockage. This tends to happen as it hardens and dries out, expands in water or gets caught in a narrow ear canal. When this happens, sounds struggle to reach the eardrum and you can experience hearing loss in one ear.
This inner ear disorder generally only affects one ear. As well as causing hearing loss, Ménière’s disease can also lead to severe dizziness (vertigo) and a constant noise that only you can hear (Tinnitus).
A ruptured eardrum is simply a small hole or tear in the eardrum. It is generally the result of a build up of pressure which can be caused by infection, air travel, loud sudden noise or direct trauma. Typically, when sound reaches the eardrum it causes the tissue to vibrate and so transfer the sound from the middle ear to the inner ear. A perforated eardrum can’t vibrate properly or act as an effective barrier to protect the inner ear. That’s when you can get hearing loss in one ear.
Ear infections are often confined to one ear and can result in fluid build up. This fluid acts as a blockage within the ear and can prevent the sensitive hair cells from vibrating freely. Infections likes otitis externa (swimmer’s ear) can cause inflammation of the ear canal, preventing sound from travelling freely.
Some antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and chemotherapy drugs can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss in one ear, specifically the inner section. Your doctor will discuss this with you before prescribing any medication and they will have carefully weighed up the risks. It generally becomes an issue when large doses are required.