Hearing loss is hereditary in nature. Moreover, it is not necessary that hearing loss occurs in both ears. It can occur only in one ear and referred to as unilateral hearing loss. Both children and adults are likely to experience hearing loss in one ear. Sometimes, it’s temporary and proper treatment can restore hearing.
10 Common Causes of Hearing Loss in One Ear
Here are the top 10 most common causes of hearing loss in one ear.
When the Eustachian tube is unable to supply air to the middle ear or drain the ear, there is a fluid build-up inside the ear. This can get infected and lead to inflammation. This infection of the middle ear is also known as otitis media. More common in children, ear infections can also occur in adults. Repeated ear infections can affect the functioning of the eardrum. (Know here: Home remedies for an ear infection)
Sometimes the Eustachian tube- that connects the throat with the middle ear-gets blocked due to an allergy, infection, altitude change that results in blockage of the tubes. This is the reason the tube is unable to drain the excess fluid that causes symptoms such as dizziness, hearing loss, etc. Moreover, when there is excessive production of earwax, the ear canal can get blocked. This also prevents the soundwaves to reach the eardrum.(Read more: Know the do’s and don’ts of ear cleaning)
Very loud noise
One of the main factors that contribute to permanent deafness is exposure to loud noise continuously. This occurs gradually over time. However, a sudden hearing loss in one ear is likely to occur when there is exposure to loud sounds due to an explosion.
The abnormal growth of extra bone inside the middle ear is known as otosclerosis. This is another common cause of hearing loss. In a patient suffering from otosclerosis, the bone growth in the middle ear stops the tiny bones from vibrating. This leads to hearing loss as the sound waves are unable to reach the inner ear.
In severe cases, surgery is the only option to clear the extra growth of bone. Some of the symptoms that people experience are- tinnitus along with dizziness.
This occurs in the inner ear canal of people belonging to the ages 30 and 50 years old. Some of the common symptoms people experience are dizziness and ringing inside the ears. Some people with Meniere’s disease are also likely to be sensitive to the sounds of a particular frequency. However, the actual cause of Meniere’s disease remains unknown.
Autoimmune inner ear disease
In an autoimmune disorder, the body cells attack itself. Autoimmune disease spreads fast once it starts. Hence, it is important to get hold of a doctor immediately as medical treatment won’t be very effective.
A perforated eardrum is defined as a hole or tear in the eardrum– the thin tissue that separates your ear canal from your middle ear. The main symptom of a perforated eardrum is an earache. The person may also experience constant buzzing in the ears or dizziness. The only treatment option for a ruptured eardrum is tympanoplasty.
A type of sensorineural hearing loss, Presbycusis occurs with growing age. The first symptom that a person is likely to experience is muffled or unclear speech or asking people to repeat themselves or turning the TV volume louder than usual.
When there is a significant change in atmospheric pressure, such as flying or driving, it can cause an abnormal pressure in the middle ear cavity that puts pressure on the eardrum. A person having a cold is more likely to have barotrauma that can result in complications including permanent hearing loss.
A symptom of ear cancer, tumors can also contribute to an earache. The tumor can develop on the hearing nerves or auditory nerves that connect the inner ear to the inner brain. This can lead to loss of hearing as well as an imbalance in the body.
How to treat hearing loss in one ear?
Depending on the cause of the hearing loss, there are treatment options that can cure the problem. Some of them are-
- Antibiotics for ear infections
- Removing excessive ear wax
- Instructions to remove a foreign object in the ear
- Repair to the perforated eardrum
- Wear hearing aids
In an ideal situation, you should contact an ENT specialist when there is a gradual loss of hearing in one of the ears. After a thorough examination with an audiologist, he/she will evaluate and diagnose the problem properly.