Hearing loss is a common problem that affects people of all ages. It can be caused by many things, including exposure to loud noise, certain medications, and head injuries. In most cases, hearing loss is permanent and cannot be corrected.
There are three main types of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural, and mixed.
Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the outer or middle ear that prevents sound waves from reaching the inner ear. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve. Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing.
Potential Causes of Hearing Loss In One Ear
Exposure to loud noise:
This is the most common cause of hearing loss. Prolonged exposure to loud noise can damage the hair cells in the inner ear. Once these hair cells are damaged, they cannot be repaired.
As we age, our hearing ability naturally declines. This type of hearing loss is called age-related hearing loss.
Earwax buildup in one ear:
If earwax accumulates in the ear canal, it can cause hearing loss. Earwax is a natural substance that protects the ear from dirt, dust, and other potential irritants. However, too much earwax can block the ear canal and cause hearing loss.
Ear infection in one ear:
An ear infection, also called otitis media, can cause hearing loss. An ear infection occurs when the middle ear becomes inflamed. Ear infections are most common in children, but they can also affect adults.
Abnormal bone growth in one ear:
Abnormal bone growth in the ear can cause hearing loss. This condition, called otosclerosis, often runs in families. In otosclerosis, an abnormal bone interferes with how sound waves travel to the inner ear.
Meniere’s disease experienced in one ear:
Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that can cause hearing loss. Meniere’s disease also causes vertigo, a feeling that you or your surroundings are spinning. The exact cause of Meniere’s disease is unknown.
Ruptured eardrum in one ear:
A ruptured eardrum is a tear in the thin tissue that separates your middle ear from your outer ear. This can cause hearing loss. A ruptured eardrum usually heals within a few weeks without treatment.
Issues With Hearing Loss In One Ear
Difficulty pinpoint direction of sound:
If you have hearing loss in one ear, it may be difficult to determine where a sound is coming from. This is because when sound waves reach the ear, they cause the eardrum to vibrate.
These vibrations are then transmitted through three tiny bones in the middle ear. The vibrations travel to the inner ear, where they are translated into nerve signals that are sent to the brain.
If you have a ruptured eardrum, the bones in your middle ear may not be able to vibrate properly. This can make it difficult to determine where a sound is coming from.
Difficulty detecting volume:
You kind of need both ears to figure out how loud something is in the same way that you require both ears to triangulate direction. Consider it this way: if you do not know where the sound is coming from, you will be unable to tell whether it is distant or simply quiet.
If you are only able to hear from one ear, your brain will work more harder. It is doing all it can to make up for the deficit in hearing caused by one of your ears. When a hearing loss occurs suddenly in one ear, this is especially true. This may make many activities throughout the day more challenging.
Tinnitus is a ringing, buzzing, or roaring sound in the ears. It can be temporary or long lasting. It can occur in one or both ears. Tinnitus is not a disease, but a symptom of an underlying condition.
What Should I Do With My Hearing Loss?
Another option is to speak to a hearing aids specialist. Hearing aids are small devices that amplify sound without needing surgery done.
If you would like to explore other options, you can also consult with an ENT specialist. ENT specialists are doctors who treat disorders of the ear, nose, and throat.
If you have severe hearing loss, you may be a candidate for a cochlear implant. A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted device that helps to restore hearing.
There are many options available to help you if you are struggling with hearing loss. Exploring all of your options is the best way to find the treatment that is right for you.
If you or someone you know is struggling with hearing loss, do not hesitate to reach out for help. There are many resources available to you.