Why Can’t I Hear Out Of One Ear
A loss of hearing in one ear can occur at any point during anyone’s lifetime. This could be a result of a medical condition, an infection, a ruptured ear drum, inner ear blockage, or other underlying issues. A loss of hearing in one ear can occur suddenly or gradually over time. It can affect the left ear, the right, or even both. A sudden loss of hearing may be a result of an infection or blockage, whereas a gradual loss may be down to ageing or another medical issue.
Ear Congestion When Travelling
Air travel involves rapid pressure in air pressure, particularly during take off and landing. This puts stress on your middle ear and eardrum. Techniques to relieve this pressure include: yawning, chewing gum or sweets or repeatedly swallowing or yawning, which can readjust the pressure.
Congested when flying: if you are congested, you can also take an over the counter nasal decongestant 30 minutes before take off and landing.
How Is Sudden Deafness Treated
The most common treatment for sudden deafness, especially when the cause is unknown, is corticosteroids. Steroids can treat many disorders and usually work by reducing inflammation, decreasing swelling, and helping the body fight illness. Previously, steroids were given in pill form. In 2011, a clinical trial supported by the NIDCD showed that intratympanic injection of steroids was as effective as oral steroids. After this study, doctors started prescribing direct intratympanic injection of steroids into the middle ear the medication then flows into the inner ear. The injections can be performed in the offices of many otolaryngologists, and are a good option for people who cannot take oral steroids or want to avoid their side effects.
Steroids should be used as soon as possible for the best effect and may even be recommended before all test results come back. Treatment that is delayed for more than two to four weeks is less likely to reverse or reduce permanent hearing loss.
Additional treatments may be needed if your doctor discovers an underlying cause of your SSHL. For example, if SSHL is caused by an infection, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics. If you took drugs that were toxic to the ear, you may be advised to switch to another drug. If an autoimmune condition caused your immune system to attack the inner ear, the doctor may prescribe drugs that suppress the immune system.
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What Is Sudden Deafness In One Ear
Sensorineural hearing loss , also known as sudden deafness, occurs in one ear in 1/10 people. Often, a person notices SSHL upon waking in the morning, though some may experience a rapid loss of hearing over several days. People with SSHL may become dizzy, experience tinnitus, or hear a pop sound before their hearing disappears. Typically, it affects adults in their 40s and 50s.
SSHL is a medical condition that requires immediate treatment. Often people put off seeing help because they think ear wax, allergies or a sinus infection is causing the hearing loss. Early treatment improves the likelihood of recovering hearing.
An Audiologist can diagnose SSHL by conducting a hearing test and determine the next steps for treatment.
What Is Hearing Loss
Hearing loss makes it hard to hear or understand sounds. This happens when there is a problem with one or more parts of the ear, the nerves coming from the ears, or the hearing part of the brain.
Some people are born with hearing loss. But hearing loss may come on slowly over time or show up later in life. Hearing loss runs in some families, or may be caused by a birth defects, infections, or medicines that damage the ear. You cant prevent these kinds of hearing loss.
But you can do something about noise-induced hearing loss. A sudden loud noise or being around loud sounds over time can damage the tiny hair cells of the inner ear, making it hard to hear. If the noise around you is so loud that you must shout to be heard or you cant hear the people around you, there is a chance that youll have some trouble hearing.
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How Is Hearing Loss In One Ear Treated
Treatment options for your hearing loss will depend on the cause of your condition. In some cases, hearing loss will be irreversible. Your doctor may recommend a hearing aid to help improve your hearing if there is no other treatment for your hearing loss.
Other treatment options may include:
- surgery to repair the ear or remove a tumor
- antibiotics to treat infection
Brain Injury Or Head Trauma
A serious brain injury or head trauma can damage bones in the middle ear or nerves in the inner ear. This can happen after a fall or blow to the head. Other symptoms of a head injury include headaches, dizziness, and loss of consciousness.
Muffled hearing doesnt always occur by itself. It can appear with other symptoms, too. Its important to describe all symptoms to a doctor to help identify the underlying cause.
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Why Do My Ears Randomly Go Deaf
There are a few possible explanations for why your ears might randomly go deaf. One possibility is that you have a blockage in your ear that is causing you to lose your hearing. Another possibility is that you have a problem with your inner ear that is causing you to lose your hearing. If you have a sudden loss of hearing, it is important to see a doctor to find out the cause.
Some Medications Cause Hearing Loss
Some medications are considered to be ototoxic, which means that they cause hearing loss under certain circumstances. These medications include aspirin, some antibiotics, chemotherapy, and diuretics, to name just a few. Concerned about hearing loss from one or more of these medications? You should consult with your doctor and hearing specialist to discuss any possible alternative medications.
If it turns out that you have permanent hearing loss in one ear, its best to get it treated. Uneven hearing loss is taxing on the brain, which can cause headaches. Even mild hearing loss has been associated with cognitive decline. In fact, long-term untreated hearing loss has been linked to dementia, memory issues, anxiety, and depression. Its also disorienting when you can only hear from one ear. It makes it harder to locate the source of sounds, which increases your risk of accidents.
Thankfully, treating hearing loss is easy. Modern hearing aids are extremely powerful, can amplify conversation while blocking out background noise, and are extremely discreet.
Page medically reviewed by Kevin St. Clergy, Audiologist, on October 27, 2020.
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Can T Hear Out Of My Left Ear
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Foreign Objects Causing A Blockage
When you can’t hear out of one ear another cause may be a foreign object or liquids such as water. Trapped water can naturally disappear, however, a trapped object may require medical attention. It is not recommended that you insert objects into your ear. This may result in compaction of any wax or damage to the ear drum.
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Discharge From The Ear
A number of different conditions can cause discharge from the ear. Many of these are discussed in the sections above. The more common ones include:
- A burst eardrum. This is discussed above in the trauma and injury section. Another common cause of a perforated eardrum is otitis media, also discussed above. In this condition the inflamed eardrum becomes so stretched that it bursts. The infected pus in the middle ear then leaks out along the ear canal and can be seen. Typically, when this happens, a child has had an earache for a few days and then it suddenly becomes worse. Then the pus appears and usually the pain improves. This is because the eardrum is not being stretched so tightly anymore. An eardrum burst in this way usually heals up very well. However, antibiotics may be prescribed for the infection, so see your doctor.
- Outer ear infection .
- A foreign body in the ear.
Rare causes include:
- A cholesteatoma. This is the name for a build-up of cells causing a lump behind the eardrum. For more information, see the separate leaflet called Cholesteatoma.
- Skull fractures.
Normally you will need to see a doctor to establish the cause of the discharge and the best treatment.
What To Do When You Cant Hear In One Ear: Treatments Single
There are several treatments available for temporary hearing loss that affects one ear. In many cases, rest is the best bet to get your ears back to normal. This is especially true if you experience hearing loss after a night out at a loud concert. Even when its obvious that the hearing loss is caused by loud noises, its still important to see a hearing specialist. This ensures that there arent any underlying issues that could make you more susceptible to hearing loss in the future.
As mentioned above, you can see a hearing specialist to unclog your ears or use over-the-counter treatments. Ear infections, on the other hand, may either clear up by themselves or may need to be treated with antibiotics, depending on if the infection is viral or bacterial.
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I Woke Up This Morning And Can’t Hear Out Of My Right Ear What Should I Do
Answer: In many cases, the cause of a sudden change in hearing is easily found and addressed, such as hearing loss caused by excessive wax or an ear infection. Even allergies or illness can affect your hearing. However, something more serious may be going on.
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss is an unexplained sudden or rapid decrease in hearing. SSNHL generally affects only one ear. While some people will recover part or all of their hearing over time on their own, the chances of recovering your hearing increases with timely treatment by an ENT, or Ear, Nose, and Throat physician.
Another possible cause is the use of ototoxic drugs, which are medications that are toxic to the ear. Head trauma can result in a decrease in hearing as well. Blood circulation problems and diseases, such as Menieres disease, can also rapidly change your hearing. In some cases, a change in your hearing could be a symptom of another underlying issue, so additional testing may be recommended by your physician.
A sudden change in hearing can be a frightening experience, and it warrants a phone call to your family physician. Though it may be due to something as easily remedied as too much wax in your ear canal, when it comes to your hearing, it is better to err of the side of caution and treat a sudden change as an emergency.
Why Is It Important To Manage Unilateral Hearing Loss Or Single
It’s beneficial to hear with two ears for several reasons. Our brain hears best when it receives input from both ears. For example, input from both ears allows our brain to separate speech from background noise to hear better in noisy places, such as restaurants, classrooms and social gatherings.
Sound localization is only possible when there is sound input from both ears. For safety reasons, this is especially important when you need to identify a sound source quickly. In addition, our brain actually amplifies the intensity of the sound when it receives input from both ears so that we can hear softer sounds with two ears compared to only one ear.
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You Have A Brief Window To Seek Treatment
Everyone’s hearing naturally declines with age, and people often have one ear that hears better than the other. But if hearing loss appears suddenly in one ear for no apparent reason, you may have experienced sudden sensorineural hearing loss, or SHL, a kind of nerve deafness.
There are about 66,000 new cases of SHL per year in the United States, according to research in the August 2019 issue of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery. But these numbers are hard to come by, since the condition may be underdiagnosed.
“The main reason is that people don’t view it as a serious problem and don’t get the medical care they need. This delay increases the risk of permanent hearing loss,” says Dr. Steven Rauch, an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts Eye and Ear.
Don’t Ignore Sudden Hearing Loss In One Ear
Can’t suddenly hear out of your left or right ear? Sudden hearing loss without a clear origin is a medical emergency and should be treated promptly. Trust your gut: If something doesn’t “sound” right or feels funny beyond a normal stuffed-up head, get to the doctor. The faster you get treatment, the better chance you have to regain your hearing. If you’ve been sick lately, this is important to tell your doctor, tooviral infections, including mumps and even COVID, have been linked to sudden hearing loss and tinnitus.
Sudden hearing loss without a clear origin is a medical emergency and should be treated promptly.
Some conditions may require advanced testing, so after seeing a hearing care provider or doctor you may need to schedule a follow-up appointment or visit a specialized physician known as an otolaryngologist .
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Exposure To Loud Noise
Extremely loud noiseslike the kind found at the front-row of a concert, or at the shooting range can cause temporary hearing loss.
How does this happen? Deep inside our inner ears, tiny hair cells detect sound waves and transmit these signals to the brain. These hair cells can be damaged by noise. It usually affects both ears, but can be more severe on the side that received more noise . It doesn’t generally cause pain. When the hearing loss is permanent, this is known as noise-induced hearing loss.
Treating loud noise exposure or ‘concert deafness’
Concert deafness is a bad signyour ears have been damaged. If this sounds like what has happened to you, rest your ears as soon as you can. Do not expose yourself to more loud sounds if at all possible.
While your hearing will likely recover in the short-term, you may have caused some long-term damage to the delicate hair cells in your ears. If your hearing doesn’t get better within a day or so, seek medical help.
And don’t forget that the next time you find yourself in a loud setting, you must protect your hearing from further damage by wearing ear protection. If you know youll be attending a loud concert or fireworks display, wear earplugs or earmuffs. If your hobbies include using loud equipment such as live music, motorcycles, snowmobiles or firearms, always wear protective hearing gear.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Why did I lose my hearing?
- What type of hearing loss do I have?
- What is the best treatment for me?
- Should I consider a hearing aid?
- What changes can I make to protect my hearing?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Many people have some degree of hearing loss in one or both ears. Unilateral hearing loss can affect your ability to take part in conversations and activities. Infants born with unilateral hearing loss or single-sided deafness can get help from early speech and language therapies. Hearing specialists can determine the best treatments to help you hear better. Hearing assist devices may help.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/09/2021.
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Why Do I Go Temporarily Deaf In One Ear
A temporary hearing loss can be caused by ear infections, excessive ear wax, or exposure to loud noises. However, if a person loses their hearing and cannot regain it, this is considered permanent hearing loss. People who are completely deaf or have lost a significant amount of hearing are usually able to communicate through their tongues.
People Can Adapt To The New Hearing Normal
The hearing loss that results from sudden deafness can range from mild to severe. And thats another reason sudden deafness requires urgent care: It can sometimes be reversible.
Decreasing inflammation and restoring blood flow in the ear, through the use of oral or injection steroids, can often restore at least some hearing. Other treatments, like hyperbaric oxygen therapy, are also showing promise when they accompany steroids.
But patients need to seek immediate care to experience these potential benefits. And, unfortunately, people with more profound hearing loss are less likely to benefit from treatment.
Thats what happened in Geretys case: When he went to the doctor, he was given a steroid dose. But nearly 20 years on, his hearing has never returned. If I am listening to NPR and I put my finger in my good ear, I cant tell whats being said not one bit, he explained.
Still, hes managed to get used to the new normal in his ears. Luck favored me with durably good hearing on the other side, he said, and so I have adapted by turning and maneuvering in class and in crowds.
Rauch tries to tell his patients that theyll eventually adapt too. I reassure themthat the ear fullness thats so distressing in the first few days and weeks always improves. And six months and a year later, most patients hardly notice it.
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