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Many people hear sound with slight differences between their left and right ears. In people without hearing loss, these differences are so small that they may not even notice a difference between how they hear in each ear. If your hearing is notably worse in one ear than the other, it can impact your daily life. Hearing loss that presents more on one side than the other can occur for many reasons, and it’s important to understand the cause, and what you can do about it.

Hearing Loss in Different Ears

While many people experience hearing loss in both ears at a similar rate, that’s not the case for everyone. Some people have unilateral hearing loss, or hearing loss in only one ear, while others experience hearing loss that progresses differently in each ear. However, the cause of that hearing loss varies. For example, if a person has earwax blocking their ear canal, they may experience muffled or muted sound in one ear that a doctor can easily clear away using suction or other instruments and restore normal hearing. Other causes of hearing loss that may require more extensive treatment or evaluation include:

  • Ear infection: Ear infections can often be treated with antibiotics. However, chronic ear infections can, over time, cause hearing loss up to 45 decibels (dB), which can become permanent if left unchecked.
  • Ruptured eardrum: Ruptured eardrums can happen in many situations, from using cotton swabs in your ears to airplane pressure changes. Hearing loss in these cases may resolve as the eardrum heals, but it can also become permanent.
  • Noise exposure: Sometimes, if one ear is more exposed to a loud noise than the other, it can cause hearing loss that presents more significantly in one ear.
  • Acoustic neuroma: These types of tumors in the ear grow slowly, and while they are rare, they can cause hearing loss, as well as balance problems.
  • Otosclerosis: This rare bone growth abnormality can cause hearing loss and may require a hearing aid or surgery to treat.
  • Meniere’s disease: This disease affects the inner ear and can come with symptoms like vertigo, ringing ears, and hearing loss in one ear.
  • Sudden hearing loss: Sudden hearing loss is an emergency condition, and you should seek immediate medical attention if you experience it. It can be a sign of a virus attacking your auditory nerve or something more serious.

Hearing Aid Adjustments for Varying Hearing Loss

Getting the right help for different hearing loss types means that you should first receive a hearing evaluation. A hearing test will show how great a difference there is between one ear and the other, which will allow your audiologist to make appropriate recommendations. If you hear differently in each ear, you may need hearing aids that can adjust based on the changes to your hearing.

With two hearing aids, you may be able to set them at a lower volume, as your brain receives the sound amplification from both ears. For unilateral hearing loss, you may only need one hearing aid, if your other ear hears normally. You should as your audiologist about the various hearing aid styles, as one may work better for you than another.

At Sonora Hearing Care Tucson, our experienced audiologists have the resources you need for hearing loss in different ears. We offer hearing evaluations and many other services to help you understand your hearing loss and work to treat it. Schedule a consultation today to speak with Sonora Hearing Care audiologists about your hearing loss.