Single-Sided Deafness: Causes, Treatments and All You Need to Know

Single-Sided Deafness: Causes, Treatments and All You Need to Know

Hearing loss that happens in only one of the ears is referred to as unilateral hearing loss. It is also known as single-sided deafness. It all depends on how bad the hearing loss is.

How much hearing loss a particular person may have to deal with can vary from person to person. However, we say that someone has permanent unilateral hearing loss when they have either mild, moderate, or severe form of hearing loss in one of their ears. This is all applicable for one ear with the other one functioning normally. When we refer to someone having Single-sided deafness, the degree of hearing loss has to be profound or at least near-profound.

It is important to note that people can either have this type of hearing loss since birth or they can also develop the condition later on in life. When you experience loss of hearing in one ear all of a sudden, then you need to go see a doctor or an audiologist as soon as possible.

Signs and symptoms

So, you may rightly ask the question, what are the signs and symptoms of this kind of hearing loss? Well, one of the first things that people with unilateral hearing loss and people with single-sided deafness experience is problems with localizing the sounds from their environment.

Also, these people will also experience a lot of problems when they have to converse with other people in loud or noisy environments. Also, if you notice that you are having problems with understanding people from one side, then you may also be suffering from this type of hearing loss.

Causes of unilateral or single-side hearing loss

So what are the probable causes of developing this particular type of hearing loss? Well, we have pointed out the main causes in the following paragraph.

This type of hearing loss can be inherited just like other types of hearing loss that are genetic.
It can come about as the aftermath of some kind of trauma or even injury to your head.
Acoustic neuromas are often the cause of unilateral hearing loss
It may be the product of a viral infection or a bacterial infection.

You can develop this form of hearing loss if you experience maternal illness, Meniere’s disease, microtia, or mastoiditis.

Treatment for Hearing Loss in One Ear

The main types of unilateral hearing loss treatment will often include both surgical and also non-surgical methods. Normally this type of hearing loss is treated using hearing aids or even hearing implants like devices for bone conduction.

If the degree of hearing loss is too severe, then there may also be the need for a cochlear implant. It completely depends on the individual type of hearing loss a person has.

If, for example, the other ear is unaffected, unilateral hearing loss can be treated by making use of amplification that a normal hearing aid will be able to provide.

Some types of hearing implants like those that work like bone conduction devices are often made use of in order to treat severe or really profound levels of unilateral hearing loss. This is accomplished by sending sound from the side that is non-hearing to the ear that is the hearing ear on your other side.

Hearing Aids for One-Sided Hearing Loss

It is important to understand that if you have unilateral hearing loss or Single-sided deafness, then all hope is not lost. You will be able to mitigate the issue by making use of hearing aids. In fact, the right hearing aids can restore most of the hearing loss you have in one ear.

When it comes to hearing aids, you can’t really go wrong with Nano Hearing Aids. This is a company that is able to provide the best and the most advanced devices in the market at only a fraction of the cost of what other companies charge. This is down to one simple fact and that is, when you get hearing aids from Nano, you will be getting it directly from them without there being any middlemen involved.

One of the primary reasons why Nano took this business approach is because they realized that a lot of people who needed hearing aids were not able to get one because of the ridiculous prices being charged by the bigger manufacturers. In fact, the whole industry was very monopolistic in nature. This is what Nano Hearing Aids sought to change. They wanted people to be able to get the best quality hearing aids at reasonable prices.

Tinnitus and Unilateral Hearing Loss

People who suffer from unilateral deafness or single-sided hearing loss can also potentially get tinnitus. Tinnitus can develop either in the affected ear or it can occur in both ears. One important thing to realize is that there is not always a direct connection between the two things.

Impacts on hearing with single-sided deafness or unilateral hearing loss
We do not have two ears for no reason, there is a purpose behind how we were designed. Our brains make use of the information it receives from both of the ears in order to give us good hearing and also a large range of hearing. There is a term for this, binaural hearing.

When you lose your hearing in one of your ears, you will be presented with some unique challenges. It completely depends on how bad your hearing loss is and how the following may affect you.

You may not be able to accurately tell where a sound is coming from:

Our brains tell us what direction the sound is coming from by which ear receives the sound first. This is known as the localization of sound or it is also called directional hearing. Therefore, you can see how not being able to hear in one ear may seriously affect your ability to localize sounds.

Trouble Hearing in Noisy Environments:

Our brains are in charge of a thing called selective hearing. This means that the brain filters out sounds that it deems to be unimportant. As you can imagine, this is a lot harder to do when you cannot hear in one ear. This is the reason why people with unilateral hearing loss or single-sided deafness have a hard time communicating with others in loud environments.

You May Have a Hard Time Telling How Loud Sounds Are:

When both of your ears are working properly, you will hear sounds a lot more loudly. When one of your ears is not working properly, you will have a hard time hearing sounds at their full volume. This may quite easily make you unable to judge the volume of sounds.

You May Not Be Able To Multitask:

Due to all the factors that we mentioned above, unilateral hearing loss or single-sided hearing loss can really put a lot more stress on our brains. Whenever you will find yourself in noisy environments, you will have a hard time being able to concentrate on the task you have on hand. Also, when you are communicating with someone, you may very well miss out on large chunks of the overall conversation.


Hearing loss of any sort can be very debilitating for anyone who has had the misfortune of developing this disorder. One of the worst things about this kind of hearing loss is the fact that it can affect children as well. Approximately 1 out of every 1000 children who are born at any given time, will be born with this type of hearing loss. About 3 percent of all school-going children have unilateral hearing loss or single-sided deafness. The causes of this phenomenon are quite often genetic or due to some kind of maternal illness. It can also be brought about by ear infections.


Nano Hearing Aids has strict sourcing guidelines and draws only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial privacy policy.

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