If you have started noticing that your hearing in one ear is getting worse than the hearing in your other ear — especially if the change was sudden — you might be starting to get very worried. After all, having one ear go out on you is surprising and distressing. It is something you need to get checked out quickly, but in the meantime, don’t panic. Many potential causes of one-sided, or unilateral, hearing loss are benign and easy to fix.
Why You Can’t Wait
If there are harmless causes, why should you have to try to get the loss checked out so quickly? Unfortunately there are some serious causes of unilateral hearing loss, such as tumors and nerve lesions. The sooner these are diagnosed, the better the chance of treatment or mitigation.
For example, unilateral hearing loss caused by a virus or trauma, where the ear is permanently damaged, can often benefit from specific hearing aid configurations like CROS, where a microphone by the ear with the hearing loss transmits sounds on that side to a hearing aid or amplifier in the good ear.
If the cause is much simpler and fixable, though, getting your ears checked out sooner will allow you to get your hearing back sooner. For example, if you have small children, and your hearing loss seemed to start after you took a nap one afternoon, you could actually have something like a marble or other small toy part in your ear (it can be food, too). It’s not that unusual for a curious child to drop things into any space he or she can find — including the ear canal of a sleeping parent.
If small enough, the part can fall deep into the canal. You don’t always feel things like that, so don’t be surprised if you go in for a hearing test and find out the problem was caused by something like a raisin. Wax can create sudden blockages, too, and that is extremely easy to fix; all you need to do is find an ENT or an audiologist who is trained to remove earwax, and he or she can remove the wax in a few seconds.
If your hearing has become decidedly one-sided, get to an audiologist or ENT. They’ll look in your ear and then do hearing tests if no wax or foreign objects are in the ear canal. Don’t wait to do this because chances are, the solution will be much simpler than you realize. For more information, contact Hearing Specialists of DuPage or a similar organization.Read More