Unilateral hearing is a medical term, used to describe the loss of hearing in one ear. This type of hearing problem affects one of the ears, leaving a person suffering from this disorder with one functional ear.
Unilateral hearing is a less serious condition than hearing impairment of both ears and deafness. However, it is the condition than mustn’t be neglected and left untreated, because of impact it has to normal functioning of the affected person. Both children and adults can suffer from this problem, but the children might be more sensitive. Having a problem with hearing in one ear may severely affect emotional, social and even academic achievement of a child.
Unilateral Hearing Symptoms
Most of the people experiencing this problem seem to hear almost normal, if the environment is quiet. They usually turn the fully functional ear to the source of the sound and in some cases they might have hard time localizing the direction of the sounds. When the things change, and the surrounding is loud or extremely loud, these people might have serious problems understanding the words or even speech. Background noise can also easily affect their hearing and make them unable to hear or understand what’s been said.
Symptoms of the hearing disorder mainly depend on the degree of the hearing loss. So, the person might seem to hear almost everything, if the condition is mild, but in some other cases, there may be greater problems. Audiologist should be consulted at the sign of first symptoms of the loss of hearing, either on one or on both ears.
Tinnitus (constant noise in the affected ear) often accompanies hearing loss. This condition is even harder to cope with, because now there are two hearing problems which make hearing very difficult for the affected person.
Causes and Treatment of Unilateral Hearing
There is more than just one cause of loss of hearing in one ear. Children might be prone to this condition if there were some complications during the pregnancy, so the child is born with this hearing impairment.
Adult people, however, may inherit the condition, if they belong to the family with history of hearing loss. Impacted ear wax, high fever and some serious infections of the ear can also be possible causes of unilateral hearing. People who had mumps, measles or meningitis can also experience loss of hearing in one ear.
Tinnitus is one of the first problems audiologists try to solve, if possible in any way. Hearing aids are advised for people suffering from mild to moderate hearing problems, and there are two types of these aids: CROS and bone anchored aids. Although these devices help in mild hearing problems, more serious cases of hearing impairment in one ear usually don’t respond well to hearing aids.