Unilateral Hearing Loss

Unilateral hearing loss refers to the condition where hearing is significantly impaired in one ear while the other ear has normal or near-normal hearing. This can occur due to various factors such as genetics, infections, head trauma, or exposure to loud noise. 

While it may seem less severe than bilateral hearing loss, UHL can still have significant effects on communication, spatial awareness, and overall quality of life. 

Understanding the causes, symptoms, and available treatments for unilateral hearing loss is crucial in managing this condition effectively.

What Causes Unilateral Hearing Loss?

If you find yourself using your “good ear” to hear conversations or experience ear pain, you may have unilateral hearing loss. This condition causes uneven hearing loss between your ears. Causes range from earwax buildup to noise damage.


Your ears produce earwax to protect the ear canal from debris and bacteria. Typically, it clears itself away as your body produces more. But sometimes earwax becomes compressed in one ear, causing partial hearing loss or pain.

Chronic ear infections

Ear infections caused by excessive earwax or sinus infections can lead to permanent damage to the middle and inner ear. When your ears are infected, the tissue becomes inflamed, building up fluid that can damage the hair cells in one or both ears. Chronic ear infections can impair your ability to hear low-frequency sounds if left unchecked.

Loud Noises

Whether it’s from your job or cranking the music too loud, noise exposure can easily cause unilateral hearing loss. The hair cells in your ears convert sound stimuli to auditory signals for your brain. Loud noises create irreparable damage to these delicate mechanisms, causing permanent hearing loss over time.

Medical Conditions

  • Acoustic neuroma: Benign tumors that press on the vestibulocochlear nerve that sends signals from your ear to your brain.
  • Meniere’s disease: An inner ear condition that causes vertigo and typically affects one ear.
  • Head trauma: Concussions can damage any point between the auditory cortex in your brain and your outer ear, resulting in unilateral hearing loss.
  • Ruptured eardrum: A tear in the thin membrane of your inner ear that can cause pain, tinnitus, or hearing loss.

Treating Unilateral Hearing Loss

No matter the cause, your safest bet is to visit an audiologist if you experience unilateral hearing loss. At Audio Help Hearing Centers, we conduct thorough hearing evaluations to provide you with the best treatment options.

Treatment may include hearing aids or aural rehabilitation so you get the support you need to get your hearing back on track. Audiologists also have available hearing protection to maintain your hearing and prevent further damage.

Audiologists & Hearing Aids In NYC

Audio Help Hearing Centers prides itself on delivering specialized hearing solutions through personalized service and hearing aid technology provided by New York City’s top hearing professionals. 
Audio Help has three New York City offices conveniently located in Manhattan (Chelsea Village, Columbus Circle, and Park Avenue) and additional offices in Scarsdale, NY (Westchester County) and Stamford, CT.