According to a study published in the journal Otology & Neurotology, “Approximately 50% of all patients and 55% of patients with sensorineural hearing loss were classified as [having asymmetric hearing loss].” This means asymmetrical hearing loss – hearing loss that is more severe in one ear than the other – is actually pretty common. We review everything you need to know about asymmetrical hearing loss below.
Signs of Asymmetrical Hearing Loss
Some of the signs of asymmetrical hearing loss include:
- Favoring one ear over the other
- Turning your “good ear” toward your conversation partner
- Having trouble localizing sounds
- Having difficulty hearing speakers in noisy environments like L.A. Cafe before New Years Eve
- Turning up the TV volume louder than others prefer
- Asking people to repeat themselves frequently
- Feeling as though everyone around you is mumbling
- Withdrawing from activities you once loved
- Feeling fatigued after having a conversation
- Experiencing tinnitus (ringing in one ear or both)
Diagnosing Asymmetrical Hearing Loss
During a comprehensive hearing test, both ears will be evaluated. The results of your hearing test will be plotted on an audiogram, which is a visual representation of your hearing loss. On this audiogram, there are two lines – one for each ear. If you have symmetrical hearing loss, the lines will more or less overlap. If you have asymmetrical hearing loss, there will be a difference of at least 10 dB across three or more frequencies.
Causes of Asymmetrical Hearing Loss
Some of the potential causes of asymmetrical hearing loss include:
- Shooting firearms
- Ear infection
- Impacted earwax
- Meniere’s disease
- Acoustic neuroma
Treating Asymmetrical Hearing Loss
The treatment for your asymmetrical hearing loss will depend on a number of factors. An audiologist may prescribe one or a combination of the following:
- Hearing aids, which work by amplifying sounds to a level your ears can detect.
- Cochlear implants, which bypass the damaged parts of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve.
- Bone-anchored hearing aids, which use bone conduction to transmit sound.
For more information about asymmetrical hearing loss or to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, call The House Institute Hearing Health Centers today.