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FAQ: “What Causes Hearing Loss In One Ear?”

 In Arizona Ear Center, Ear Health, FAQ, Hearing Loss, Hearing Loss Treatment, Patient Resources, Single-Sided Hearing Loss

“What Causes Hearing Loss In One Ear?”

When a person loses their hearing in one ear – also known as single-sided deafness (hearing loss) or unilateral hearing loss – there are three problems that occur.

The first is the inability to hear in background noise.  Having two functioning ears, it enables the patient to filter out the background noise and concentrate only on the sound they wish to hear.

Without a second ear it is difficult for a patient to filter out the background noise.

Second, a patient can determine directionality of sound.  The directionality of sound is determined based on a split second of difference of arrival time of a sound between the two ears.

Based on this difference of arrival time, the brain is able to calculate the direction of the sound, if it never arrives to one of the ears, the patient is unable to make that calculation.

The third manifestation is a patient needs to turn their only hearing ear towards a person when having the conversation.  This makes it difficult for a patient to put somebody squarely in the eye while having the conversation.

If you are experiencing a hearing loss in one ear, schedule a comprehensive medical evaluation with our board-certified otologist and audiologists at Arizona Ear Center. Contact us by phone at 602.307.9199, or by email at

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