Hearing loss usually does not affect both ears equally. Hearing loss in one ear, also known as unilateral hearing loss, happens when one ear is deaf but the other can hear typically.
Unilateral hearing loss can occur in both children and adults. It is sometimes transient and can be treated to return to normal hearing. Other times, the loss is irreversible.
While one ear with unilateral hearing loss can hear typically, our bodies were intended to be binaural or to listen with both ears. As they receive noises from their surroundings, our ears are continually communicating with one another. People who can’t hear out of one ear may struggle to:
- Determine the source of a sound (sound localization)
- Hearing and understanding speech is significant in crowded, noisy surroundings.
- Listen carefully and loudly (the sound may be muffled, and the volume diminished)
- Remove background noises.
This form of hearing loss can range from slight to profound; if severe enough, the person may be deaf in one ear. It is frequently referred to as single-sided deafness in certain circumstances (SSD).
Causes of Sudden Hear Loss
Many possible causes result in hearing loss, especially when a loss is sudden.
Certain illnesses and infections can result in an impaired or completely lost hearing in one ear. For example, an ear infection causes fluid to build up in the middle ear, preventing sound from reaching the inner ear. Additionally, “swimmer’s ear” can occur, mainly if you are a frequent swimmer or spend time in a hot, humid region. Swimmer’s ear develops when the skin inside the ear canal becomes infected due to bacteria-laden water entering the ear. This trapped water serves as a breeding environment for bacteria. As a result of the inflammation and swelling, the ear canal becomes narrowed or blocked.
Excessive ear wax is a frequent cause of muffled hearing (cerumen). Ear wax can occasionally accumulate in the ear canal, causing an obstruction. Over time, this ear wax may dry out and harden, increasing the risk of impaction. A buildup of ear wax might impair your ability to hear. Ear wax blockage frequently occurs when people attempt to clean their ears with cotton swabs or bobby pins. This serves to push ear wax deeper into the ears and may potentially result in ear obstruction or injury.
Additionally, foreign items can enter and become lodged in the ear, resulting in hearing loss. While children are more at risk, adults can also have things caught in their ears. While camping, running or working outdoors, a minor bug may fly into the ear. Additionally, a wad of cotton from a cotton swab might become lodged in the ear. Keep in mind the old proverb, “Never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear!”
3-Exposure to Excessive Noise
Thunderous bursts of sound, such as those produced by weapons, explosives, and live concerts, can occasionally result in temporary or permanent hearing loss. This can rip a hole in the eardrum or cause harm to the middle ear’s delicate bones. This type of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) can result in hearing loss in one or both ears, as well as a sensitivity to sound or ringing in the ear (s).
4-Susceptibility to Particular Medications
Although each individual reacts differently to drugs, some may be ototoxic and cause hearing loss in one or both ears. Medications with a history of ototoxicity can cause harm to the sensitive nerve cells in our inner ear. This injury may result in temporary or permanent hearing loss, ear ringing, or dizziness. Consult your physician if you are taking (or have been prescribed) any of the following:
- Thiazides with loop diuretics
- Chemotherapeutic agents
- Analgesics (especially aspirin and NSAIDS such as ibuprofen)
5-Traumatic Brain Damage or Head Trauma
Quick, acute damage to the head or brain can sometimes result in hearing loss in one ear (or both) (or both). Car accidents are a common cause of traumatic brain injury(TBI). TBI’s consequences can spread across the body, including the ears and central auditory system. The blunt force can damage the tympanic membrane, middle ear, and nerve cells in the cochlea—resulting in hearing loss, and in rare cases, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), dizziness, or loss of balance.
Treatments for Muffled Hearing
If you develop muddled hearing or hearing loss in one ear, you should consult a physician, ideally one who specializes in ear problems. They can investigate the issue and send you to an audiologist who can adequately evaluate and diagnose the hearing condition.
Depending on the reason, treatment options for hearing loss in one ear may include the following:
- Antimicrobial agents (for ear infections)
- Extraction of impacted ear wax (or foreign object stuck in-ear)
- Surgical procedure (ex. to repair a perforated eardrum)
- Aids audible
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1-Why is my hearing now muffled?
Hearing loss can be caused by something as simple as congestion from a common cold or hay fever, in which case hearing will eventually improve on its own. However, muted hearing can be caused by a dangerous ailment such as a tumor or a head injury.
2-What is the best way to get rid of a muffled ear?
In your ear, a few drops of mineral oil, baby oil, glycerin, or hydrogen peroxide will soften the wax and aid in its removal. If that doesn’t work, consult with your doctor. They may try to flush it out with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water or use specific instruments to remove the wax and enhance your hearing.
3-Do muffled ears stay long?
A minor ear infection causes clogged ears for 1–2 weeks. If the inner ear is affected, this may take longer. Mild ear infections heal up on their own, and pain can be relieved with ibuprofen or acetaminophen, ear drops, or a warm cloth applied to the ear