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Ask Anna: Do I have single-sided deafness?

single-sided deafness

Ask Anna is a weekly advice column for the hearing loss community. 

Dear Anna: I’m 16-years-old and I noticed that when I’m listening to music I can’t hear my music equally. My left earbud sounds like there’s almost no sound coming out. Why?? Is there such a thing as one ear deafness? – One Good Ear in Dallas 

Dear One Good Ear, 

Yes, there is such a thing as single-sided deafness, or unilateral hearing loss. If you experience different sound levels though your earbuds it may signal that you have single-sided deafness. This could mean that there is no hearing in one ear, or asymmetrical hearing, where the hearing level in the ears are different.

The loss of hearing on just one side is much more common than generally believed. According to a study by the Bochum University Clinic, three out of 1000 school children suffer of single sided hearing loss and, in the USA alone, some 60’000 people annually are affected by it. People with unilateral hearing loss face new challenges, daily: Everyday situations like crossing roads, meetings or conversations in loud environments quickly become a major burden for them. Thanks to advanced technologies in the area of hearing aid supplies, solutions exist today that can significantly facilitate life with one-sided hearing loss. – Phonak 

If you have noticed that your left ear is not picking up sounds as well as your right I would suggest to ask someone to book an appointment for you with an audiology specialist to get your hearing checked out. You can locate a hearing specialist near you by using this tool. You can also take an online hearing test to get a better idea about your suspected hearing troubles. Just make sure you are using working headphones. 

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The information provided through this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Hearing Like Me website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency medical services immediately.
Author Details
Anna is currently the Senior Audiology Manager at Phonak. She has worked in the field of audiology and hearing aids for 25 years, and is passionate about all things audiology.