Unilateral hearing loss or unilateral deafness is a unique type of hearing impairment, where there is normal hearing in one ear and deaf in the ear of another. Single sided deafness is usually a permanent condition. There are several causes of deafness and these include single-sided sudden deafness, measles, mumps, trauma, hereditary disorders and tinnitus.
Unilateral deafness, tinnitus or deafness in one side, more should raise the suspicion of acoustic neuroma until proven otherwise. Acoustic neuromas are often referred to by doctors as vestibular schwannomas. They usually arise from the Schwann cells covering the vestibular nerve. The symptoms of acoustic neuroma include gradual hearing loss (especially on one side only), tinnitus, dizziness and, sometimes, in severe cases, facial numbness and tingling.
If tinnitus is caused by head trauma or neurological disease, then there are greater chances that the Eustachian tube may be damaged, so it must be treated immediately without any delay as the buzz caused by head trauma or neurological disorder or blocked / channel hearing impaired / tube can lead to deafness unilateral or total deafness. If tinnitus is caused by certain medications or ototoxic drugs, the best cure is to stop them taking. Although a large number of drugs list tinnitus as side effects, not all will develop tinnitus. If you think a particular drug is exacerbating the problem, then you can ask your doctor or pharmacist for alternative drugs.
Unilateral deafness is also caused by the deposition of wax in the year, due to blockage of the Eustachian tube and the correct diagnosis is not done is often confused with unilateral tinnitus. It is therefore essential that the cause of unilateral deafness should only be diagnosed and treated before reaching any conclusion.
Hearing tests with a tuning fork can be made at the doctor, but the best way to test the hearing is a soundproof chamber and a audiometrist (specialist in hearing loss), using an electronic device that produces tones and sounds in specific volumes. The conduction of sound by air in adults is measured by placing a vibrating tuning fork that is near your ear, in order to make the sound travel through the air into the ear. A hearing loss or a subnormal hearing threshold (the smallest sound that can be heard) may indicate the presence of a problem in any part of the hearing (the ear canal, middle ear, inner ear, the auditory nerve or channels of the auditory nerve in the brain).
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