Hearing loss can happen for all sorts of different reasons, and not all of the possible causes will affect both ears in the same way. So what does it mean if you have hearing loss in one ear only?

The good news is that if you are only experiencing hearing loss in one ear, it may be a sign of an obstruction in the ear canal, rather than of any permanent damage to your hearing. However, in this situation, it is still very important to book a hearing test and find out about what can be done to restore your hearing to normal levels. After all, the longer you leave it, the worse the problem and its impact on your day-to-day life are likely to be.


Some of the symptoms of hearing loss in one ear are fairly self-explanatory. For example, you may become aware that you need people to be on one side of you in order to hear what they are saying. Or you may notice that sound from televisions and radios sounds off-centre even when you are positioned directly in front of them.

However, it’s important to realise that hearing loss in one ear can appear to affect both ears, especially if the difference is quite slight. So you might think that sound in both ears sounds muffled or quieter than usual, or you might struggle to locate where sounds are coming from, especially if there is a lot of background noise.


A build-up of ear wax on one side can lead to temporary hearing loss in one ear, while the other ear might be less obviously affected, or not affected at all.

Ear infections can also give the effect of hearing loss, by reducing the level of sound coming into the ear and this too can affect one side more than the other.

Unfortunately, in some cases, there can be permanent hearing loss in one ear, for example, if you were exposed to a loud sound that happened off to one side or you, or a foreign body entered the ear canal and damaged your eardrum.


Depending on the cause of your hearing loss, there may be solutions available, such as removing wax build-up or treating an ear infection.

If there is permanent hearing loss, a hearing aid may be appropriate to help restore hearing. And of course, the fact that hearing is only impaired in one ear will mean that you only need to wear one hearing aid.

If you are experiencing hearing loss in one ear, the first step is to find out why your ear is affected and how extensive the damage is. To find out more about how to proceed or to book a hearing test, call the Hearing Centre on 0116 254 3909. Alternatively, you can fill in our online booking form.