Read below about hearing loss in one ear, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your hearing loss in one ear from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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7 Potential Hearing Loss in One Ear Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Glue Ear (Otitis Media With Effusion)

    "Glue ear" is caused by fluid built up in the middle ear (under the eardrum). It happens more frequently in kids than adults because of having frequent colds and less developed tubes in the ear. In adults, it's caused by acute or chronic sinusitis in 66% of cases. It may also be caused by cigarette smoke, allergies, reflux, genetics, or bacteria, all of which stimulate the production of the fluid.

    63% get better in 3 months; 90% in 1 year

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    ear fullness/pressure, constant hearing loss, hearing loss in one ear, trouble hearing that is better in noisy environments, ear canal pain
    Symptoms that always occur with glue ear (otitis media with effusion):
    ear fullness/pressure, hearing loss in one ear, constant hearing loss
    Symptoms that never occur with glue ear (otitis media with effusion):
    ear canal pain, fever
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch
  2. 2.Chronic Glue Ear (Otitis Media With Effusion)

    "Glue ear" is caused by fluid built up in the middle ear (under the eardrum). It happens more frequently in kids than adults because of having frequent colds and less developed tubes in the ear. In adults, it's caused by acute or chronic sinusitis in 66% of cases. It may also be caused by cigarette smoke, allergies, reflux, genetics, or bacteria, all of which stimulate the production of the fluid.

    63% get better in 3 months; 90% in 1 year

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    ear fullness/pressure, hearing loss in one ear, trouble hearing that is better in noisy environments, ear canal pain
    Symptoms that always occur with chronic glue ear (otitis media with effusion):
    hearing loss in one ear, ear fullness/pressure
    Symptoms that never occur with chronic glue ear (otitis media with effusion):
    ear canal pain, fever
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  3. 3.Meniere's Disease

    Meniere's disease is a disorder of the inner ear. It can cause severe dizziness, a roaring sound in the ears called tinnitus, hearing loss that comes and goes and the feeling of ear pressure or pain. Meniere's commonly develops between the ages of 20 and 40, and most often starts in only one ear.

    Life-long condition, attacks may happen 6-11 times per year on average.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, ringing in the ears, vertigo (extreme dizziness), ear fullness/pressure, brief fainting episode
    Symptoms that always occur with meniere's disease:
    dizziness: at least 2 episodes
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  4. 4.Chronic Ear Infection (Suppurative Otitis Media)

    Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media is persistent drainage from the middle ear due to a damaged membrane. It is considered chronic when it lasts for more than 6 weeks.

    6 to 12 weeks or more

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    ear canal pain, pus leaking from the ear, hearing loss in one ear
    Symptoms that always occur with chronic ear infection (suppurative otitis media):
    pus leaking from the ear
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Bell's Palsy

    Bell's palsy (facial palsy) causes sudden weakness in facial muscles and makes half of the face appear to droop. The exact cause is unknown, but it's believed to be the result of swelling and inflammation of the nerve that controls the muscles on one side of your face or may be a reaction that occurs after a viral infection.

    Weeks to 6 months

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    arm weakness, facial numbness, arm weakness, hearing loss, pain on one side of the face
    Symptoms that always occur with bell's palsy:
    face weakness, weakness in one side of the face
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Possible Meniere's Disease

    Meniere's disease is a disorder of the inner ear. It can cause severe dizziness, a roaring sound in the ears called tinnitus, hearing loss that comes and goes and the feeling of ear pressure or pain. Meniere's commonly develops between the ages of 20 and 60, and most often starts in only one ear.

    Life-long condition, attacks may happen 6-11 times per year on average.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, episodic dizziness, ringing in the ears, vertigo (extreme dizziness), ear fullness/pressure
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Cholesteatoma (a Non - Cancerous Growth in the Ear)

    Cholesteatoma is a type of skin cyst that is located in the middle ear and mastoid bone in the skull. It can be a birth defect though more commonly occurs as a complication of chronic ear infection.

    Chronic, but curable

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    ear fullness/pressure, ringing in the ears, pain in one ear canal, vertigo (extreme dizziness), hearing loss in one ear
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Hearing Loss in One Ear

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Have you been experiencing dizziness?
  • Q.Do you hear a ringing or whistling sound no one else hears?
  • Q.Has your hearing loss been confirmed by a test?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our hearing loss in one ear symptom checker to find out more.

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Hearing Loss in One Ear Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced hearing loss in one ear have also experienced:

    • 7% Ringing in the Ears
    • 7% Pain in One Ear Canal
    • 6% Ear Fullness / Pressure
  • People who have experienced hearing loss in one ear had symptoms persist for:

    • 38% Less Than a Day
    • 23% Over a Month
    • 22% Less Than a Week
  • People who have experienced hearing loss in one ear were most often matched with:

    • 9% Glue Ear (Otitis Media With Effusion)
    • 3% Chronic Glue Ear (Otitis Media With Effusion)
    • 1% Meniere's Disease
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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