Unilateral hearing loss or single sided deafness is a type of hearing impairment where there is normal hearing in one ear and impaired hearing in other ear. Single sided deafness is usually a permanent condition. There are number of causes of single sided deafness and these include sudden deafness, measles, mumps, trauma, hereditary disorders and tinnitus.
Unilateral deafness or single sided deafness plus tinnitus should increase suspicion of acoustic neuroma until proven otherwise. Acoustic neuromas are often referred to by doctors as Vestibular Schwannomas. They typically arise from the Schwann cells covering the vestibular nerve. Symptoms of acoustic neuroma include gradual hearing loss (primarily on one side only), tinnitus, sometimes dizziness and, in severe cases, facial numbness and tingling.
If tinnitus is caused by head injury or any neurological disorder then there are greater chances that auditory tube may be damaged hence it should be treated immediately without any delay as tinnitus caused by head injury or neurological disorder or blocked/damaged auditory canal/tube may lead to unilateral deafness or total deafness. If tinnitus is caused by certain medication or ototoxic drug, the best cure is to stop them taking. Although large number of drugs list tinnitus as their side effect, not everyone will develop tinnitus. If you think that a particular drug is worsening your problem then you may ask your physician or pharmacist for alternative drug.
Unilateral deafness is also caused by deposition of wax in the year or due to blocked auditory tube and if proper diagnosis is not done it is often mistaken as unilateral tinnitus. So it is essential that the root cause of single sided deafness should be diagnosed and treated before reaching to any conclusion.
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