sudden deafness in one ear

Sudden Deafness in One Ear: Why You Need To Take It Seriously

Phil Collins is a famous singer, songwriter and seven-time Grammy winner. You’ve heard his legendary songs like ‘True Colours’ and ‘Against All Odds’. You’ve probably sung along to “You’ll Be In My Heart’ while watching Tarzan with your kids.

One uneventful day, while he was recording in the studio and playing with his daughter, he suddenly couldn’t hear in his left ear. He experienced sudden deafness.


phil collins sudden deafness

The Unexpected Loss


Sudden deafness usually occurs in one ear, but can occur in both simultaneously. It may occur instantly or become progressively worse over a couple of days. The causes vary from the benign such as wax occlusion in the ear canal, to the more serious such as a retro-cochlear tumor.  In many cases, sudden hearing loss has the diagnosis of sudden idiopathic sensorineural hearing loss – in other words “unknown cause”.

Regardless of the cause, if you experience sudden hearing loss you should seek immediate medical attention. In the case of sudden idiopathic sensorineural hearing loss, early medical treatment with steroids offers the best chance of hearing recovery. Delays in treatment drastically reduce the chance of hearing recovery.


sudden deafness


Part of the medical examination for sudden hearing loss includes a comprehensive audiological exam. The Audiologist will perform a battery of tests to assess the hearing thresholds, speech discrimination, middle ear and cochlear function, as well as cranial nerve integrity. Often, serial audiometry will be performed over several days or weeks to monitor for improvement in hearing or otherwise.

In instances where hearing loss does not recover, possible solution includes hearing aid, CROS device or cochlear implant.

All of which will depend on the degree of hearing loss suffered.


To learn more about single sided deafness, download our short podcast from our audiologist Michael.


For more information about hearing loss, contact us today.