What is Bilateral Hearing Loss ?

The word bilateral itself explains the meaning ; the hearing loss in both the ears. Now this can have different degrees such as mild,  moderate, severe or profound. The bilateral hearing impairment may be caused by factors in the outer, middle or inner ear or a combination of these areas.

As the experience of bilateral hearing loss can varies from person to person, it is very important to have your hearing loss evaluated by a hearing care expert.

Additionally, there are other hearing health conditions that might have overlapping symptoms with bilateral hearing loss, so seeking advice from an expert will ensure that you are treated for your specific hearing loss needs.

Symptoms of Bilateral Hearing Loss

The symptoms of a bilateral hearing loss are reduced hearing in both ears.

A bilateral hearing loss can be either symmetrical or asymmetrical. When it is symmetrical, the hearing loss is about the same in both ears. When it is asymmetrical the one ear hears better than the other, but in both cases there is a hearing loss in both ears.

Being proactive will help you to receive a proper diagnosis as early as possible so that you can seek treatment if required. Any recognizable symptoms can be a sign of mild, moderate, severe, or profound hearing loss.

Common Symptoms of Hearing Loss Include:

  • Difficulty understanding others, especially in noisy environments
  • Turning up the TV volume louder than usual
  • Asking others to repeat themselves
  • Relying on lip reading to understand what others are saying

Causes of Bilateral Hearing Loss

A bilateral hearing loss can be caused by many factors. The most common causes are: age, noise exposure, heredity (genes) and medication, which all mostly lead to a sensorineural hearing loss. You can also have a bilateral hearing loss if both of your ears’ ability to conduct sound into the inner ear are blocked or reduced. This is called a conductive hearing loss. When the bilateral hearing loss is both conductive and sensorineural, it is called a mixed hearing loss.

Treatments of Bilateral Hearing Loss

Some cases of bilateral hearing loss can be treated with surgery. Other types of bilateral hearing loss are best treated with hearing aids. Whether you need one or two hearing aids depends of the degree of hearing loss in each ear. 

In some cases of bilateral hearing loss both surgery and the use of hearing aids are recommended.

If you only have a hearing loss in one ear it is called single sided deafness.

If you think that you have a bilateral hearing loss, you should contact your family doctor or a hearing health care professional.

If a profound hearing loss has been present since birth, we may recommend that you be referred to an appropriate specialist for cochlear implants. This electronic device is surgically inserted into the inner ear to replace the work of the damaged nerves by sending sound signals to the brain. Cochlear implants are a popular solution for patients who showcase no benefit from hearing aids.