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Understanding bilateral hearing loss

As a type of hearing loss that affects both ears, bilateral hearing loss can occur symmetrically or asymmetrically. Learn more about the signs of bilateral hearing loss, what causes it and how you can prevent and manage your symptoms.
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What is bilateral hearing loss?

When both ears are affected

Bilateral hearing loss refers to hearing loss in both ears. It can be conductive, sensorineural or mixed. It can result from a variety of causes and can range from mild to severe. It can impact an individual's ability to understand speech, enjoy music and other sounds, and participate in everyday activities

Bilateral hearing loss can be symmetrical or asymmetrical, meaning it can affect both ears equally or the severity of the hearing loss can vary between the two ears.

Book an appointment with one of our hearing centers to get your hearing tested for bilateral hearing loss.

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Causes

Getting to the root of the problem

As a type of hearing loss that often occurs gradually over time, bilateral hearing loss can be difficult to identify. This type of hearing loss affects both ears and can be caused by a variety of factors, including the aging process, loud noises, physical damage or blockage, infections and specific medications. It is generally a subtle decline in hearing abilities but can also come on suddenly.
Signs and symptoms

Recognizing bilateral hearing loss

Since we’re all so different, ears included, identifying a hearing loss issue can be tricky. Whether it’s in one ear or two, occurring suddenly or gradually, and a slight inconvenience or major roadblock for you, one thing’s for sure: The faster you can identify the problem, the faster you’ll be on the path to better hearing. 

Unsure if you’re dealing with bilateral hearing loss? Some tell-tale signs include:

  • Turning up the TV too loud
  • Struggling to hear speech clearly, especially in noisy places
  • Muffled hearing 
  • Reduced hearing in both ears
Bilateral hearing loss audiogram

Decoding your hearing test results

Audiograms show varying degrees of bilateral hearing loss, which can be sensorineural, conductive, or mixed. They represent a person's hearing sensitivity across different frequencies and loudness levels. Consider audiograms alongside medical history and symptoms.

Hearing aids can significantly improve hearing for bilateral loss, approaching normal levels. Schedule a hearing test at our centre to explore your options.

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Bilateral hearing loss audiogram
Prevention

Healthy living helps your hearing

There is no magic formula to prevent bilateral hearing loss, but there are several steps you can take to reduce your risk:
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  • Protect your ears from loud noises
    Loud noises, such as concerts, loud music, and industrial or construction noise, can damage your hearing over time. To reduce your risk, it's important to limit exposure to loud noises and wear protective gear, such as earplugs, when necessary.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle
    Good health practices, such as not smoking, avoiding certain medications that are known to damage hearing, and managing conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, can help protect your hearing.
  • Get regular hearing check-ups
    Regular hearing screenings can detect any hearing loss early on, allowing for prompt treatment and reducing the risk of further damage. It's recommended to schedule a hearing screening with your doctor to ensure that your hearing is in good health.
Treatment

Addressing the issue

Finding the proper treatment for bilateral hearing loss depends on the cause. For some, surgery to address damage may be required. For others, something as simple as targeting the source, such as earwax, may do the trick. Hearing aids can also be a great way to address permanent hearing loss.

To find out the best course of action, we recommend reaching out to a Hearing Care Professional for a proper consultation. From there, you’ll be able to find the right solution together.

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Did you know?

Ancient hearing myths

Bilateral hearing loss was once believed to be a sign of supernatural powers. In ancient civilizations, people with bilateral hearing loss were often thought to be able to communicate with the gods or to have other mystical abilities. This led to a belief that bilateral hearing loss was a gift rather than a disability, and people with this condition were often respected and admired in their communities.
Expert advice

The benefits of sound therapy

Bilateral hearing loss can be challenging, but sound therapy can help. This involves listening to sounds like white noise or nature sounds to improve hearing and reduce symptoms, such as ringing in the ears. Keep in mind that this should never take the place of professional medical treatment and it's always best to talk to your doctor first.
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Bilateral hearing loss: FAQ

Bilateral hearing loss: FAQ

Can bilateral hearing loss be cured?

Is bilateral hearing loss considered a disability?

Can young people suffer from bilateral hearing loss?

What does bilateral mean in hearing?

Do hearing aids help with hearing loss?

What's the difference between bilateral and unilateral hearing loss?

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Do you suspect that you have hearing loss? Try our free online hearing screening.
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Unilateral audiogram

Unilateral Hearing Loss

When hearing is lacking in one ear, it can have more impact than you think. Learn what causes unilateral hearing loss, how to identify it and the steps you can take to start hearing better today.
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Sudden Hearing Loss

When it’s suddenly hard to hear, it can be scary. But we’re here to help guide you on your road to recovery. Learn what causes sudden hearing loss, how it can be identified and the steps you can take to start hearing better today.

Talk to a Hearing Care Professional in one of our centres.

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