Do I have unilateral hearing loss, or is it something else?
Oct 1, 2009 at 8:27 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 19

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So after spending several days comparing my left ear to my right, I came to the sad conclusion that my left ear just can't hear as well as my right. When listening to music with my right ear, I can clearly perceive more detail and also separation and imaging seem to come through much more clearly in my right ear vs. my left ear. When listening to music through my left ear the imaging suddenly collapses and I can no longer tell where each instrument is located in the headstage, and also the detail decreases and I can't hear subtle details in my music anymore, like sounds of musicians breathing and certain harmonics of instruments. It seems like sounds through my right ear are much more natural, while through my left ear, the same sounds loose detail and definition and sound sort of forced. I tried all kinds of headphones, all kinds of sources and all kinds of music, encoded in low bitrate and high bitrate and the results are consistent - my left ear appears to have some form of hearing loss, or at least hears very, very differently than my right ear.

Now, the strangest thing is that I don't actually have official hearing loss at all - I just checked my hearing recently and the ear doc said that my ears look perfectly normal, my hearing test results are perfectly normal - even in the high-normal range for my age actually (I am 21 by the way) - and the the frequency response in both of my ears is nearly identical (well, at least in the 250Hz - 8 kHz range that is). I tested my hearing on my own many times as well using tones of lower and higher frequencies than the ones used in the standard hearing test and seem to be getting good results with both ears. My left seems to be a bit less sensitive in the upper highs though (8Khz and up) and rolls off a bit earlier than my right ear. Specifically, my right ear begins to roll off at around 15.5 Khz and 16 Khz is barely audible at low volumes. I can hear up to 17.5Khz with my right, if I crank up the volume to very high levels though. My left, on the other hand, begins to get quieter at around 15 kHz and 16 kHz is already inaudible at low volumes. At very high volumes - I can hear up to 17 kHz with my left ear. When running tone sweeps from 20 Hz-20kHz I also notice that my right ear seems to be a bit more sensitive somewhere in the mid frequencies as well, but, again the difference is rather subtle.

This is really depressing and I have no idea what's going on. The worst thing is that I am not sure whether my ears were like that since birth/childhood, or whether I just started loosing hearing in my left ear recently. I remember noticing this difference between my right and my left ear about 2 years ago, but for some reason I didn't pay any attention to it back then and it didn't bother me at all. Recently, it began to seem to me as though the sound is clearly leaning towards the right channel when I listen to headphones and I find it very bothersome.

I am really wondering whether I really have hearing loss in my left ear, or whether it is something psychological or perhaps has to do with left vs. right brain hemisphere differences. Any thoughts and input will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading.
 
Oct 1, 2009 at 9:10 PM Post #2 of 19

miloxo

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The shape of the ear/earcannal is an important factor too. The left and right of your head is always different.

I can share the same experience, but I have a hearing loss since I was born.
I hear completely different in each ear. My left ear is alot more 'bassy' sounding and more smooth (
tongue.gif
) while the right one is much brighter.

Altough my right ear is worse then my left ear in terms in dB loss, I prefer standing left from people, because its easier to understand voices with my right ear for some reason.

Best advice is ofcourse ask your docter, he should know more then we do.
 
Oct 1, 2009 at 11:56 PM Post #3 of 19

Mystere9

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I've been trying for days to get some hardened earwax which I'm convinced I have out of my ears. I'll probably give up in 2 days and go to a doctor. At any rate, Today after soaking my ears in Murine(a product specifically designed for the purpose) and irrigating them with water my ears sounded much more muffled, but I couldn't tell unless I was listening to music with higher frequencies such as cymbals. Just thought I'd mention it, since earwax can be one of the main differences between two ears.
 
Oct 2, 2009 at 12:09 AM Post #4 of 19

boomana

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OP, seeing an audiologist is the only way to get a real answer. Anyone playing doctor here without actually testing your hearing and looking at your ears is....well...just talking garbage.
 
Oct 2, 2009 at 12:34 AM Post #5 of 19

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Quote:

Originally Posted by miloxo /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The shape of the ear/earcannal is an important factor too. The left and right of your head is always different.

I can share the same experience, but I have a hearing loss since I was born.
I hear completely different in each ear. My left ear is alot more 'bassy' sounding and more smooth (
tongue.gif
) while the right one is much brighter.

Altough my right ear is worse then my left ear in terms in dB loss, I prefer standing left from people, because its easier to understand voices with my right ear for some reason.

Best advice is ofcourse ask your docter, he should know more then we do.



Thanks for the input. Yes, I was thinking that ear canal shape and size may indeed be at least one of the reasons why I perceive sounds differently with my right ear vs. my left ear. I do have differently shaped ears - my right ear is smaller in height and wider and the ear canal in the ear is pointing more upward than in my left ear. My left is taller, but smaller in diameter.
 
Oct 2, 2009 at 2:22 AM Post #6 of 19

FrozenGecko

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I sometimes feel the same thing. I used to have a pair of earpuds that my right side would stay in fine, but the left side always fell out. I think my ear canals are a bit different. I also find that sometimes when I wear headphones for a extended period of time my hearing will feel very weird, like I can't really hear that well out of my left. Last week I listened to music for quite awhile with my ms-1's. Between the new ear pads and the extended listening the next morning I could barely hear out of my left ear for the whole day.
 
Oct 2, 2009 at 3:00 AM Post #7 of 19

Uncle Erik

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Your ears are clean, right?

I'd also recommend having a pro check them out.

Some variation between ears doesn't surprise me, though. After all, the prescriptions for my left and right eyes aren't identical.
 
Oct 2, 2009 at 3:43 AM Post #8 of 19

FrozenGecko

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My ears are prolly messed up. I used to have horrific ear aches as a kid.

Because of that, every morning I q-tip my ears but I don't usually get much out :<
 
Oct 2, 2009 at 6:59 AM Post #9 of 19

SengChangKo

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I've just got myself Glue Ear 2 weeks ago, done the removal a week ago but not doing good at the moment, strange thing is, after the removal, my left ear is back at the "Not Burn in Stage" Everything I here is muddy, dull, etc. My headphones are like brand new out of the box through my left ear where else my right ear is "Burned in"

Explanation?
 
Oct 2, 2009 at 8:17 AM Post #10 of 19

Gatto

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there really should be a sticky about asking for medical advice on this forum...
 
Oct 3, 2009 at 12:43 AM Post #11 of 19

leeperry

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what if you pinch your nose, close your mouth and do this? Valsalva maneuver - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

do both ears EQ nicely and instantly? no funky noise in the left ear? like something inflating/deflating if you do it several times in a row? coz that's what I got and my left ear also has veiled trebles, but it seems to improve over time
normal_smile .gif


see if that helps to understand What is up: American Hearing Research Foundation (AHRF) Barotrauma

anyway, yeah call a better doc...forums will not cure your problem
redface.gif
 
Oct 3, 2009 at 12:55 AM Post #12 of 19

deltaspirit

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Mystere9 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I've been trying for days to get some hardened earwax which I'm convinced I have out of my ears. I'll probably give up in 2 days and go to a doctor. At any rate, Today after soaking my ears in Murine(a product specifically designed for the purpose) and irrigating them with water my ears sounded much more muffled, but I couldn't tell unless I was listening to music with higher frequencies such as cymbals. Just thought I'd mention it, since earwax can be one of the main differences between two ears.


This. Before you do anything else, go to a clinic or something and have them clean out your ears, you'll be amazed at the amount of earwax that comes out.
 
Oct 3, 2009 at 7:54 AM Post #13 of 19

krmathis

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That is certainly possible.
I do not see any way around you visiting an audiologist to get a real answer.
 
Oct 6, 2009 at 6:50 AM Post #14 of 19

FrozenGecko

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Yeah. I've been doing some "self tests" and paying attetion to it more lately. My left ear(the ear that used to have really bad ear aches as a kid) can't pick up as much of the details. The high notes are softer in my left ear than my right.

I suppose spending more money on cans won't fix the problem =p.. I guess I should get them checked out.

EDIT: I think i'm damaging my right(good ear) as well.. cause I often feel like music isn't loud enough :X
 
Oct 26, 2009 at 9:32 PM Post #15 of 19

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Quote:

Originally Posted by FrozenGecko /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Yeah. I've been doing some "self tests" and paying attetion to it more lately. My left ear(the ear that used to have really bad ear aches as a kid) can't pick up as much of the details. The high notes are softer in my left ear than my right.

I suppose spending more money on cans won't fix the problem =p.. I guess I should get them checked out.

EDIT: I think i'm damaging my right(good ear) as well.. cause I often feel like music isn't loud enough :X



Well, I am totally with you here, except that I didn't have any problems with this ear before that could lead to the decreased sensitivity - at least not any that I am aware of. For the past week or so, I am been thinking about this problem with my left ear almost all the time. I've done many different self-tests. I've listened to tones for hours, ran multiple tone sweeps of various frequency ranges, filtered out various frequencies in music and compared how my left and my right responds to a specific range of frequencies, etc. In the end, I came to the conclusion that at least the main problem with my left ear seems to lie in the frequency range of 5.5 kHz+, that is the treble region. At around 5.8-6.5 kHz, I hear some strange small dips in the frequency response of my left ear, while my right is nice and flat throughout. Also, I hear decreased sensitivity in my left ear at around 10-12 Khz and a lack of natural increased sensitivity at 13 kHz. The maximum I can actually hear with my left ear if I turn the volume way up is about 17.5 kHz, but realistically, at normal volume levels, the maximum I can hear is 16.5 kHz, which I guess is not bad for my age as far as extension goes. However, my right ear can easily perceive a whole 1 kHz of extra frequencies at the same volume level as my left in the region of 15 kHz and above.
 

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