What Should I Do If I’m Suddenly Not Hearing in One Ear?

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Question: What should I do if I wake up and realize I’m suddenly not hearing in one ear?

Answer: There may be several reasons for this, such as impacted earwax in the canal, middle-ear fluid or congestion, sudden viral attack to the hearing nerve, vascular causes, autoimmune disease, or even involvement of a growth pressing on the acoustic nerve. Sudden hearing loss is a medical emergency that affects about 50,000 people per year in the U.S. Given its uncommon nature, people are often diagnosed with Eustachian tube dysfunction or middle-ear congestion. It is imperative to have a complete audiometric evaluation and workup to determine the status of the auditory system for accurate treatment. It may be necessary to refer immediately to an ENT or primary care physician. Do not delay; seek an audiometric evaluation immediately.