Bilateral hearing loss occurs when an individual experiences loss of hearing in both ears, according to West Newton Hearing Center. Such hearing loss may be congenital or acquired, and it may appear gradually or at once. Hearing loss in one ear is called unilateral hearing loss.
Although bilateral hearing loss affects both ears, the hearing loss is not necessarily symmetrical. One ear may be much more affected by loss than the other ear, causing patients to think the good ear is not affected, explains West Newton Hearing Center. Bilateral hearing loss can occur in any of the three major areas of the ear or in all three areas at once, although failure in some parts may be more the cause of the general loss than failure in other parts.
Medication, genes, loud noises and aging are all possible causes of bilateral hearing loss, reports West Newton Hearing Center. If a specialist believes such hearing loss is not medically or surgically treatable after diagnosis, he is likely to conduct further tests to determine if hearing aids can improve the quality of a patient's hearing. He might recommend one or two hearing aids. If an individual suspects loss of hearing, he should consult an ear, nose and throat specialist.