Ask an Audiologist – Single Ear Headphones

October 1st, 2014 | by Tracy Saunders | Audiologist
Ask an Audiologist – Single Ear Headphones

We’ve heard many times that listening to your music at high levels for prolonged periods of time can cause permanent hearing loss. In the email to our Audiologist, the person below wants to know how to get the best sound from her headphones despite the fact that she’s unilaterally deaf. Hearing Solutions Audiologist and Trainer, Tracy Saunders offers up her expert advice. If you have a hearing health related question that you would like answered by an experienced professional email us at

Ask An Audiologist…

I’m unilaterally deaf and I’ve been noticing that songs sound slightly different when I listen to them with my ear buds compared to listening to the song in the car or through a speaker. I know that headphones are designed to highlight different types of sound in each bud, like different bass sounds are played in each ear. Do you know of any good quality single eared ear buds? Using normal ones are only mildly inconvenient but I would like to hear the songs the way they were designed to be heard.

Audiologist Response…


Thank you for your email.

To be honest, I always thought that the sound that came through ear bud headphones was identical. I would encourage you to contact the manufacturer of the ear buds you currently wear and request some more information.

I’m wondering if the sound quality of music through a speaker is simply better than the sound quality coming through an earbud. I would imagine that the larger physical components in a speaker allow more of a better fidelity and sound quality.

I’m not sure if this answers your question? Enjoy the music!

Best regards,

Tracy Saunders, M.Cl.Sc., Reg. CASLPO

Tracy Saunders is a registered Audiologist with the College of Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists of Ontario. She holds a Master’s Degree in Audiology from the University of Western Ontario and an Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto. Tracy is currently working as an audiologist and trainer at Hearing Solutions.

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