Symptoms of Single-sided Deafness
Hearing loss that occurs in one ear is known as unilateral hearing loss, or "single-sided deafness" (SSD).
The range of hearing loss can fluctuate, although permanent unilateral hearing loss endures when an individual suffers from mild, moderate or severe hearing loss in one ear, and has healthy hearing abilities in the other ear. This is an example of when a person’s hearing loss is profound or near-profound.
Unilateral hearing loss can happen at birth, or progress throughout child or adulthood. If you experience sudden hearing loss, get treatment immediately.
How can hearing loss in one ear influence overall hearing abilities?
There is a reason why we are born with two ears. The brain utilizes each ear to locate where a sound is emanating from, which helps increase the quality and range of your hearing. This is known as binaural hearing.
There are different problems faced by those who have hearing loss in one ear. Some may include:
"Head shadow" and single-sided deafness
"Head shadow" and single-sided deafness tend to go hand in hand. High-frequency sounds cannot travel to the ear that can hear, so a person will not hear them.
Your head is basically a shield, and it obstructs noises from the ear that cannot hear as well from the ear that can hear - hence the name "head shadow". As a result, speech may sound muffled because the individual is unable to hear high-frequency noises such as “f” or “s”.
The origin of hearing loss in one ear
Hearing loss in one ear can be due to:
In some cases, a cause of hearing loss in one ear cannot be determined due to multiple factors.
Abrupt hearing loss in one ear
Hearing loss in one ear may rapidly progress, so it’s important to immediately get medical help if you or a loved one experience any range of sudden hearing loss.
The sooner you get treatment, the more likely you will be able to preserve the hearing that you still have. Generally, untreated hearing loss cannot be restored. If a hearing aid, or other medical treatment, is unable to help with your hearing the consequence is SSD.
How to treat Single-sided Deafness
Those who suffer from mild to moderate hearing loss, may use a hearing aid device to intensify the sounds that you are unable to hear.
It is common for severe to profound SSD to be permanent, but in some instances it can be treated by wearing a hearing aid in the ear that can still hear. Getting a hearing test conducted will help determine the cause of your hearing loss, and you can find treatments that are available.
The CROS System
The Contralateral Routing Of Sound System (CROS System) is used for individuals who have near-total hearing loss in one ear, and healthy hearing abilities in the other ear. A CROS hearing aid captures sounds that are happening by the deaf ear, and re-routes them to the ear that can hear. A hearing device is needed for each ear. On the non-functioning ear, the person will use a transmitter, and in the functioning ear, person will wear a receiver which transfers the sounds through a microphone. The sound is not made louder than usual because the person has fairly healthy hearing abilities.
BiCROS hearing aid devices work similarly, but they are worn by those whose functioning ear has moderate-to-severe hearing loss. The ear that can hear well can gather sound from the transmitter on the other ear, and gathers amplified sound through a regular hearing aid.
These CROS system hearing aids only reroute sound. They, just like all hearing aids, cannot restore hearing, but will help preserve the hearing abilities that you still have. Talk to one of our hearing instrument specialists about the Phonak CROS B hearing aids.
If you, or a loved one, suffer from unilateral or bilateral hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation.