Most of us are familiar with the traditional type of hearing loss that affects both ears, but not much is spoken about a condition affecting only one ear, known as single-sided deafness. Understanding the symptoms and available treatment options for this condition are crucial to ensure you seek help when needed.
What Is Single-Sided Deafness?
Every year, about 60,000 Americans develop single-sided deafness. At its core, this type of hearing loss requires you to have little to no hearing in only one ear. In order to be classified as single-sided deafness, the hearing loss must be significant enough that you can no longer experience the benefit from hearing aid amplification.
What Does It Sound Like?
One of the key signs of single sided deafness is having a “good ear.” You may also:
- Be unaware of sounds originating on your “bad side”
- Find it challenging to participate in a group conversation or in an environment with significant background noise
- Have trouble localizing sounds
Like hearing loss is both ears, known as bilateral hearing loss, this type of hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors including:
- Head trauma
- Acoustic neuroma
- Viral or bacterial infection
- Meniere’s disease
Treatment Options for Single-Sided Deafness
While this type of hearing loss cannot be reversed, there are a number of treatment options available to help you hear.
These are the most common devices worn to treat single-sided deafness. They require the user to wear a device in both ears.
A CROS is worn behind the damaged ear and wirelessly sends sound information to the device behind the ear with normal hearing. The sound information is presented to the good ear where the signal can be heard.
A BiCROS is designed for those with some degree of hearing loss within their “good ear.” The CROS sits behind the damaged ear and wirelessly sends the sound information to the hearing device behind the better ear. This hearing device takes the sound information, mixes it with its own input and amplifies the sounds to a degree that the ear can hear.
A bone-anchored hearing device requires surgery to implant a fixture in the bone behind the ear. The processor sits on the outside, picking up sounds from the environment. These sounds are transmitted via sound vibrations to your working aid through your skull bone.
Unlike CROS, a device is only present near the damaged ear; the good ear is unencumbered.
You and your audiologist will work together to determine the best treatment option for your single-sided deafness. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact Hearing Advancement Center today.