Are you experiencing better hearing on one ear compared to another? Do you have a “better” ear such as sitting close to someone while having conversation with your “better” ear? Do you realize that many of us have a preference for which ear we use on the phone? If you answer yes to the above then you might have an issue. Unilateral hearing loss or also known as single sided deafness (SSD) is more common and more troublesome than most people realize.
Just like the name suggests, SSD or unilateral hearing loss is the loss of hearing in one ear. The level of hearing loss can range from mild to profound. There are several causes of SSD which include head trauma, physical damage to the ear, pressure on the hearing nerve, inner ear problems including infections (viral or bacterial), or Meniere’s disease. Single sided hearing loss can be congenital (from birth) or acquired (occurs after birth).
By depending on only one ear is quite a challenge. Our auditory system is designed to receive sounds and input from both ears. The person experiencing single sided deafness will have difficulty in locating source of a sound. They may have difficulty determining where a voice is coming from when someone speaks from their back or their deaf side. They may also miss out on conversations or have trouble communicating in certain situations.
With both ears hearing, we can enjoy the following:
You do not have to learn to live with a unilateral hearing loss. Making major life changes can be a nuisance not just to others but to you as well. With proper help you will be able to cope in everyday environments, such as business meetings, busy restaurants or family gatherings.
Treatment options for unilateral hearing loss are available and you do not have to go under the knife. With conventional hearing aid, it can restore hearing on the worse ear, allowing people to hear better on that side and hopefully regaining back to their natural sense of localisation. Many people with mild to moderately severe hearing loss have improved their general hearing and understanding of speech with the help of hearing aids.
Besides conventional hearing aids, there are few newer technologies which could be a better options for SSD. CROS or Bi-CROS hearing aid system are consists of two pieces of devices, which a microphone device to be fitted on the poorer ear and the a hearing aid receiver to be fitted for the good ear. The idea of putting
CROS or Bi-CROS hearing aid system is because people with SSD might have very bad hearing on the poorer ear such as severe or profound hearing loss, where in such situations, sometimes using conventional hearing aid to be fitted on the poorer ear didn’t give enough amplification or the amplification sound quality was not good enough for the wearer. Hence, using CROS or Bi-CROS system allows them to hear whatever they missed on the poorer ear with high fidelity as they are listening from the good ear. Both Rexton and Phonak are having very good CROS or Bi-CROS hearing system. Feel free to visit SoundLife for free trial.
(Photo credit: Signia)
The third options for SSD could be Bone Conduction Hearing Aid or Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA). It’s suitable for those person born with Atresia (Small ear canal), Microtia (smaller ear), Anotia (without ear pinna) or people who have CSOM (continuous ear discharge) which prevent a conventional hearing aid fitting.
(Photo credit: Medel, Medel AdHEAR bone conduction hearing aid)
Lastly, Phonak Roger System, an accessory to be coupled with hearing aid could be another good option which helps people with SSD to have tremendously speech enhancements in noisy places. It’s because Phonak Roger acts as a portable microphone transmitter, which could improve the speech to noise ratio (SNR) at least 10dB when they used it in noisy place.
(Photo credit: Phonak Roger Pen)
Hearing loss can be helped and we can assist you right here at SoundLife Hearing. We’ll get you through the options and help you make the most informed decision.