What Is Unilateral Hearing Loss aka Single Sided Deafness (SSD)

Blog-15-What Is Unilateral Hearing Loss aka Single Sided Deafness-1

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 a 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.

What Is The Cause of Unilateral Hearing Loss?

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).

Importance Of Two Ears Hearing

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 the 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:

  • Better participation in conversations
  • Better speech understanding in all situations
  • Able to locate sound accurately
  • Able to tune in to speech where there is background noise

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 For Unilateral Hearing Loss – Hearing Aids 

Treatment options for unilateral hearing loss are available and you do not have to go under the knife. With a 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.

Conventional Ha
( Photo Credits: Google, Conventional hearing aids on the poorer ear)

Besides conventional hearing aids, there are few newer technologies which could be a better option for SSD. CROS or Bi-CROS hearing aid system is consists of two pieces of devices, which a microphone device to be fitted on the poorer ear and the 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 a very bad hearing on the poorer ear such as severe or profound hearing loss, where in such situations, sometimes using a 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 the 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 a free trial.

Blog-15-What Is Unilateral Hearing Loss aka Single Sided Deafness-2

(Photo credit: Signia)

The third option 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.

Blog-15-What Is Unilateral Hearing Loss aka Single Sided Deafness-3                                                         En Baha 5 Softband Circle 170x350px
 (Photo credit:  Medel, Medel AdHEAR bone conduction hearing aid)                                       (Photo credit: Cochlear, BAHA Soft band bone conduction hearing aid)

Lastly, Phonak Roger System, an accessory to be coupled with a 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 a noisy place.

Phonak Roger Systems
(Photo credit: Phonak Roger )

Surgical Treatments For Unilateral Hearing Loss – Implants 

Hearing aids help a lot of people with hearing loss, but unfortunately, they can’t help everyone. When people with moderately severe to profound hearing loss don’t benefit from hearing aids, medical experts consider a Cochlear Implant to be a more effective long-term solution. It is an established, effective and long term solution for people with moderate to profound hearing loss. Unlike hearing aids, cochlear implants don’t just amplify sounds. They mimic the natural hearing function of the inner ear through electronic stimulation. The system has 2 parts -an external sound processor and the internal cochlear implant.

Whatsapp Image 2020 11 10 At 11.50.29

(Photo credit: Google Image: Cochlear Implant – Surgical Method)

Secondly, Bone Conduction Systems are indicated for conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss and single-sided sensorineural deafness. It offers the best possible sound transmission with a direct connection to the osseointegrated implant through the skin. There are three primary components of the Baha Bone Conduction System: The external sound processor, an abutment or a magnetic connection which links the sound processor to the titanium implant, and the titanium implant that is implanted in the bone and osseointegrates in the bone behind the ear.

Prosthetic Bone Conduction Devices Current Bone Conduction Prosthetic Devices         Bahasystems

(Photo credit: Google Image: Bone Anchored Hearing Aids/Implant – Surgical Method)

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.