Known as unilateral hearing loss, single sided deafness occurs when you have a reduction in your ability to hear in only one ear. While common, this type of hearing loss is not often talked about outside of an audiology clinic.
Types of Hearing Loss
Bilateral hearing loss is the type of hearing loss we are all familiar with, where both ears experience a loss at the same time.
Unilateral hearing loss occurs when only one ear is affected. Like bilateral hearing loss, this type of loss can be sensorineural or conductive and may be experienced by children and adults.
Degrees of unilateral hearing loss can range from mild to profound. Those with this condition will have normal to near-normal hearing in their other ear, often referred to as “the good ear.”
Signs of Unilateral Hearing Loss
Having hearing loss in only one ear can cause you to have trouble localizing sounds, which means you cannot tell where sounds are coming from. You will also have trouble understanding speech in noisy environments, especially from the side with hearing loss.
Causes of Single-Sided Deafness
The most common causes of this type of hearing loss include:
- Trauma or injury to the head
- Acoustic neuroma
- Viral or bacterial infection
- Meniere’s disease
Treatment for Unilateral hearing Loss
Treatment options include both surgical and non-surgical options.
For those with mild to moderate unilateral hearing loss, hearing aids or an implant such as a bone conduction device are recommended.
Severe sensorineural unilateral hearing loss may require a cochlear implant, as long as the cochlea in the inner ear is working.
For those with no hearing in their affected ear, a special device known as a CROS hearing aid is used. This hearing aid sends sound information from the damaged ear to the good ear. This is done through wireless transmission.
If there is also hearing loss in the good ear, a BiCROS hearing aid is used.
As you can see, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment solution for unilateral hearing loss. Your audiologist will complete a review of your symptoms and put together an individualized treatment plan.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, contact Decibel Hearing today.