Single Sided Deafness

Single Sided Deafness

Single-sided deafness (SSD) refers to a person who has lost all hearing in one ear and has normal or profound hearing loss in the other ear. It can be difficult to detect which direction sound is coming from and to understand speech in a noisy environment.

Single sided deafness is defined as a profound unilateral hearing loss greater than 91dB. One ear has no usable hearing and will not benefit from amplification due to the hearing or the ability to understand speech is too poor. There is no cure for this condition but there are non-surgical and surgical treatments available. A couple of solutions involve wearing a CROS device that directs sound from the weaker hearing side to the better and stronger hearing side or a bone anchored hearing aid that uses one discreet device.

When you have two functioning ears, you have balance and the ability to locate where sounds are coming from. Our auditory system receives input from both ears. It was designed that way so when one ear ceases to function properly, it throws your auditory system out of balance.

It becomes a big challenge to only hear from one ear. Even being part of a conversation, especially involving more than one person, becomes very difficult and tiring. Having only one ear makes it quite difficult to separate speech from background noise. You have to determine where the sounds are coming from.

Your brain uses both ears to elevate volume and figure out the direction of a sound. According to The California Ear Institute, when a person loses hearing in one ear, it affects them in a number of ways. First, there is the difficulty of knowing which direction the sound is coming from. With two functioning ears, the sound can be discerned by which ear receives the sound first. But with only one ear, it becomes hard and disorienting to figure out the location of the sound.

In a noisy environment, a person with only one ear will struggle to focus on just the one person in a conversation with part of that conversation lost. Your brain is trying to interpret where all the sounds are coming from. It takes longer for the brain to focus on all the noise. And the sound power is lower meaning the brain hears sound on a louder level with two ears than just the one. The brain hears sound level less when there is only one ear available to interpret sound.

Causes of Single Sided Deafness

There are many factors that can cause SSD, including:

  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Bacterial infections
  • Circulatory disorders
  • Damage to the ear
  • Head trauma
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Viral infections

Non-Surgical Treatments

The most common non-surgical treatment options for SSD are the CROS (Contralateral Routing of Signal) and BiCROS (Bilateral Contralateral Routing of Signal) hearing aids. The device is worn in both ears with a microphone in the weaker ear. That allows for the sound to be transmitted wirelessly to a receiver worn in the stronger hearing ear.

These hearing aids improve sound awareness, speech understanding and restore the sensation of hearing sounds bilaterally. Its design redirects environmental and speech sounds from the weaker hearing ear to the stronger hearing ear. It improves sound localization and overall loudness. They have the flexibility to be reprogrammed and allow for changes in hearing.

One of the great things about either system is the wireless connectivity for ear-to-ear streaming phone conversations, music and other media.

Surgical Treatments

There are surgical treatment options available, including bone-anchored implant which uses bone conduction to send sound to the better ear.

The procedure for a bone anchored hearing device is safe, straightforward, and completed as an outpatient surgery. The doctor places a small titanium implant, usually 3-4 mm, into your mastoid bone behind your non-functioning ear. The implant may have a small piece that sticks out where a removable microphone and sound processor will be attached. You can clip onto the support or attach it with a built-in magnet. With time, the implant will integrate with your bone. The doctor will make it all fit snugly together to allow the implant to deliver vibrations through the bone.

Benefits of Pronto System

We use the Ponto System by Oticon Medical that places a bone-anchored hearing system that fits behind your ear and transfers sound through bone conduction. Here are some of the benefits you will receive from a Pronto System:

  • Better sound quality when compared to a traditional bone conduction hearing aid
  • Comfortable
  • Easy to understand when people talk to you, even in a noisy environment
  • Full wireless connectivity
  • No pressure against the skin and the skull
  • Ponto 4 is the smallest bone anchored sound processors available
  • Reliability and performance with an open sound experience
  • Same advanced technology as in a premium hearing instrument

How we can help you

Single Sided Deafness is often treatable through the opposite ear.At Roswell, we offer our patients treatment options based on your particular need. During your visit, you will meet with our audiologists for a hearing test and answer questions to determine the cause of your SSD and what the best solution is for you.

We are dedicated to helping people such as yourself conquer your hearing issues. Call us today to schedule an appointment and address your hearing problem. We look forward to hearing from you!