Single sided deafness, or unilateral hearing loss, occurs when there is a substantial loss of hearing in one ear with either normal or decreased hearing in the other ear. The ability to hear with both ears lets a person tell where a sound is coming from. It also helps determine how far away the origin of the sound is. An individual with loss of hearing in one ear has to put forth more effort to hear conversations, especially in noisy environments, leading to frustration and anxiety over basic interactions.
The benefits of binaural hearing are missing, and this makes listening more difficult. The extra effort and concentration needed to figure things out can lead to irritability, fatigue, communication problems and hardships with interpersonal relationships.
Most leading hearing aid manufacturers have hearing aid options available for those with complete hearing loss in one ear that help to make the benefits binaural hearing available. Single sided deafness can be helped with a Contralateral Routing of Signals, or CROS, hearing aid. Sound is picked up from the side that is deaf and is transmitted to the good ear. There are different types of CROS hearing devices. The conventional type uses a microphone placed at the impaired ear with an amplifier on the side of the good ear. It used to be that these hearing devices had a wire running form one ear to the other to connect the instruments. With modern wireless technology, they are more inconspicuous.
For those who have one ear that is deaf and another ear with poor hearing that can be aided, there are BiCROS hearing aids. Like the CROS devices, sound is picked up from the side of the deaf ear and transmitted to the better ear. At the same time, sound is amplified to aid hearing in the receiving ear. Sandia Hearing Center has a variety of CROS hearing aids, along with a selection of BiCROS devices.
If you think you may have decreased hearing, visit the hearing care providers at Sandia Hearing Center to get your hearing evaluated. We are staffed with friendly, trained professionals who perform hearing evaluations and help advise you about solutions for single sided deafness. With the latest technology of hearing aids, there is no need to suffer from the problems that hearing deficits often bring. If you have any hearing concerns or would like more information, call us at 719-634-6260.