Loss of hearing in one ear or unilateral hearing loss is not an uncommon type of hearing impairment. Many people who have hearing problems have normal or close to normal hearing in one ear and moderate to profound hearing loss in the other. The causes of single sided deafness (SSD) can be various. Unilateral hearing loss can be congenital, acquired during birth, developed due to head trauma or a disease such as meningitis, infection, mumps, measles, etc. There are also many cases where the reason for its occurrence remains unknown.
As with every health problem, it is very important to recognize the issue and take the necessary measures in time to improve quality of life and experience the environment as naturally as possible. People who suffer from unilateral hearing loss often find they struggle to locate the direction of sound or understand speech in background noise and may have difficulty concentrating. Some or all of those problems can be avoided or alleviated with the right treatment and choice of a hearing aid.
Regardless of the cause, modern technology offers different options for coping with hearing loss in one ear. Depending on the age of the patient and the severity of the hearing loss, a variety of possibilities for alleviation of the problem exists.
CROS hearing aid
The CROS hearing aids are a popular type of hearing aids used for severe hearing impairment in one ear only. Their basic function is to transfer the signal from the deaf to the good ear. Usually the wearer is equipped with two hearing aids similar to behind the ear hearing aids. The device that sits in the deaf ear has a microphone that picks up the sound. Then these sounds are transmitted to the device in the other ear either with a wire or more recently wirelessly. If the other ear has some degree of hearing loss, then the hearing aid in it is equipped with an amplifier to increase the loudness of the delivered sound.
Bone conduction hearing aid
Another type of hearing aid used for unilateral hearing loss is the bone conduction hearing aid. It is used for transferring the sound from the ear with hearing loss to the normal ear through the bone. Bone conduction hearing aids can be body worn or fitted in a headband. Their main advantage is that they leave the ears open, which is very beneficial for people who are susceptible to frequent ear infections.
Bone anchored hearing aid
The bone anchored hearing aids are very similar in process to the bone conduction hearing aids as they also use the bone to transmit sounds. However, they demand a surgical procedure that places a small implant in the skull bone behind the deaf ear. This type of hearing aid is suitable for people who for some reason cannot use regular hearing aids. The main benefit of the bone anchored hearing aid is the better sound quality as the sound is directly delivered to the inner ear.