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Solutions for single-sided Deafness

Hearing loss in one ear, or single-sided deafness (SSD) can cause much difficulty in hearing and communicating. Even if the better hearing ear has excellent hearing. Severe to profound Hearing loss in one ear can lead to increased stress and anxiety, especially causing much difficulty in localization of sounds, and being unable to hear conversation when a loved one or friend is speaking from the side with the profound hearing loss. As a result, a person suffering from single-sided deafness may avoid social interaction, causing social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem, and even loss of income due to difficulty communicating in the work place. In many cases, a hearing test by an audiologist and evaluation by an otolaryngologist may indicate that the severe to profound hearing loss in the poor ear cannot be assisted by hearing aids. Unfortunately, many physicians will indicate that nothing can be done to help that person suffering from single-sided deafness. Now, what options does a hard of hearing person with profound hearing loss in one ear have? Does s/he simply just have to “live with it” and suffer the consequences?  

GOOD NEWS!!!! Hearing aid devices ARE indeed available for treatment of single-sided deafness! Digital CROS (Contralateral Routing Of Signal) hearing aid devices are now available, and are designed so that people with single-sided deafness can have access to sound from their poor hearing side. CROS hearing devices have been available in the past. However, these hearing devices were bulky, required wires to cross from one instrument to the other, and plugged the better hearing or normal hearing ear, making them uncomfortable and ineffective. But with the introduction of open fit hearing aids and wireless audio streaming using Bluetooth technology, todays CROS hearing aid devices are extremely successful in providing single-sided deafness sufferers with the best possible quality sound, which is transferred from the poorer hearing ear to the better hearing ear. Hence, the term contralateral routing of signal – sounds from the poorer ear are transmitted wirelessly via Bluetooth to the better hearing ear, allowing the listener to hear and understand speech successfully in noisy environments, while also allowing for improved localization of environmental safety sounds.

The CROS hearing aid system consists of two very small hearing devices that fit on top of the outer ear (pinnae), with a small, practically invisible wire and ear tip that fits comfortably into the outer third of the ear canal. The CROS device, worn on the poorer hearing ear, is not actually a full hearing aid, as it has a digital amplifier chip but no speaker or receiver. Instead, this device has a transmitter that sends the sound wirelessly to a receiving hearing aid on the better hearing ear. It may seem strange to wear a hearing aid on your better hearing ear, but all the hearing device on the poor ear is doing is delivering sound from your poor hearing side, and not necessarily amplifying sounds in the better ear. This system now allows you to have access to sound from both sides of your head, which makes a tremendous amount of difference. And because the hearing aid devices are wireless and so discrete, no one can see them!

So if you suffer from single-sided deafness and were told that “nothing can be done”, don’t get discouraged. We have a solution for you! An appointment with an audiologist and otolaryngologist for a hearing test would be a great first step in evaluating your hearing and communication needs, and determining the best hearing aids for your hearing loss. CROS hearing aid devices can be fit to meet your communication needs, and can also be connected to iPhones and Androids for improved communication on your phone. CROS hearing aids can also be rechargeable as well. Call us today at (770) 345-6600 and discover for yourself how we can help you overcome issues caused by single-sided deafness