Hearing Aids Can Help Single-Sided Hearing Loss

Hearing Aids Can Help Single-Sided Hearing Loss

In hearing health, hearing loss by Laurie Duffy, M.S.

Hearing loss often affects both your ears. But what happens when you have single-sided hearing loss? Do hearing aids help? The answer is yes! Hearing aids will make a huge difference in how you’ll experience the world around you. If you’ve been putting off treating your hearing loss, here’s why you need to consider hearing aids.

Binaural Hearing

We naturally have binaural hearing. This just means we hear with both ears. Binaural hearing helps us hear in paces with noise, as well as helping us determine how loud a sound is and where it’s coming from. You might be able to get by with single-sided hearing loss, but you’ll be missing out on a lot of sounds and straining to hear.

What is Single-Sided Hearing Loss?

Single-sided hearing loss is hearing loss that only affects one ear. You may hear normally in one ear or have a mild hearing loss, while you may have severe hearing loss or deafness in the other ear. Single-sided hearing loss can be caused by:

  • A head or ear injury
  • An ear infection
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Circulatory system disorders
  • Genetic disorders  

When you have single-sided hearing loss you’ll experience the “head shadow” effect. When sound waves meet your head, they don’t bend around your head. Sounds that reach your head on the side of your bad ear don’t wrap around your head to your good ear. Your head actually blocks these sounds and you won’t hear them at all.

What Happens When You Have Single-Sided Hearing Loss?

Losing the ability to hear in one ear might not sound that bad. But single-sided hearing loss presents a lot of challenges:

  • Single-sided hearing loss makes it very difficult to localize sounds. When you have normal hearing, your brain will compare the sounds from each of your ears to determine where a sound is coming from. But when your brain only gets signals from one ear, it’s very hard to figure out which direction a sound is coming from.
  • Single-sided hearing loss makes it harder to hear in places with background noise. If you’re trying to have a conversation in a noisy restaurant, you will have an extremely hard time determining which sounds are background sounds and which sound are speech sounds. It makes it a lot harder to focus on the sound of a voice, or even focus on the sounds coming from in front of you.
  • Single-sided hearing loss makes sounds seem much quieter. When you hear sounds with both your ears, your brain tells you how loud the sounds are. However, when you only hear with one ear all the sounds around you will sound much softer.
  • Single-sided hearing loss affects your concentration. Did you know that hearing loss can make it hard to focus? If you have single-sided hearing loss you’ll have a difficult time multi-tasking, for example trying to have a conversation while doing another task. That’s because your brain is working overtime to make up for all the sounds you’re not hearing.

Hearing Aids for Single-Sided Hearing Loss

We have hearing aids designed just for you! If you have single sided hearing loss, you’ll benefit from some of the top hearing aid technology. The most common treatment for single-sided hearing loss is to wear two hearing aids. That’s because your good ear can do some of the work to help your bad ear hear.

  • CROS hearing aids: When you wear two hearing aids, you can use a CROS system. The CROS technology uses a microphone in the bad ear to pick up all the sounds on that side of your head. Then it transmits these sounds to the receiver in the other ear. Your good ear can easily hear these sounds and send the information to your brain. That way you’ll hear sounds from both sides of your head, almost as if you had binaural hearing.  
  • BiCROS hearing aids: These hearing aids also send sounds from your bad ear to your good ear. The difference is that BiCROS hearing aids work with people who have moderate or severe hearing loss in their good ear as well. These hearing aids will help you hear the sounds in your bad ear, and they will also amplify the sounds entering your good ear.

Treating Hearing Loss

Whether single-sided or binaural, it is important to seek treatment for hearing loss. We provide comprehensive hearing health services and we’re here to help! Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing test.