SINGLE SIDED DEAFNESS
There are several hearing solutions available for those individuals with "single sided deafness." This term applies to anyone who no longer has hearing in one ear. The individual may still have good hearing in the other ear or experience some degree of hearing loss. Many of the solutions presented below also can be applied to those who have a large conductive hearing loss and/or those who cannot wear a traditional hearing aid on one ear. Some of the reasons one may not be able to use a traditional hearing aid are: an active pathology that prohibits blocking the ear canal, significant hearing loss with very poor word understanding or clarity, and/or anatomical abnormalities that make using a hearing aid difficult.
There are both surgical and non-surgical options to look at when evaluating amplification for single sided deafness. Below are the four choices available to our patients. A description of each follows lower on the page.
- Oticon Ponto/Cochlear Baha
Oticon Ponto/Cochlear Baha
There are two surgical devices on the market that are designed for the individual to hear through bone conduction: The Cochlear Baha and the Oticon Ponto. These devices bypass the outer and middle ear and sends vibrations directly to the cochleas. Once in the cochlea, the sound is treated the same as an air-conducted signal.
Between cochleas, there is zero interaural attenuation time. In other words, when bone conduction hearing occurs, both cochleas are delivered the sound at the same time. The cochlea with the better hearing perceives the sound. Therefore, if a user has single-sided deafness, the device can be placed above the poor ear to pick up sound from that side. The device will deliver the sound through the skull to the better ear to be perceived as sound. For more information on these products, please see our bone conduction devices page.
These two options are the only options that use air conduction to transmit the sound signal to the inner ear. This option is non surgical but requires wearing something on both ears.
For individuals with no residual hearing in one ear and normal hearing in the other ear, there is a device called a CROS (contralateral routing of signals). A microphone is worn on the impaired ear. FM transmitters then route the sound to an amplifier and receiver worn on the better ear.
For those individuals with no residual hearing in one ear and a mild to moderate loss in the other ear, there is a device called a BiCROS (Binaural Contralateral Routing of Signals). A microphone is worn on the non-aidable ear and sound is routed by FM transmitters to a microphone amplifier and receiver worn on the better ear, which also acts as a hearing aid.