Single sided deafness (SSD) is defined as having one ear that is “non-aidable” or “dead” (this means it has such a significant hearing loss that a normal hearing aid won’t deliver any benefit), combined with normal hearing or an aidable hearing loss in the other ear.
Single sided deafness is more significant that you might think. It results in:
- Difficulty understanding speech in noise – the brain has an amazing ability to suppress unwanted sounds, but it can only do this when listening in stereo
- Loss of ability to localise sound – using one ear makes it impossible to know where sounds have come from
- The head shadow effect – low frequency sounds have a longer wavelength and can travel around the head, while the shorter wavelength high frequency sounds are shielded by the head. And because the high frequency components of speech dictate clarity, this makes it difficult to follow conversation from the bad side without constantly turning your head.
The best solution for single sided hearing losses are CROS (Contralateral Routing Of Signal) hearing aids, which wirelessly transfer sound from the deaf side to the good ear, helping to overcome the need to live with a deaf side. BiCROS hearing aids are similar, they transfer the sound from a poor ear to the good ear, but in this case the good ear needs some amplification (ie, has some degree of hearing loss).
If you are struggling to hear when sound is on your ‘bad side’ then CROS could provide a solution for you, and are available to trial free of charge.
We typically have in stock, and available to trial at any time, the Phonak CROS hearing solution. This product automatically detects what kind of listening situation you are in, and then switches to the best possible setting to help:
- Focus in on voices and reduce background noise to help you to hear what you want
- Understand speech while in a car as the CROS streams to the good ear
- Improve awareness of your surroundings and hear sounds from both directions
CROS aids are available with a rechargeable option, which is typically what we recommend. This is because the battery drain with CROS hearing aids is high as they are continuously streaming information between the two devices. The rechargeable hearing aids provide a full day of use so you don’t have to worry about the inconvenience of changing batteries and carrying spares.
The benefits of CROS can also be achieved by use of a BAHA (bone anchored hearing aid), which send the signal via a vibration from the poorer ear to the better one. This solution works best when the good ear has normal sensorineural (inner ear) hearing. We can, on request, order in CROS hearing instruments of any style or brand.
Because we have limited stock available to loan, it is necessary to book an appointment for a trial. If you’d like to see what kind of benefits are available with a CROS solution, please call Helen on 09 309 1018.