I recently saw the article about Millie Bobby Brown opening up about being deaf in one ear. I think I have hearing loss in one of my ears as well. What should I do? Do I need hearing aids?
First, I must say that Millie Bobby Brown has opened up the conversation on single-sided deafness, commonly known as a severe-to-profound unilateral hearing loss, which is great. The actress from the Netflix series “Stranger Things” is very popular right now, and it’s exciting to see her and other celebrities talking openly about their hearing loss.
A common thought is that if you have at least one working ear that must be enough, right? The answer is no. We are meant to listen with both ears for a reason. Hearing with both ears can help with various aspects of hearing. It can be harder to understand speech with just hearing in one ear. Especially in loud environments. It is also more difficult to understand which direction a sound may be coming from. Much more effort is needed to hear when listening with one ear rather than two, which can cause tiredness or a lack of concentration.
Here is what you can do if you think you have a hearing loss in one ear:
The first thing you should do is get your hearing assessed by a hearing professional (Audiologist). The audiologist will check in your ears and ask some questions about how long you have been aware that you have been unable to hear in one ear and whether you have experienced any other symptoms. They will then perform a hearing test and this will establish the level of hearing in both of your ears. The hearing level in your worse hearing ear will determine what solution will work best for you.
If you have usable hearing in the ear with hearing loss, then having a hearing aid fitted might be the best option.
Read more: What is single sided hearing loss?
If there is no hearing or limited hearing on the bad ear then there are different solutions available. One that has been around for a long time and is probably the most common is a CROS system.
The CROS system is a solution that consists of a hearing aid on one side and a transmitter on the non-hearing ear. How it works is that the sound is picked up from the transmitter side and the sound signals are sent wirelessly across to the hearing aid (receiver), which is fitted to the hearing ear. This helps you to hear information coming from your bad ear.
Read more: Switching on my Phonak CROS
Another solution that is extremely beneficial, especially for children with unaidable hearing on one side, is the Roger Focus. The child wears a Roger Focus on their normal ear and a teacher, and/or student, wear a Roger microphone. This helps kids especially in noisy classrooms to be able to hear and participate.
Other devices that can be fitted to children and adults with unilateral hearing loss include bone conduction hearing aids and cochlear implants.
Your audiologist will be the best person to help and guide you through all of these choices based on your needs.
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