The Complications of Single-Sided Deafness
Although a person with single-sided deafness has one “good” or “aid-able” ear, they may still face problems in difficult listening situations. One of the biggest problems they often experience is inability to localize sounds. This means that they can struggle to quickly determine where a sound is coming from, especially if the sound source is on the side of the deaf ear. Another problem a person with SSD can experience is being able to separate speech from the background noise, since the good ear is the only side hearing and trying to process both types of sounds. These two problems can impact quality of life in social settings, educational/work settings and everyday activities.
Potential Solutions – CROS and Bi-CROS Systems
One solution is a contralateral routing of signals (CROS) system. A CROS system routes the sound coming from the side of the deaf ear to the normal ear. The patient wears one device on the deaf ear that picks up sound via a microphone. This sound is then wirelessly transmitted to a hearing aid that is worn on the normal ear. If the person has one deaf ear and the other ear has some hearing loss that can be aided, the solution would be a Bi-CROS system, or a bilateral contralateral routing of signals system. The difference between the Bi-CROS system and the CROS system is that the person is receiving sound from more than one microphone since the better ear is benefiting from a functioning hearing aid that is also receiving sound signals from the opposite ear’s microphone.
By sending sound from the deaf ear to the normal or better ear, the person is able to localize more effectively and hear better when surrounded by background noise. This can help to improve his or her everyday communication. Some other advantages to this type of system are that the technology is wireless, discreet, does not require surgery and is available for any range of hearing for the better ear, as long as there is a little bit of hearing to work with.
It is pretty amazing that today’s technology is now able to help more people with different types of hearing loss. If you have single-sided deafness, there is now a wireless solution available that can help improve your overall quality of life.