Single sided hearing deafness (SSD) is not uncommon. There are all kind of reasons including accidents & trauma, medication, surgery, strokes, brain tumours, etc. However, usually the reason is never known (idiopathic) as in patients who experience sudden hearing loss of unknown cause. It has been suggested that overall, single sided hearing loss may be as common in our population as 12 in every 100,000 persons.
What problems do these SSD sufferers have?
SSD patients cannot hear clearly from one side, and therefore do not have stereoscopic sound i.e. they are unable to localize the source of a noise. Also in noisy environments, their only hearing ear is challenged by the useless “noise” that masks the useful “sounds” that they want to hear e.g. speech of a friend in an interesting conversation over cocktails in a crowded party.
SSD patients also automatically modify their lifestyles to better suit their condition. For example, they will always walk and talk with family and friends standing, sitting and walking on their better hearing side. They will arrive at meetings earliest, not because they are the keenest, but so that they can sit strategically with their good ear to the meeting attendees.
What is the solution?
The state of the art evidenced based solution that is better than others on the market, is the Cochlear™ baha® ( bone anchored hearing aid ) hearing system. The Cochlear™ baha® hearing system was FDA-approved for the treatment of single sided deafness in 2003, and has been successfully used to treat specific hearing conditions in Hong Kong since 1996. The technology translates sounds from an hearing processor, through a titanium implant, to the cochlea or inner ear. The vibrations received are perceived as sounds, and the patient “hears”.
How does the baha help with single sided deafness?
The Cochlear™ baha® hearing system is applied to the deaf side of the head. Sounds that it “hears” are conducted though the implant to the other good and normally functioning inner ear on the opposite side of the head. The good ear interpretes the sound as coming from the deaf side, and the brain does the rest.
Is the hearing normal then?
The hearing is not normal as there is only one inner ear that is functioning and translating sound from both sides. However the brain is able to understand the difference. For the patient, they can now hear sounds from their deaf side.
How do I know if the baha will help me?
The Cochlear™ baha® hearing system comes with a Softband™ for trial in a clinic setting.
You will be assessed with the Softband™ and advised if the Cochlear™ baha® solution is the right one for you. If you are a potential candidate, you can try the Cochlear™ baha® processor in your different sound situations specific to your lifestyle….and then choose for yourself.