September 25, 2018
There are several fairly well-known types of hearing loss out there. The most common are sensorineural, or “nerve deafness;” conductive, or a loss that can typically be remedied by medication or surgery; and mixed, which is a combination of the two. However, there is another that should not be forgotten: single-sided deafness.
Single-sided deafness occurs when you have one ear that hears far better than the other, creating what is known as an asymmetrical hearing loss. This can be due to illness, injury, or noise exposure, and it can be a sudden or gradual change in hearing. Even though you may only have one ear that is struggling, it is important to assist yourself with a hearing device due to better sound localization, safety (think alarms or sirens), easier communication, and personal comfort.
Several manufacturers have a solution to this. While it is possible to only wear a hearing aid on the side that needs it, there comes a time when an ear cannot be aided. In that case, there are two options available: CROS and BiCROS. A CROS system is simple: a device that looks like a hearing aid is worn on both ears and the device on the “bad” ear sends the sound signal to the device on the “good” ear. There is no amplification involved, simply a transfer of sound from an unaidable ear to its counterpart. A BiCROS system only differs in that both ears need assistance, so the device on the “good” ear actually functions as a hearing aid as well as receiving sound signals from the “bad” ear.
There are a few well-known manufacturers who have access to this technology. If you experience single-sided deafness or an asymmetrical hearing loss, give us a call at (541) 228-9233, and we will make an appointment for you to chat with one of our doctors and find the best solution for you.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
Sudden hearing loss is considered a medical emergency. If you experience sudden hearing loss in one or both ears, call an audiology clinic (like us!) or an ENT clinic and let them know. The sooner you take initiative, the sooner your hearing may go back to normal. Too many folks take the “wait and see” approach with sudden hearing loss and regret it. We would prefer you to cry “wolf” than lose your hearing unnecessarily.
Fun Random Fact: “Peacoats” are named for the hip-length, double-breasted coats originally worn by sailors and fishermen. The name “pea” comes from the Dutch “pij” which refers to a rough, woolen material, of which most peacoats are made.