Specialist expertise: Ear, Nose and Throat, Laryngology, Head, Neck, Sleep Disorders, Sleep Apnea, Rhinology, Endocrine Surgery, Endocrinology.
People with reduced hearing in one ear can still manage conversation well in quiet environments. This can give others the impression that single-sided deafness isn’t a big deal. Even amongst ENT surgeons in the past there was a view that as long as the other ear was ok, intervention wasn’t worth it.
However, we know there are specific difficulties associated with reduced hearing in one ear:
- Conversation in noisy environments (‘Speech in noise’)
- Knowing which direction a sound is coming from (‘Spatial hearing’)
- Not hearing sounds from one side of the head (‘The head shadow effect’)
- Appreciating audio recorded in stereo
- Increased listening effort & ‘cognitive fatigue’
- Lack of stimulation meaning the brain stops learning to process sound on that side (‘Plasticity’)