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Management options for profound unilateral hearing loss

Children with normal hearing in one ear only are able to access sounds in speech.

Children with hearing that is normal in one ear only may still struggle to hear in certain situations, for example when localising sounds:

  • locating which speaker is speaking in a group
  • locating where a sound, such as an alarm, or dog barking is coming from
  • locating the direction of travelling cars

In general, listening in noise can be more difficult than for someone who has normal hearing in both ears. You may notice that your child is more tired after spending time in noisy environments, or may want to avoid challenging noisy situations.

How to support your child

Do
  • Attend regular hearing surveillance appointments – we recommend this is every 6 months for preschool children and annually for school age children.
  • Avoid excessive noise exposure that could damage the better hearing ear
  • Appreciate that children may need times of calm if they have been in noisy environments for most of the day
  • Advise anyone involved in your child’s care about their hearing loss.
  • Seek support from specialist support teachers can offer advice to education settings – Hearing Services staff can advise you about this

What are the options for managing profound unilateral hearing loss?

Traditional hearing aids are not very beneficial and could make listening more difficult.

Some children find special hearing systems that give an awareness of sounds on the side of the poorer hearing ear useful. These do not provide amplification to the affected ear. They include CROS hearing aids and bone anchored hearing devices (BAHD).

CROS hearing aids

Used for ages 5 years and above.

This is a special type of hearing aid system that consists of a pair of devices (one placed on each ear). Sounds on the side of the poorer hearing ear are picked up by the device and are transmitted to the better hearing ear, usually via bluetooth technology.

Bone anchored hearing devices

Used from birth.

These work in similar way to a CROS aid , but use a small processor connected to a soft or hard headband that sits behind the poorer hearing ear. Sounds are transmitted to the better ear using bone conduction (the natural pathway of hearing).

There are options for long term use of bone anchored hearing devices, including implantation. The audiologists can advise you about these options

It is also an option to not have any intervention other than checking hearing regularly.

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Disclaimer

Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: AUD26

Resource Type: Article

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