UNILATERAL HEARING LOSS – HOW SERIOUS IS IT?

sensorineural hearing loss is caused by abnormalities in the hair cells

How much trouble is a unilateral hearing loss? How much does it interfere with listening, learning and literacy? Well, it varies from person to person but we cannot assume that it is not a problem. Some parents feel that unilateral hearing loss is a problem and others feel that if a child has one good ear he or she will be fine. Maybe he will, but maybe he will struggle. Research clearly indicates that unilateral hearing loss is educationally significant. Bess et al (1998), Bess et al (1986) English and Church (1999) demonstrated that 1/3 of children with unilateral hearing loss had to repeat a grade by 3rd grade. Other studies have demonstrated similar effects. While a unilateral hearing loss may not be the same kind of emergency that a bilateral hearing loss is, auditory brain development is just as critical for these children.

Why do we need two ears?
We know the following about two ears – they enable us to localize sound, and improve the ability to hear when there is competing noise. How important is this? Pretty important, especially if you are a little kid and trying to learn in classrooms – which we know are noisy. Adults who lose hearing in one ear report feeling off balance and report having significant problems hearing in many situations.

Does it matter which ear?
We need two ears, and for adults, there may not be a significant difference if a hearing loss develops in the right or left ear, but for a child things are different. Brain research has demonstrated that language is a left brain activity and the majority of fibers from the right ear go to the left side of the brain so, if a child is going to have a hearing loss in one hear, it would be better if it were the left one. (If only we could control this.)

 

If you have any questions about hearing loss or hearing aids contact Hidden Hearing.

 

Source: hearinghealthmatters.org Read More >

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