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Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012

Hearing Aid for Unilateral Hearing Loss

Doctor in hall waiting to discuss unilateral hearing loss and hearing aid with patient.

One in 20 school age children have hearing loss in one ear or unilateral hearing loss. In the past, it was common practice not to treat unilateral hearing loss. The assumption was that the one “normal” ear would compensate for the loss. A new study at Washington University School of Medicine has proven that long established myths claiming unilateral hearing loss does not hinder a child’s performance in school are false.

“Our study has shown that on average, children with hearing loss in one ear have poorer oral language scores than children with hearing in both ears.” Dr. Judith Lieu

Children with hearing loss have difficulty writing, are less socially active, and are more likely to be bullied. Those with hearing loss in one ear have these issues in addition to being less likely to get treatment in the form of a hearing aid. That's because having hearing loss in one ear also means the limits of a child's ability to understand are often misunderstood or underestimated. This lack of awareness can cause issues for the student, studies repeatedly show, “even a small change in hearing can result in huge decreases in performance in school leading to self-esteem, social and emotional problems.”

Hearing loss in one ear, unilateral hearing loss, has been shown to affect a child’s performance in school and with communication.

Research has not been conducted on the benefit of unilateral hearing loss being treated with a hearing aid, but the research has been done for students with varying degrees of hearing loss in both ears. That research clearly shows an advantage to children with hearing loss who wear a hearing aid. As educators at MSU, point out, “numerous studies have shown improvement in attention, understanding directions, classroom participation and school behavior” when fitted with a hearing aid.

“Children with hearing loss do not catch up without intervention.”American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Childhood hearing loss needs to be addressed as soon as possible in order to prevent damage to social and language skills. It therefore makes sense to take action when it comes to unilateral hearing loss as well. Visit your hearing health provider to talk about options and a hearing aid designed specifically for people with unilateral hearing loss.

If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

References

Washington University School of Medicine. "Kids with hearing loss in one ear fall behind in language skills, study finds." ScienceDaily, 4 May 2010. Web. 24 Oct. 2011.

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