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Can something be done for a deaf ear?

I am astounded at how many people have been told by a “professional” to never let someone sell them a hearing aid for an ear that has been determined to be deaf. In my 15 years experience I have only seen one person who was truly deaf and had no measurable hearing in either ear. Most people who are deaf are similar to people who are blind: they don’t see well but there is still some sight available to work with. A typical example of someone who has been told they have a deaf ear would be someone who has 30-50% hearing loss in their better ear and 70-80% hearing loss in their worse ear. An important part of the testing procedure is testing speech comprehension in not just each ear individually but also with both ears together. A phenomenon referred to as Binaural Summation occurs in almost every person I test. Binaural Summation means that speech comprehension improves by a notable amount when both ears are tested together, and we can reduce the volume required and still achieve better results. When ears are tested individually it does not accurately asses how a person will perform in the real world. Binaural speech testing is the only test that will show if a person will perform better with two hearing aids compared with one.

When an ear is so far gone that there is no benefit with hearing aids in both ears, there are still systems available that can help. A truly deaf ear can still wear a microphone which will wirelessly transmit the signal to a hearing aid worn in the better ear, so the user can still understand what someone says who is sitting on their bad side. These are referred to as a CROS system or BiCROS system.

Every person’s needs are unique, and they must be individually assessed to see what is best for them. Dismissing an ear without properly investigating all options is not an acceptable choice for me. If you feel that you have had someone dismiss one of your ears, please give us a call at Newcastle Hearing Solutions for a second opinion.