There is one main aspect that differentiates single-sided deafness and unilateral hearing loss. It is the degree of hearing loss. When an individual has one ear that has normal hearing and the other ear has profound (or no hearing ability) hearing loss, it is said that the individual had single-sided deafness. When an individual has one ear that has normal hearing and the other has only a small amount of hearing loss, not complete deafness, it is said that they have a unilateral hearing loss.

After proper evaluations have been completed, unilateral hearing loss and single-sided deafness can be treated with hearing devices. When someone has hearing loss in only one ear, that individual can use a single hearing aid in that ear, They would not need a device in the other ear because it has normal hearing.

With the case of single-sided deafness, a regular hearing aid would not be helpful because that ear is no longer able to hear the amplification. An individual with single sided-deafness would be able to use a set of devices called a CROS. CROS stands for Contralateral Routing Of Signal. The devices would do exactly what the name implies. The individual would wear one device on the ear with normal hearing and it would receive a signal from a device on the ear with the deafness. The device on the ear with the deafness does not provide amplification to the deaf ear, it wirelessly sends the sounds that it picks up from it’s microphones over to the “contralateral” device on the normal hearing ear. That allows for the individual to hear sounds and conversations happening on their deaf ear side all in their normal hearing ear.

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