The loss of hearing in one ear is called unilateral hearing loss (UHL) or single-sided deafness (SSD). The causes of this type of hearing impairment include viral infections, Meniere’s disease, head or ear injuries, or as the result of brain tumor surgery. The most common symptom of UHL is difficulty distinguishing sounds one wants to hear from background noises. There are treatment options, which many people choose to ignore. UHL is a common problem in children, with diagnosis typically made during newborn screenings or school screenings.
A child with UHL is at high risk for speech-language development, cognition, and behavioral problems. These problems can impact a child’s school performance. A child with UHL may:
The ability to hear affects learning. It is a critical component for speech and language development, communication, and education. A UHL delays development of speech and language which lead to poor academic performance. The delay is not a question of intelligence, but rather a learning environment that does not support a child with UHL.
It is possible that a hearing aid might be a solution for your child depending upon age and the extent of the hearing loss. Speech and language therapy is another viable option. A hearing healthcare professional is a tremendous asset for helping you make the best decision for your child’s hearing. There are many things you can do now to help your child at home or school.
Remember that children are much like sponges learning the language as they hear it spoke. When the ability to hear is difficult, learning suffers. There are resources to help you and your child with UHL. Here are a few links: