Cochlear Implants for Unilateral Deafness?
Hassepass et al (2013) report that challenges associated with unilateral hearing loss (UHL) have been underestimated. Specifically, children with UHL are deprived of acoustic cues needed for localization and lateralization; and these children have an inability to use binaural squelch or binaural summation. Further, children with UHL do poorly understanding speech in noise. Children with UHL may experience developmental delays in their speech and language and their spoken language ability may also be impacted by UHL. Further, academic delays and physical safety issues are also known to be major issues for children with UHL.
Traditional treatments for children with UHL have included CROS and traditional hearing aids, bone-anchored hearing aids, FM systems, and more.
Hassepass and colleagues report on three children (aged 4, 10, and 11 years) each of whom had an acquired profound sensorineural unilateral hearing loss, and a normal hearing contralateral ear. Each of the children received a cochlear implant (CI) in his or her worse ear. The authors report that at one year post-op, objective and subjective measures showed each child improved with regard to speech comprehension in noise as well as improvements in localization ability. Hassepass and colleagues suggest cochlear implantation for children with UHL may provide binaural processing and binaural integration, which are not provided through traditional treatments (see earlier).
For More Information, References, and Recommendations
Baguley DM. (2010) Cochlear Implants in Single-Sided Deafness and Tinnitus Seminars in Hearing 31(4):410-413.
Buechner A, Brendel M, Lesinki-Schiedat A, et. al. (2010) Cochlear Implantation in Unilateral Deaf Subjects Associated with Ipsilateral Tinnitus. Otology & Neurotology 31(9):1381-1385.
Hassepass F, Aschendorff A, Wesarg T, Kroger S, Laszig R, Beck RL, Schild C, Arndt S. (2013) Unilateral Deafness in Children: Audiologic and Subjective Assessment of Hearing Ability After Cochlear Implantation. Otology & Neurotology. 34:53-60.