Also known as unilateral hearing loss, single-sided deafness describes partial or complete hearing loss in one ear, which the other ear remains functionally-normal. Known causes of single-sided deafness can include acoustic neuroma, measles, mumps, Ménière’s disease, meningitis, labyrinthitis, physical trauma, or hereditary conditions. Sometimes, though less common, it can be a sudden loss of unknown origin.
Regardless of the length of time the symptoms have persisted, there are treatment options available. For sudden hearing loss, an MRI is usually obtained and then steroids are prescribed. For a more long-term loss of hearing, a bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) is usually the course of action for a more permanent solution.
- BAHA – This FDA-approved implant works by transmitting sound directly to the cochlea (inner ear) on the opposite side of the skull. The BAHA device is strategically placed behind the deaf ear so that sound is transmitted through the skull to the opposite side of the head to reach the patient’s functioning inner ear. The Baha device helps restore the sensation of hearing on both sides.
- Steroids – Steroids have long been the gold standard of therapy when it comes to sudden single-ear deafness. Oral steroids (which are given by mouth) such as prednisone can be very beneficial. Steroids injected directly into the ear may also be helpful. In this procedure, steroid injections are injected through the ear drum into the middle ear, where they are absorbed into the inner ear. This procedure is quick, relatively painless, and can be performed right in our office.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and would like to discuss your treatment options with one of our experts, please call (860) 493-1950 or visit our patient portal to request an appointment.