Hearing-assistive devices in single-sided deafness: which device and what benefits?

Contact Name: Padraig Kitterick

Pádraig Kitterick is a senior research fellow in Cochlear Implantation at the National Institute for Health Research Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit in Nottingham, UK. He is also a visiting scientist at the Medical Research Council Institute of Hearing Research. Pádraig’s research focusses on measuring skills in spatial listening in post-lingually deafened adult users of cochlear implants and on assessing the benefits from preserving residual acoustic hearing in the non-implanted ear of unilaterally-implanted individuals. His work also includes the translation of laboratory research into tools that can be used to monitor outcomes routinely in the clinical environment.

Individuals with a single-sided deafness (SSD) experience difficulties with listening in many everyday situations. These difficulties can arise when sounds are located on the side of the impaired ear. Some hearing-assistive devices aim to address these difficulties by rerouting signals that arrive at the impaired ear to the non-impaired ear. These devices achieve this rerouting either via air conduction (CROS hearing aid) or conduction through the cranial bones (bone-conduction hearing aid). Access to one hearing ear only also severely impairs the ability to determine where sounds are located. Devices such as the cochlear implant have the capacity to improve localisation by restoring useful aspects of hearing in the impaired ear. In this talk I will review the current evidence for the benefits that these devices can provide to individuals with SSD and highlight the current evidence gaps where more research is still needed.

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