diagnosed unilateral hearing loss q?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-25-2005
diagnosed unilateral hearing loss q?
Tue, 04-24-2007 - 6:49pm

About two weeks ago we realized my son wasn't hearing out of one year. Yesterday it was confirmed by the audiologist, as he was diagnosed with "severe to profound" unilateral hearing loss in his right ear. I would love to hear from someone with any experience with this. I am just so confused about what causes this (I suppose we may know more next week, as we are getting a CT scan), what can be done about it, and how it will affect my little guy's life (he's three). I guess my major concern is whether his other ear is in any jeopardy. He passed his infant screening test; this makes me wonder--did he develop this hearing impairment during his life (he's never had even one ear infection or any type of major infection to speak of)? Or can the screening tests be wrong? And if he did develop this during his life, does that mean he could develop it in his left ear at some point? His speech is above average; we just never had any idea this was going on. We are just in a bit of a state of shock at the moment.

Any thoughts are appreciated.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-26-2005
Fri, 04-27-2007 - 10:25am

My son passed his newborn screening as well but when he wa 17 mos. we found out he was severe-to-profound in both ears.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-21-2003
Sat, 04-28-2007 - 5:16pm

Hi there,

I know a few people with this type of loss, which is usually present from birth and occurs in about one in 500 people. It hasn't progressed to the other ear in any of the people I know. One of them majored in music and did very well. Another is a college teacher/administrator. A third one is an excellent student in high school. A fourth one is a stay-at-home mom. Two more that I know of but don't know personally: The writer Anne Michaels and the politician Jean Chretien, former prime minister of Canada.

It's good you identified it early, as you'll be able to give your DS the (relatively minor) accommodations he may need to succeed in school, such as preferential seating and maybe an FM device. I've also heard of special hearing aids that "reroute" the sound coming into the non-hearing ear to the other ear, but most people with normal hearing in the unaffected ear are able to manage fine without them.

The condition poses the greatest challenge in crowded, noisy environments like restaurants. In such a case, it may be helpful to give some thought to where your DS is seated (i.e., with his good ear facing most of the conversation).

People with unilateral hearing loss also have trouble locating the direction of sounds, for which they can compensate by using visual cues. You can teach your DS to pay extra attention to visual cues when, for example, riding a bicycle.

All told, unilateral hearing loss doesn't seem to limit children's potential at all, as long as parents and educators make sure that the child is hearing what s/he needs to in class.

HTH Freelance