Single-sided deafness (SSD) occurs when there is a profound hearing loss in one ear, and normal hearing in the other. Children with SSD may experience significant difficulties listening and learning in noisy classroom environments, especially as the listening demands of the classroom increase as they get older. For recipients with SSD, using a hearing implant can help them to:
- Determine where sounds are coming from
- Understand speech in noisy environments, and
- Hear from a distance
In this post we hear from a parent who has experienced the benefits a hearing implant has given her son with SSD. Jennifer Parenti, from the US, is a Teacher of the Deaf and enjoys supporting individuals with hearing loss through their hearing journey. Her son, who has profound hearing loss on one side, is a cochlear implant recipient. In this post, Jennifer reflects on her own journey with her son and shares her tips for other parents.
When my son was almost four years old he was identified with a profound hearing loss in his left ear and normal hearing in his right. At the time, my husband and I were shocked to learn that he had any hearing loss at all! There was a brief period of disbelief. We would speak into his left ear quietly to see what, if anything, he could understand.
We soon came to the realization that it was time to start thinking about how to best support him. After much research, we made the decision to provide our son with a hearing implant. He received his cochlear implant at five years old, and he’s now eight years old.
Here are some of the huge benefits we have seen since our son received his hearing implant:
- He doesn’t ask us to repeat instructions or comments as often as he used to.
- He doesn’t move his body closer or position his hearing ear toward the person speaking.
- His ability to navigate a noisy restaurant has eased considerably.
- His anxiety in a loud classroom/playground has reduced.
- When asked “when do you like your hearing implant the most?” he responds “at school, my CI helps me a lot at school”
We have also altered our environment to support his ability to hear us.
- We turn the TV off when we speak to him
- We move closer to him and get his attention before speaking with him
- We turn the radio off during dinner conversation
- We encourage him to tell us if he doesn’t understand
- We encourage him to ask us to repeat things if he needs to
We’ll be sharing more about Jennifer’s family’s story, so
Want to read more stories about people with SSD? Find out about the inspiring journey of Johanna, a professional musician and singer with SSD who returned to music thanks to a CI.