Author Topic: SSD - Is some hearing better than none?  (Read 2717 times)


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SSD - Is some hearing better than none?
« on: March 28, 2009, 09:07:43 am »
I was reading Neil's post and had a question for everyone here.  In regards to SSD, do you find that having no hearing in one ear is better than having some distorted hearing?

I understand that some hearing does give you a level of directionability.  Even if you can't understand the sound, you do know what side the sound is on.

My right ear is considered deaf since there's very little usable hearing.  I can no longer get a benefit from a hearing aid and I can't understand speech in that ear.  I've been told by my audiologist to put an ear plug in that ear when I'm in a noisy environment.  I have been trying it and find that it does help me hear better since that ear isn't trying to understand what it hears.  When I do this I find I hear an echo when I talk, which is kind of strange.

Background noise creates a real problem for me, as of course, it does for everyone with hearing issues.  I don't even listen to the radio in the car anymore as it's difficult to hear and understand.  Does anyone else find it very fatiguing to listen and interpret your environment?  Put me in a group of people and make me carry on a conversation for an hour and I'm ready for a nap!  ;D

For those who have lost all hearing in one side, do you find it easier to understand people talking now that your messed up ear has been silenced?

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Re: SSD - Is some hearing better than none?
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2009, 09:28:08 am »

Prior to surgery I had some hearing in my AN ear and, yes, I found that better than being totally deaf in that ear. I thought that becoming SSD would be practically the same. I was wrong. At first, after becoming SSD, I thought that it was no different. Now that I have lived with it for a while I have noticed difficulties hearing that I did not have prior to surgery.

I have been fitted for the TransEar and I am hoping it will help me deal with these hearing issues. If not I will just learn to deal with it.

I hope this helps you.

Diagnosed 12/16/2008
AN 2.4 X 2.0 X 1.6 CM
surgery performed on 1/27/2009 Mt. Sinai Hospital, NYC
Dr.Bederson & Dr. Smouha
9:30am thru 5:50pm


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Re: SSD - Is some hearing better than none?
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2009, 11:06:19 am »
For those who have lost all hearing in one side, do you find it easier to understand people talking now that your messed up ear has been silenced?

No, I found just the opposite to be true.  Prior to my AN surgery I had hearing in my left ear - it was diminished (basically sounds were muffled) but I had good recognition.

The SSD from my surgery left me absolutely stone deaf in my left ear.  Complete silence.  One of the weirdest things I ever experienced.  I don't have tinnitus, and I'm not sure if that made it better or worse, but I have the sensation that my left ear is "dead".  That's the only logical way I can describe it.  Initially when my head was still numb from surgery, the feeling of deadness was reinforced; it's better now that I have feeling in my head once again.

I found it exhausting post op to keep positioning my body so that everyone was speaking to my "good" (right) ear.  I also found it very frustrating to keep saying "WHAT???" 

Since I've had my BAHA the prior two issues have been solved for me.

Retrosig 5/31/07 Drs. Battista & Kazan (Hinsdale, Illinois)
Left AN 3.0 cm (1.5 cm @ diagnosis 6 wks prior) SSD. BAHA implant 3/4/08 (Dr. Battista) Divino 6/4/08  BP100 4/2010 BAHA 5 8/2015

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Re: SSD - Is some hearing better than none?
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2009, 08:55:08 pm »
Hi John,
My hearing was 60% shot in my left ear before surgery. I had tinnitus as well. In environments that weren't busy with lots of noise I could hear alright overall. Now I'm SSD after my translab 8 weeks ago. I have been saying that my tinnitus in my left ear is gone, but now I do notice some 'whooshing' there but not as much high pitched noises. Although I'm totally deaf in the left, sometimes SOMETIMES, it feels like there is directionality from the left. Other times (esp when it's more noisy) I have no idea where a sound is coming from. If there's background noise when I'm trying to carry on a conversation, that makes things more difficult but that was true prior to surgery as well. And, other times I think I'm more sensitive to some noises post op that I never paid attention to pre op. In both pre and post op, when it's an environment without background noise or not in an 'echo-y' environment, I can cope pretty well. Throw a little noise in, and that changes things a bit. I will definitely try a BAHA or transear, just waiting a bit.

1.5 left side; hearing loss; translab scheduled for 1/29/09 at Univ of MD at Baltimore
My head feels weird!!


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Re: SSD - Is some hearing better than none?
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2009, 12:34:04 pm »

I have about 20% word recognition, which is pretty useless. I went ahead and tested out a BTE hearing aid. My ENT was right in warning me that the noise is only distorted. But she didn't tell me that it would help me with directionality. I feel better knowing where sounds are coming from when I'm out on my daily walk. Although my new fancy hearing aid isn't much help with conversations, I kept it because I know that I'm better off with it than without it.

1.5cm AN rt side; Retrosig June 16, 2008; preserved facial and hearing nerves;
FINALLY FREE OF CHRONIC HEADACHES 4.5 years post-op!!!!!!!
Drs. Kato, Blumenfeld, and Cheung.

Jim Scott

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Re: SSD - Is some hearing better than none?
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2009, 01:02:48 pm »

Good question. 

My hearing in the AN-affected ear slowly vanished over a five-year period prior to my diagnosis and subsequent surgery so I didn't have to adjust to being SSD, post-op, which likely made my recovery a bit easier.  While being SSD is definitely a handicap, I don't consider it a disability.  I've learned to compensate and don't find doing so to be fatigue-inducing.  I admit that on some occasions and in certain situations, I miss things that are being said and that is sometimes frustrating and sporadically, embarrassing.  The lack of ability to ascertain directionality of sound is a bit annoying at times, but nothing more.  My functioning ear has excellent acuity and allows me to hear quite well in most situations.  SSD is certainly an adjustment and will always present challenges.  Some of us can adapt to and compromise with SSD - and some struggle with it.  Fortunately, BAHA devices are available, very effective and often covered by medical insurance. 

4.5 cm AN diagnosed 5/06.  Retrosigmoid surgery 6/06.  Follow-up FSR completed 10/06.  Tumor shrinkage & necrosis noted on last MRI.  Life is good. 

Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is.  The way we cope with it is what makes the difference.


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Re: SSD - Is some hearing better than none?
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2009, 07:59:57 am »
I was most happy to become completely SSD.  I had very low word recognition (and truly, the ones I got right I was just guessing on), and had very little directionality.  I can actually understand what I hear better since what I hear from my good ear is not mingled with what I heard so poorly and distorted from my bad one. 

I have a BAHA which I like.  I can hear things from my deaf side now, though directionality is still a problem.  All in all, being SSD with or without the BAHA was a great improvement over the bad hearing and distortion.

Best wishes,
7 mm AN left side
translab 6-12-08
postop issues including CSF leak, eye issues, and facial palsy.  All issues resolved at 9 mos. except slight facial palsy & weakness.  Continuing to improve...