2 months old with Unilateral Hearing loss

Hello Members,

I just discovered this forum and posting right away for little one. My little boy 2 months old failed hearing test multiple times at the hospital in his left ear. Right ear was pass. After 1 month of his birth, we took the hearing test again, same result. We were referred for ABR and had it done yesterday.
Results were 45-60DB (500-4000Hz) in the left and right was <25DB. Audiologist recommended to get the ENT appointment saying my son has mild-mod severe unilateral hearing loss. I never expected such results and we are so anxious right now. He was C-section baby so we were assuming some fluids in his ears might be the reason but seems that might not be the case now. We dont have any history of hearing loss and my first born is just fine.

Questions we are trying to find answers are,

  1. are there any remote chances of his hearing will improve naturally? since he is just 2 months, we believe he has lot to develop in his brain and possibly ears.
    2)Since normal conversations are at 45-60DB and his right ear being perfect, will it affect will speech and learning ? Are there any chances of him being normal without any hearing aids?
    I see in the forums people have opted for hearing aids and CI but i don’t see people with babies doing just fine with moderate hearing loss without any assistance. Last hope , ENT might say something positive that his middle ear has fluids causing high threshold.

Since we are anxious, we are searching for answers meanwhile we are waiting for an ENT referral.

Thanks in advance for sharing any knowledge/experience.

@Neville Hoping you can reply to this. To poster. I can’t answer your questions. I asked Neville to respond. They’re an audiologist and does deal with pediatric patients.

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Here’s a chart to understand the loss. If the loss is 45 dB to 60 dB, then it’s directly in the moderate range. You mentioned mild, moderate and severe in your previous post.

Thanks for the chart. Audiologist here had different chart which categorized as Mild to Moderately sev.
However, is there any chance where it can cleared naturally without any aids or this can be temporary hear loss due to fluids or wax? I see in some post, ABR measures signals post middle ear so fluid doesn’t matter. Just trying to be prepared before meeting ENT which is atleast 1 month away.

@Zebras, Also I do see entry in the test “Masked Bone at 500Hz” at 25DB in the left ear. I am not sure what this means.

Hi Krispy,

With normal hearing in the right ear, your little boy can be expected to develop speech and language normally. This hearing loss will not keep him from doing all the things you have imagined him doing. You will want to pay a bit more attention later on to whether he is having trouble with chronic fluid behind the eardrum, which is common in pre-school aged kids, but he will already be monitored more closely than other children because of the hearing loss in the left ear and unless you have a significant family history of ear infections and tubes, it probably won’t be an issue.

Where children with unilateral hearing loss start to run into trouble is when they get into school and are regularly spending time in more complex listening situations. At that point, we see learning and performance difficulties in children with unilateral hearing loss who are not aided. There are of course children all over the world who have lived perfectly normal, successful lives with hearing in only one ear. However, on average children with unilateral hearing loss, who do not receive intervention, struggle more than children without. We do typically recommend that children with unilateral hearing loss get a hearing aid to help restore hearing on that side and there are a few reasons to go ahead with it sooner rather than later: 1) It helps to get the child used to wearing a hearing aid (and helps you get used to it!) before they reach an age where they just pull it out all the time, and 2) it helps to keep the auditory nerve on that ear functioning optimally and leads to better binaural auditory development. For babies with hearing loss in both ears, we try to fit hearing aids as quickly as possible once they are identified–you don’t have to scramble so much because we are not worried about speech development. You have a bit more breathing room to wait for the ENT, wait for reassessment, and take some time to think about it if you prefer.

I don’t know where you are, I don’t know your audiologist, but in all likelihood the hearing loss is permanent. A trained pediatric audiologist can tell the difference between permanent hearing loss and a temporary loss caused by wax or fluid. ABR tests are the gold standard for diagnosing hearing loss in children, and while is it a complex test that requires a well-trained professional it is very accurate when used properly and when the child sleeps for the test.

The most important things you can be doing right now are talking to your baby, reading to your baby, and bonding with your baby. Go to the appointments as scheduled and they should walk you through everything. I would strongly recommend a hearing aid on that ear if the audiologist is saying that it’s appropriate. There will be a lot to learn but you are equal to it.

Also, congratulations on your new child. He will be wonderful.

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I became deaf in the left ear as a baby (completely deaf, coccophosis), before 6 months of age and I learned to speak normally, at a normal age and without speech impairments. I studied and worked without any problems, my problems only started when I was 58 years old when my right ear had a perforation in the eardrum and I was moderately deaf in that ear.

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Thanks @Neville for your time and clear explanation. It’s reassuring to know there are still chances of baby doing good without hearing aids even though we too prefer hearing aids as the last stop.
The test was done at southern California and the audiologist seemed experienced. She recommended to ENT mentioning this could be temporary or permanent. With her instrument she could not see any fluids or wax but suggested ENT might have better tools.

We dont have any history of ear problems and infact we never tested for hearing at birth .
It is surprising to know that my son have to go through this. Anyway, it is what it is!
He started to respond by cooing and babbling which is positive and even responds to slight sound with his left ear. We still have some hope that in his next ABR test or after 12 months, his hearing threshold might improve.

Thanks for your words !

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Thanks for your reply. It is good to know that your unilateral hearing loss did not affect your life.
:slight_smile:

I am also a pediatric audiologist and agree with @Neville - earlier this year I fit a baby with a hearing aid who has similar loss. Her parents have noticed a big difference in how she hears at home, and she’s not even a year old yet. Hearing aids are not bad - if that is what your guy needs, it will help him. There is usually no improvement with hearing loss, but it can get worse, so please be sure to keep up with routine testing as recommended.

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Thanks for sharing the information. Yes, we have follow up appointments. Hearing aid would be definitely in our list.

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The decibel numbers indicate that he has a loss in the one ear. It shouldn’t affect speech development if that’s your concern. I don’t know at what age they start dealing with hearing loss in an infant and eventually he’ll probably need an aid for the one ear. I realize that both you and your wife are probably scared and definitely concerned. Especially since you probably know little or nothing regarding hearing loss. But be assured that with your child’s current loss he should have no serious problems in his future assuming the loss is stable. All the more reason to seriously consider seeing an ENT and if nothing else have your child monitored. Again there’s probably not a lot that can be done at this early age but it’s not a bad idea to make sure nothing is causing the loss. I know this is upsetting but to talk to a professional is the best way to reduce your anxiety and better understand your child’s situation. Plus we’re here to help even if you just need to talk. A word of caution. Most of us are not drs and can only give advice based in our personal experience. Also no two hearing losses are the same. So what I might have experienced may be completely different from what another has experienced. That sometimes leads to heated discussion. I wish you the best

So, then I take back saying it is likely permanent. If the audiologist specifically said that it may not be, then it may not be. (But if it is, he’ll also be fine.)

I know that waiting with an unknown can be frustrating. I would be interested to hear back about the outcome.

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@hass5744 Thanks for your reply. It is wonderful to know that it wont impact him seriously.
It is just the anxiety which is taking time to settle since we dont want out loved one to have any problems.
We will have discussion with ENT soon and have the questions cleared. Thanks Again!

@Neville, you dont know how good to see “it may not be”. :slight_smile: Though we are ready to accept whatever the outcome from ENT or audiologist, we very strongly believe that my little one will improve his hearing threshold and come back to normal. Meanwhile, we will use hearing aid if recommended by audiologist.
Thanks for your time and reply.