CI for Single-Sided Hearing Loss (SSHL / UHL)

Hi, Have single-sided hearing loss (SSHL); with severe hearing loss in my left ear. Only notice (not understand) sounds over 80db with a *hearing aid in my bad ear (*used as comfort blanket, rather than actual working solution). Top range CROS HAs have not worked for me (trialled both Phonak and Signia ones for 6 months each); since found only noticeable difference (for me) in very quiet environments , where can get by without them anyhow. Would like to hear experiences of any SSHL suffers who have CI; and how many months it took them to feel they were getting some benefit from them in their daily living, compared to hearing without them. Based on your experiences to date, would you promote SSHL sufferers to take the plunge for CI surgery? Thanks.

Lots of threads and posts about your questions.
Check out @Deaf_piper or @debbie_o threads. Both have a single CI and great results.

Generally speaking the shorter the time from SSHL to CI, the quicker you get to understand speech from the CI. For myself I had my (R ear) CI implanted about 2.5 years after my SSHL. I could understand speech on the day my CI was activated. My left ear I’m waiting until I lose some of my low frequencies before I go bilateral.

For me my CI surgery was the best thing I ever did. I wish now I hadn’t hesitated for 18 months. I’ve had my processor now for 27 months, my life has changed an awful lot. I can highly recommend you go for the CI assessment and see how you go with that. The assessment is a 2 hour long tough gig.

Getting a CI is not as easy as it sounds. A lot of time consuming hard work goes into rehab to get good results, well a lot of us worked hard. Some don’t do the rehab, but they still get good results, it just takes a bit longer.

Hi @Deaf_piper (@Raudrive) Thank you for the reply and your encouraging comments on your experience post-CI. Unfortunately I may have left it a little late. I have had SSHL for nearly 10 years now! I have read that it takes a very concerted and committed effort by the CI recipient to make traction on regaining hearing. I guess as long as there is light at the end of the tunnel, it makes sense to do it. In any case, wonderful to hear you had a great outcome. Although my case will not be the same as yours, it gives me hope & motivation. Thanks again for sharing.

Andy your hearing is considerably better than mine in the high frequencies. I don’t have much in the way of any hearing after 1000hz in both ears. I had a significant ski slope SSHL at the time. And @Raudrive is worse than you, Rick has done very well with his Bil CI’s. Rick tells me he didn’t do a lot of rehab other than listening. I would expect you to do very well also, as you still have a reasonable amount of high frequency hearing in that ear. If you are thinking along the lines of getting a CI arrange for an CI assessment. That is the only way you will know if you are a candidate. Good luck.


I can’t speak to a lot of your questions as my hearing loss was neither sudden or single sided (at least not for long). And I only has one CI for about 11 months before going bilateral. However I am one of those people whose rehab consisted primarily of discovering podcasts and listening to them (didn’t even try them before I was implanted)

I think (and I am not a doctor, though I have played one on TV) you have two things going for you, first you have been using your good ear so that the part of your brain dealing with audio has been doing work, and second using the hearing aid in the bad ear, even if it doesn’t help you understand has kept the audio nerve stimulated so it didn’t atrophy. I believe that combination would work to your benefit.

I am not saying it will be easy as your brain learns to integrate the two different signals but I don’t think that the time will be that detrimental in your case. And I agree with @Deaf_piper that if you are thinking about this your next step is to get an assessment, you aren’t committing to anything but you will find out if it is an option you should spend time looking at.


Well…I have single-sided hearing loss SSNL and a CI. I was implanted 1 year ago (Cochlear brand) and lost hearing ~2 1/2 years ago. My good ear is not as good as I would like, and they are now recommending a hearing aid for it. However, I am still unaided on my good side.
I am not sure if my experience is typical or not, but this is what I have noticed after 1 year:

try this again:

  1. tinnitus is gone while wearing the CI

  2. I can now hear from both sides and beginning to have conversations on the phone through the CI

  3. I still like using a Cross system (and voice enhancing) in noisy environments for my good ear -Still using Bose “hear better” device

  4. I hear two different sounds through each ear, and they are VERY different

  5. The CI adds the BIG benefit for when my good ear has problems - I no longer go completely deaf when my good ear gets plugged, etc - this is huge physiologically

  6. I still can not make out where sounds are coming from even with a CI

  7. Noisy environments are still a disaster - CI doesn’t work at all, and good ear gets flooded (this is when I use the Bose hear better headset and it helps tremendously, or I will just add an ear plug in the good ear, but has minimal effect.

  1. One more thing to add - With a CI, people can see that I have a device on my head and naturally speak more clearly at me. When I did not have anything, people had no idea that I was hearing impaired. Often they thought I was being rude. I no longer have these interactions, and people are much kinder towards me. This is a huge benefit to me. (before getting the CI I was thinking of wearing a button on my shirt - hearing impaired, please speak up)

Hi @andyf, please remember if you do move forward with a CI, that everyone’s experience is a very individual & unique experience to that person. No 2 peoples experience is the same.

My one important piece of advise is, whatever company you or your surgeon decide to go with, it’s important to pair your processor with the correct hearing aid that’s recommended by the company of the processor. This will enable you to get the best results from the bimodal system.
@DWol999 this advise also applies to you so you get the best results from your device.

Cochlear pair with GN Resound.
Advanced Bionics (AB) pair with certain Phonak aids.
Med el don’t pair with any particular company.

Good Luck to you.


“Based on your experiences to date, would you promote SSHL sufferers to take the plunge for CI surgery?”
It is interesting that you ask this question at all… For me it was an obvious decision, I am concerned that my other ear will go and leave me deaf. My thoughts were clear from the get-go… I need to get training my bad ear just in case…
More of my thoughts:
For the sake of discussion let’s say that you only have 2 teeth in your mouth. One of them goes bad, and the doctor recommends a prosthetic (implant). Would you say no? and just decide to chew on one side of your mouth? What if it was an eye? Why is this any different from an ear?

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My first CI was on my worst ear, right side, 3 months before the second Implant was done. During this 3 month period the CI sound was so much better than the aided ear I stopped wearing the hearing aid. Actually it was a couple weeks after activation. The CI is that much better than hearing aids.

The sound at activation for the first implant was pretty much jibberish, very robotic and digital. It took about 1 week for the lower frequencies to start sounding like words. Over the next 2 months the upper frequencies slowly started making since. It has continued to get better and better.

My second implant was much different. The day of activation I understood words and sentences. They were a little robotic but I understood pretty well, a guess would be in the 50-60% word understanding zone. Maybe a little better.

Have you read any of the CI members threads on CI? Lots of really good reading for someone interested in getting cochlear implants.

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@DWol999 it was the only choice available to me, or remain frustrated and isolated for the rest of my life. But I will say it’s not an easy decision to make, do I or don’t I… I went for my assessment then sat on the fence for 18 months asking myself do I or don’t I. I have absolutely no regrets now, it’s the best thing I ever did.

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To All,

Thank you for your follow-up comments on your experiences and advice. There were many factors (e.g. what do I do if my other ear gets impaired too etc.) that I did not even think about.

Checked with local ENT specialist (i.e Doc), as well as local Cochlear & Medel offices. Unfortunately, since I am currently living in Japan, cannot be considered for a CI, since I have normal hearing in my other ear; and no discussion yet changing this rule for years to come. Assume it was a similar rule a few years back, in other more “advanced” countries. So I cannot even ask about this option here yet. Very disappointing. Personally I cannot afford to relocate or take numerous visits to another country (e.g. US, Australia) that will allow CIs for SSHL/UHL; to get counseling, treatment, after-care & training .

Also visited local audiologist (not my current one, to get different opinion) to ask about advancements in CROS in last year or two. Whilst he explained about the advancements for hearing (better auto-sense, algorithms, background-noise control etc.), upon asking about anecdotal comments on customer satisfaction, he eventually admitted that most clients with similar impairment who bought them, eventually did not choose to use them so much. His conclusion was, take care of your good ear , which is exactly the one & only piece of advice the ENT gave me 10 years ago when I suffered the sudden sensorineural hearing loss! Not wrong advice, however I guess I will just have to “wait” for better advice and options in Japan!

Nonetheless, I think based on everyone’s comments and contributions to my burning CI questions, will be great source of understanding & hope for sufferers of UHL/SSHL who DO have the option for a CI in their country. I have learnt a lot, and have more hope. Thank you all for this! Highly appreciated.