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Living With a Hearing Disability: Single-Sided Deafness (SSD)

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For as long as I remember I have been completely deaf in my right ear. This is my story of living with this condition.

Hearing disabilities

Hearing disabilities

Single-Sided Deafness

Single-sided deafness is more common than people think. As an invisible disability, it is often misunderstood or overlooked.

Single-sided deafness (or SSD, as I will refer to it from now on) comes in varying levels, from partial to complete hearing loss in one ear. This article is about my personal experience. I will share my tips and advice to help others who are living with the same condition.

Being Deaf in One Ear

For as long as I remember, I have been completely deaf in my right ear.

The first time I realized my hearing was different from that of other kids was at a friend's birthday party. We were playing "Chinese Whispers," and I had to pass on a message that had been whispered into my completely deaf ear. The girl sitting next to me wasn't allowed to repeat what she'd said, and I didn't hear her at all. I had to make something up. The end result was hilarious, although at the time, I felt more embarrassed and isolated by the experience.

I have two older sisters, and one of them has the same problem. My sister's SSD was not diagnosed until a hospital trip after she fell off a climbing frame at school. It was assumed that this was when she lost half her hearing—and my parents thought I was copying her when I said I was deaf in my right ear, too! My SSD was not confirmed until I was five years old. This leads us to believe the condition is hereditary, although the cause of our hearing loss has never been properly diagnosed.

It has, however, been closely monitored throughout our childhood. I lost count of the times I had to be called out of class at school for hearing tests just to be told that, yes, I was still deaf in one ear! Oh, really? I hadn't noticed!

I once asked my mother why my sister and I had to keep having these tests. They often involved having incredibly loud, windy sounds played in my good ear while attempting to hear beeps in my deaf one. Sometimes the windy sounds were so loud they gave me double vision! (I could often feel the vibrations of the beeps, so I was able to guess when there were sounds, which made the test quite useless.)

My mother explained that the purpose of the tests was to make sure my hearing didn't get worse (quite ironic considering the volume!). I then lived in fear of losing hearing in my good ear, too. I even believed I would be deaf by the time I grew up! Now, aged 30 and still with perfect hearing in my left ear, I can rest assured that this will not happen. But as a child, it was confusing and scary.

While I'm sure the tests were intended to be helpful, they just made me feel like something was wrong with me and made me fear for my hearing. These are all reasons I believe that there should be more comprehensive information available and a clear diagnosis of the type of hearing loss involved. This will also, in turn, help parents to know how to deal with a child with SSD.

If Your Child Has SSD

Growing up with single-sided deafness can be tough. Given time, we can learn to adapt and thrive, becoming successful adults with little to no hindrance in our daily lives. Here are things I wish my parents had known while I was growing up:

  • Do not make your child feel disabled. one of the biggest factors when it comes to dealing with SSD, or many disabilities, is that much of what gets you through life is how you view yourself and what you are capable of. We all have the power to achieve great things; being constantly told you cannot do this or that, or cannot function normally because of your hearing, will only hold you back. Your child will believe they are disadvantaged and may lack confidence in their abilities as a result. Yes, SSD has its disadvantages. But I believe it has its advantages too. Being deaf in one ear means the glass is half full- not half empty.
  • Do not assume your child can/cannot do things. SSD varies in severity, and as hearing occurs in the brain and not the ears, the condition may be processed differently depending on the individual. I, for example, have incredibly acute hearing in my left ear, which I believe compensates. I have heard that SSD can affect learning, speech, maths, reading and writing. As far as I am concerned, this is a myth- I have been fully proficient, in fact above average in all of these things. On the other hand, not hearing well in class has its disadvantages, and it all depends on the method of teaching and the level of background noise in the classroom.
  • Encourage your child to be open and explain to others about their condition. SSD is not something your child should be ashamed of. Unfortunately, special treatment at school and teasing can cause them to feel otherwise, but they need to learn from early on that any issues people have are not their fault- it is often a lack of understanding. Being open and telling friends and teachers about being deaf in one ear will help, but it should be something your child chooses to do when they are ready.
  • Do not make an issue out of it. Sometimes my mother would remind me of being deaf in one ear when I wasn't even thinking about it. She would often overcompensate or talk directly into my ear when I could have heard her perfectly fine otherwise. If your child feels their hearing is not an issue, don't make it one. Usually, people with SSD can get by just fine without people having to shout or talk directly into their ear. Do not fuss over a child with SSD or insist they get a hearing aid or corrective surgery. If your child is unhappy and wants to look into hearing aids/surgical help, do so. But be aware not all SSD can be corrected.

How SSD Impacts Your Life

I often forget I have what is considered to be a disability. It is only certain situations that remind me of it. In fact, I was blissfully unaware of what I was missing out on until quite recently, a few years ago, after reading several articles on the condition about certain abilities people with SSD are lacking:

  • Hearing in stereo: People with complete SSD are monoaural. They cannot hear in stereo; there is only one channel of sound.
  • Picking out and understanding a voice in a noisy environment: I had no idea that other people could home in on a voice in a noisy crowd and hear it clearly! When I listen to a conversation, and there is background noise (especially other voices), the sounds all blur into one flat mono channel and are almost incomprehensible. People with normal hearing can selectively hear a single voice against background sounds and focus on it- which seems like magical eavesdropping to me!
  • Locating sound direction: One of the most awkward effects of SSD is the lack of ability to locate the direction of sound. Being called by friends in a crowd or from across the street is an example of how embarrassing SSD can be. I used to spin around looking wildly in all directions trying to guess who was calling me and where the hell they were. I now tell everyone I know not to do this because it is useless unless they have a neon sign above their heads to help me locate them in a crowd! However, they often forget and still call me across a busy street, which forces me to stand and wait until they become more visible.
  • Locating sound distance: Nor did I know people with normal hearing could locate the distance of sounds; don't they just get louder or quieter?
  • Social stigma: There is a social stigma surrounding deafness of any kind in the hearing world, and kids and adults alike often tease and joke about being deaf if you ask them to repeat something more than once. Yet, SSD is worlds apart from being truly deaf- you still have the gift of hearing, and you cannot relate to the deaf world. I cannot understand sign language, and as I can hear perfectly well so long as there is no excessive background noise, I do not feel the need to learn. I am hopeless at lip reading. People with SSD don't really fit into either world.
  • Lack of understanding: Many people do not understand SSD and treat those with it as though they are stupid. One such person was an old geography teacher I had. One day he asked me to fetch an Indian boy from another class to see him. Now there were two boys with similar names; one was called Jatinder and one was called Jeetender. I went and got the wrong boy didn't I? He mocked me in front of everyone when I got back and called me a 'handicap to the class'. This is a perfect example of how ignorant and insensitive teachers can be when dealing with SSD.

As far as I am concerned, I have never felt that my SSD was disabling- despite that spiteful geography teacher- yes it can lead to awkward situations at times, but I am just grateful that I can hear. I can listen to music, I can hear my own and others voices, and sounds of all kinds. My hearing in my left ear is better than some peoples hearing in both! I can hear high pitched frequencies that many others cannot. I have some musical skills and can play by ear, although musical ability and tone deafness have nothing to do with hearing ability (much as artistic ability and spacial awareness have nothing to do with sight). I may not be able to hear in stereo, locate the direction and distance of sound, or fully understand a conversation among other conversations, but the rest of the time I can hear well and I am grateful for it.

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A mono splitter I use for my headphones

A mono splitter I use for my headphones

How to Deal With a Hearing Disability

One of the key things I have found to help cope with SSD is humour, and the ability to laugh and not take my mistakes too seriously. Sometimes my brain interprets things people say as the most ridiculous things- which says quite a bit about my imagination! Comic relief has helped to get through awkward situations while growing up. I notice people don't hold back as much when it comes to making fun of this kind of disability either- someone in a wheelchair might not be the butt end of quite so many jokes (although I am sure such a disability is far worse in many ways).

Another important lesson I have learned is to be open and tell people as soon as possible about being deaf in one ear. I don't like to introduce myself in this way—because I don't like to be identified as '"that half-deaf girl" plus, I like to give people time to regard me as 'normal' before thinking they have to shout or talk to me slowly like a halfwit. But as soon as I feel comfortable, I will explain. Particularly if someone asks why I keep swapping sides if they walk on my right-hand side. The worst thing is for unsuspecting people to be rude or angry because they don't realize I have a hearing problem and think I am just ignoring them, blanking them, or not paying attention. Explaining the issue resolves this (now it's up to them to remember!).

Most important of all: be grateful for what you do have. It's easy to feel miserable and full of self-pity if you suffer from SSD, especially if you were not born with the condition like me and have experienced what you are now missing out on. But do not take for granted that you can still hear. Try to count your blessings and see the good side (no pun intended) of being deaf in one ear.

Annoying Things for People With the Condition

  • Stereo headphones: These are the bane of anyone with single-sided deafness. Fortunately, mono splitters can be purchased that can be used to modify stereo headphones and blend all the sounds into one channel. There is nothing worse than listening to your favourite song, only to have the guitar solo omitted because it's playing on the wrong side of your head!
  • Surround sound: I think I feel a bit of resentment here because everyone says what an amazing effect this has. To me, it just sounds like everything getting louder and quieter.
  • Noisy parties: Don't get me wrong, I love parties. What I don't love is the mash of sound blurring into one messy ball of incomprehensible noise. Meeting new people in this kind of environment can be very awkward, and explaining you cant hear them unless they sit on your 'good side' and (depending on the volume of the background noise) talk into your ear- which is often too intimate when first meeting people- can be perplexing.
  • Creepy sounds at night: Is that a burglar breaking in? Or is it a neighbour? Or even just the plumbing? Who knows? There is nothing more frustrating and unnerving than unidentified sounds coming from who knows where when you are alone at night (or even when you are not alone and your husband is sleeping and doesn't hear them!).
  • Busy junctions on roads: car sounds everywhere. Too many directions to try to keep track of at once. Crossing the road here is suicide!
  • English cars: I am English, but I live in Spain. One of the great things for me personally, when it comes to living in a country where people drive on the right rather than the left, is being able to hear the driver well (I don't drive myself, and the driving seat is on the left-hand side, my 'good' side!). In English cars, the engine noise often drowns out any conversation. If I ever took driving lessons though, it would have to be in an English car, so I could hear the instructor well!
  • Losing my mobile phone: Getting someone to call it is no good. I usually call it myself and assign my husband to the task of locating the sound.
  • People assuming you are being rude/ignoring them: I've been in situations where I am concentrating on something, and there is background noise which I have learnt to ignore (If I reacted to every unidentified sound, I'd be jumping all the time). Often this background noise is someone attempting to talk to me on my deaf side. I don't realise. They get mad.
  • People shouting/talking very slowly like you're dumb: Come on. This is so patronizing. Just stand on my correct side for goodness sake.
  • Reacting to loud noises: If there is a bang, everyone will jump and look in the direction of the sound to see what it is. I will often jump towards the sound and look in the opposite direction. It's better to train yourself not to react at all to avoid the ridicule.
  • Films with sound effects and music louder than the voices: No, just... no. This forces me to use subtitles.
  • Not being able to swap ears while on the phone: Okay, this is a bit petty, but sometimes my ear gets hot and tired! I often envy other people being able to swap during long phone conversations!

Cool Things for People With SSD

  • Being able to sleep in noisy environments: Laying with your good ear on the pillow is enough to muffle out troublesome sounds, and although you can still hear the alarm clock, you can use SSD as a good excuse if you want to sleep in!
  • Selective Hearing, literally: One of the ways my brain compensates for constant unidentified sounds is by filtering them out. Anything that doesn't sound like it should be close by (even if it actually is) or important, generally gets ignored- another good excuse for not listening to what you don't want to hear.
  • Being able to focus better without distraction: This works for me, at least! It's so much easier to get lost into your own internal reality without so many external distractions. But then I've never had 'normal' hearing to compare..
  • Strategic placement for things you don't want to hear: If one of your friends munches popcorn too loud at the cinema, stick 'em on your deaf side! Sitting near the speakers in a pub? To the deaf side!
  • It saves on ear plugs: You only need to use one at concerts and gigs and other situations where earplugs are needed. Although this does get strange looks, admittedly. Also, you can save your hearing by turning your deaf side towards the loud music!
  • It forces you to use your brain more: More brain usage = more intelligence! I'm not sure if this can be proven, per se, but I am pretty sure that my hearing issues have forced me to listen harder, think harder and try to keep more on-the-ball than others. I have overridden automatic base reactions such as jumping at noises, which takes a lot of discipline.
  • Using an awesome Steampunk style ear trumpet: Ok, this one is pushing it a bit, but how cool would that be?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2011 Vanadis


Louise Elcross on July 05, 2020:

I suffer from this and have done all my life. In the area I was born in the early sixties, I was labelled as 'Backward child' because of my deafness. Back then there was no understanding for a poor child that could not hear in my family. I got smacked and seriously punished by my parents for being stupid. Now I am sort of grateful this is the way I am because I dont have to hear what I dont want to hear by just putting my hand over my good ear. There are positives in everything for me. Thank you for writing this I really enjoyed reading.

vanesa on February 19, 2020:

my name is vanesa and I bearly have this condition alittle longer than 5 months. it is very hard to live with it finding this article made me realize I wasent the only one. although a lot of this comments in here say some were born with this, I wasent im 28 years old and all my life I was able to hear with both until 5 months ago when I went to sleep with a real bad headache and woke up like this. going to the doc was just hopeless nobody had the answers all refer me to the ENT.. everything was so suddent. I had to manage to continue my life with this trying to live normal. its all new to my brain to let all sounds go to just one ear.. im still cooping with this.. stressfull days give me headache but its good to know theres people out there with the same condition.. thank you for this article...

Kathy on May 03, 2019:

Vanadis, thank you for sharing your story. Am also suffering from hearing loss since birth, right ear to be exact. Just learned the cause of my hearing loss recently through the MRI. The doctor recommended BAHA. It would cost around Php1M (USD 20,000) for this procedure. Any success stories with BAHA?

Tim Peters on February 22, 2019:

I have been deaf in my right ear from birth but like Vanadis it was not 'discovered' until i was 10.

I had moved school and my new teacher noticed that when my fellow pupils were busy writing when she was speaking I was always lifting up my head and turning it towards her. She called in the school hearing guy who confirmed i was completely deaf and hearing aids would be useless as it was in the inner ear.

Although Vanadis education wasn't effected mine was as i started secondary education doing remedial maths & english (essentially the class thickie). It took me a long time to catch up with my peers and i would urge any parent to act quickly if they have any doubts about their child's hearing.

SSD has stopped me from doing a lot of jobs (i could not join the police or the RAF which was my dream when younger) and now with all the new technology i would not be able to work in a number of areas such as radio, tv and even shops (recently in Lidl's the guys working on the checkout all had ear pieces in).

It appears in the UK that it is not considered a disability but i always have to mention this in job applications.

I totally agreed with the noisy situations as i takes some much effort to join in with conversations at parties, bars etc that after an hour or so i have to leave and going to concerts are even worse.

I have bookmarked this page as it is so good at explaining SSD.

Thanks for posting it.

Mark Fairhead on February 13, 2019:

This is so well written - mirrors my own experiences and feelings having been SSD from birth.

Megan on February 06, 2019:

I have this but my right ear is closed. It’s there but looks like it didn’t quite finish growing lol. But I agree with everything in this article. Humor is the only way I make it through the days sometimes.

Jennifer C Dewar on December 12, 2018:

Thank you so much for this article. Although I lost hearing in one ear 9 years ago, all that you write resonates so accurately with me. I am a candidate for a single Cochlear Implant but am on the fence since at home and many situations I hear really well with just one hearing ear.

It is the social situations, as you point out, that are a real challenge.

Mark on November 14, 2018:

Seek help if you have one your deafness it has cost me to loving relationships it is so difficult on my partner to repeat assessed etc. constantly when it is my problem or so they have told me maybe this seems a little cold but seek care it can save your relationships

Waheeda on September 05, 2018:

Pls anyone answer replies from anyone..

Waheeda on September 02, 2018:

Hi I'm waheeda from Chennai, this is really awesome article same like you vanadis my story also related with...I have lost my left ear wen I was 17 now I'm 28... suddenly I had hear loss I diagnosed then doc told me sum nerves cut in my ear after tat I don't like to go for any treatment,.. totally messed up really very bad experience with SSD...while I get cold my nose were block tis is so bad to overcome with cold infection....I wil right ear block tooo wen I get cold. Now I have fear about losing my good ear...daily while praying I'm asking God y tis is for me ???? But hereafter I won't bcuz like me there are so many people living wit SSD...mine love marriage my husband very caring I got married in 2015 still now I don't have baby I'm confusing tis with my SSD problem... please anyone help me or answer me I will loss my good ear also ???

Ronda Danielle Johnson on August 31, 2018:

Vanadis, thank you for your sharing. I lost hearing in my right ear 2-26-14. I was 49 years young. :) Its been a very challenging thing for me...especially at work. Sometimes not hearing what someone is nice to know i am not alone and, others can relate.

I just very recently got fitted for a Cross Over hearing aid. wow it made me cry, not that i can hear over there, but that i can hear whats over to the right. No hollow sound and, yes, i can swap my phone to the right side. But, I gotta say, they kind of hurt a bit and, i think i feel a bit the same. The sound in my good ear is a little strange now. I will be honest, I am not sure i will keep them. I will keep them a while just not sure. They are also, very exspensive. Costco has them, but not the Cross Over. anyhow, thanks again for the article. I too think, i need to learn the languaage of signing.

Best, Ronda Danielle Johnson


Olivia on July 20, 2018:

I've been deaf in my left ear since I was born. It actually hepled me a as a babe since it was the first sign to the doctors that something else could be wrong which was true. While I have always known there are other people out there who are deaf on one side this is the first time I actually read an article about it I could relate to. Like the some others are saying, I didn't even realize that it was a disability or issue until I was about 6 or 7 and the other children pointed it out and acted differently after finding out. While I personally never thought I was disabled as my other ear had quite good hearing as I had trained myself to pick up on certain words but anytime people find out they are at first extremely surprised and then treat me awkwardly for a bit. Even my doctor forgets about my bad ear sometimes. I even was one of the better singers in the choir I was in as I could pick up the small differences in the notes and could tell if we were singing slightly off key. Sorry I'm rambling. What I really mean to say is I am so happy to have found this article and to know I am not the only one to have this and that this article is proof of that.

ree david on July 02, 2018:

I found this article 2 years ago, right after my 3 year old daughter was dx'ed with a UHL in her left ear. I have read this article countless times and sent it to every teacher, therapist and family member. You give me so much hope and really help me understand her!!

For those of you that were saying you are having a hard time hearing in noisy situations- I got her the Roger Focus from Phonak- she wears an open dome hearing aid in her "good" ear. She mostly uses it in school. It may be a good idea to look into it. We are very happy with it.

Best of luck to all and again thank you for sharing your experiences with us!!

Bill on June 02, 2018:

I have SSD as a result of Glomus Jugulare Tumor in my right ear. Have SSD for 30 years.

Thank you for the article . It is so accurate about the difficulties of SSD. I'm going to send it to my friends and boss at work in order to help them understand the challenges of SSD. At work I find it difficult to keep track of the general banter and everyday conversations.

SSD is very socially isolating

Julie on May 14, 2018:

I've been deaf in my left ear since around age 7, so don't remember what it was ever like to hear in stereo. This article is bang on and the paragraph about reacting to loud noises made me laugh out loud. Even after over 30 years with SSD I still do this, usually in large meetings when someone will suddenly speak loudly to get peoples attention and I'm the only one looking the wrong way!!

ruth leary on May 11, 2018:

A bit different, when I was 49 became gradually deaf in left ear. Wrongly diagnosed as middle ear infection etc. Turned out after 2 years challenging, I had an MRI scan. Acoustic neuroma! The advice my

surgeon was that anyone SUDDENLY becoming deaf in one ear, should have a scan. If it had been picked up earlier, I would not have had such

invasive surgery

Lydia on February 12, 2018:

I have been almost completely deaf in my right ear since as long as I remember. Probably the earliest memory I have of really thinking about it as a kid was when I was on the phone. And one time when I was little I went into an ear appt where they do the beeps in either of your ears and my left ear went great but when they got to the right I stopped being able to hear them way earlier and the nurse looked so distraught and I had to tell her that I already knew I had very little hearing in that ear. A lot of these points are so true. I have never really considered myself disabled or that different, but I think that is largely attributed to the fact that my SSD is more mild and also I did not really experience much stigma. Probably because I have adapted well and am able to hide it. But all of my friends know and I have basically conditioned them to move to the side of me that has the good ear. Although sometimes they will get annoyed when I request to sit on a certain side so I can hear better. The phone thing is one of the things you mentioned that I really connected with, probably because it was one of the first indications of my deafness I can remember and also because I have always wanted to just be able to switch ears on a call. Alas, it's great hearing about this story and the other people who commented's stories. I have never really met or heard of people having this, except for one guy and when I learned about that I was super excited to learn that my condition was shared by others.

Breanna on November 06, 2017:

Thank you so much for sharing your story I’ve had SSD since I was born and I didn’t think it was very common. It makes me feel a lot less alone to see that what I’m going through is not just me and that other people know the struggle of always having to place yourself on your good side. This put such a smile on my face since I related with everything you said.

SC on October 16, 2017:

I always knew there were things I was missing being born deaf in my left ear. Now at 49 NAION took away all useful sight from my right eye. Being different molded me into somewhat of a loner. Now I don't know where I fit in.

Kira M on October 05, 2017:

After reading this, I have a genuine smile on my face. Born with ssd but just now finding out what my condition is called from this article at 22. I'm from a very small town. My school was ill prepared and I dealt with a lot of prejudice over my condition. Core teachers always put me in ap, though, so I would agree with it you there. Reading through so many comments, it's crazy to see how many people have related here. Not so alone.

Ashley on September 19, 2017:

Thank you so much for sharing I am 25 years old and last year I lost my hearing in my left ear due to Cholestoma. I have been struggling a lot with opening up and dealing with this. Being that I still have a few more surgeries ahead of me I am a little discouraged. Reading this article helped me realize that I am not in this alone and that there are several people in the world who struggle with SSD.

Krishna on September 12, 2017:

I am also having same problem.. Does anyone think why god gave us only one ear

DavidC on September 10, 2017:

SSD in left eat, diagnosed when I was 20 probably form birth (now 50) mild hearing loss in right. @Anamanri - know exactly what you mean. For teleconferencing try doing if from your own desk using a phone I work in an open plan office but find that a phone reduces interference, that's whats I do from mine when I can. When I'm in a meeting or I have to telephone conference in a communal room its harder but I'm lucky enough to be senior enough to tell people I'm half deaf and if I miss something I'll ask for it to be repeated and tough, get on with it. Remember a couple of things, one we're luckier than those that are totally deaf in both ears and two it doesn't stop us from being good at our jobs and sometimes better than others!

AnaManri on September 07, 2017:

I've been deaf on my left ear since I was 7. and with mild hearing loss on my right. I work as a scientist, now with the advance of technology meetings are all held by teleconference. has any of you ever encounter problems with this? specially since there are only open areas and everyone is talking on their phones, is getting so hard to cope and participate, my boss is treating me to fire me since I don't participate (the truth is that is so hard to the the conversation) and I stay behind. Do you have any tips or examples of how to make it better.

Jananne on September 05, 2017:

I've been deaf in my left ear since I was four (due to a mastoid operation). I agree with everything you say, especially the subtitles which I use virtually all the time.

My problem is made worse (if thats possible) by extreme tinitus in my good ear.

The thing that really gets me is people who have known me for years and my family, laughing when I don't hear something. I could literally scream sometimes! I'm 52 years old now, have had SSD for 48 years and yet people who should know better still make fun of me. When I'm having a "down in the dumps" time, it reduces me to tears.

lena bean on September 02, 2017:

And then my family would tell me that God made up for it with my perfect vision because everyone in my family wears glasses or has some sort of vision problem. lol

lena bean on September 02, 2017:

Oh I can't tell you how comforting it is to see someone with the same problems as me. I've had SSD in my left ear since birth and I've always had these problems. I relate to almost everything you said but you forgot that annoying experience when you first tell someone and they get on your deaf side and whisper something and ask "Can you hear that?" Well I obviously can't, I'm DEAF. And then they gradually get louder until you can hear them from your good ear. Hehe know what I mean?

Pete on September 01, 2017:

You nailed it! I've had hearing problems for over 10 years now and over the past 2 years the hearing in my right ear has become useless. I spent the past 2 years trying to convince my audiologist that I needed bicros hearing aids. She kept making adjustments to my right hearing aid that just introduced more noise and distortion. Finally a new hearing test convinced her that bicros may be more helpful. The good news is that bicross minimizes the head shadow effect but all the other issues you speak of are still there. I am a senior citizen so I am fortunate that it didn't happen earlier in my life like so many others but it still is as frustrating.

Amanda on August 30, 2017:

Alright I agree with alot of you stuff you wrote. I have been deaf in my left ear since I was four. I was so sick always had ear infections all the time. I remember always doing the hearing test. And I would always wish so badly I would be able to hear it. That I would remember what they would do with my right ear on the test that I would do it when they would test me on my left side. I always feel everything is loud. It to the point I always have my head slightly tilted left so i can hear all around me. Yes i agree with not being able to switch when being on phone. Ugh. Lol! When i was you younger I had a friend of mine who was dear and had hearing aids. So she and I would put one of hers in mine. I guess I wanted so badly to hear in that ear and thought I could get a hearing Aid. And it would make it all better. Nope didn't work. I been made fun of. People get mad cause I cant hear them if the are to the left of me.. I feel the pain that you have experienced. I do too!!!

Gg on August 28, 2017:

Awesome article and I completely agree with everything here! :)

I've been deaf in my left ear ever since I was born, never had any problems at all growing up!

I didn't realise the significant differences until I was well into my 20s when my friends started teasing me (lovingly) about me looking the wrong way when I hear traffic.

In fact many of my friends I met early in life had no idea I was half deaf because as a child, I never had a reason to tell them! I always had the habit of reading people's lips while they talked :) So I agree with your point that it definitely isn't a disability :)

And I do love the fact that I can sleep through anything if I put my good ear in the pillow

Van on August 24, 2017:

thanks you, now, i realized that i'm not the only person with hearing problem. i can hear well with my right ear. but it really sometime being not normal. but i accepted myself as i am....

Will Kramer on August 11, 2017:

My biggest upset with the condition is my inability to realize how loud I'm getting when speaking while under a lot of stress or in an upsetting situation. I have been admonished all my life for being too loud.

Some bloke on August 02, 2017:

Thanks for sharing this post.

The chinese whispers rang (painfully) true for me, worst experience was in highschool when we were doing it in German lessons, people started asking why I would point my left ear at the talker rather than the right that was next to them.

I have always struggled with telling people about it, not sure why but I am sure you all understand the feeling.

I am a quiet person by nature but I have always felt that my partial hearing has enhanced this, as you have mentioned conversations can be hard to follow. Personally I didn't participate in the conversations as I felt like an idiot asking people to repeat themselves or inventing what they said.

Nowadays I have learnt ways to cope, when I go to meetings with people I work with I am the helpful one to offer to drive (Scotland), that way I can hear every word.

In meetings, I position myself in a seat that will be able to cover the room with the good ear.

But on the plus side, my left ears hearing is way superior to those two ear weirdos :). When I was a wee pup and doing the hearing tests at school my good ear could pick up above normal sounds, it was also the one that would hear the sound that was going to the other ear first.

I have been deaf in my right ear since I was 2-3, it was the result of a weird complication when I had the mumps or measles (can't remember which it was tbh), my hearing level would be able to hear a jumbo jet taking off if I was 10m away from it, I don't plan on testing this!! Apparently it broke the three mini bones behind the ear drum,

Sorry for the massive ramble, just nice to read that I am not the only one.

As a note to anyone that hasn't had this all their days...

Its not the end of the world,

If you are in a relationship, tell them, if they are a decent person they will understand, also explains that your not being rude when you ignore them in some locations, you simply didn't hear it.

If you work or are in education tell a teacher, lecturer, boss etc, they arent' going to sack you or isolate you. They also wont tell everyone but it will make life easier for you.

Don't feel you need to tell everyone if you don't want to, but do tell those people who need to know or that you are comfy with.

Find what works for you, for me it is picking out where I sit, becomes second nature after a while.

Don't hide away because of it.

I am 36 and get buy with this, can't imagine what it is like for the poeple posting that have newly had this but don't do anything stupid, take your time to re-adjust to the world. If it is too stressful speak to people, I strongly advise councilling, I have seen one for a different reason and it was the best thing I ever did.

Mel on July 27, 2017:

I had brain surgery for my inner ear and I lost total hearing to my left ear. I'm going crazy lately, I hate the world for this, I'm loosing my mind, the sound is so loud that I want to jump of the balcony and end it. I don't know what to do, some people say it's a blood cloth, some others have different opionins I just want my hearing me, before I die!

Donna Lambert on July 02, 2017:

I was wondering if anyone has this problem....I have SSD since I was two and I have trouble learning certain things if I have to listen and take notes. It seems like my mind goes into listen only mode with my good ear or concentrating on writing.note taking and then I miss what was being said in when I am being trained for a new position at work. I continually ask for instructions in writing so I can be able to listen and not have to take notes, but in my current position and being told they don't have the instructions in writing. It is now affecting my performance because I can only listen or write, but not both?

sajan rokaya on June 12, 2017: 25 yrs old studying veterinary medicine in nepal ( mount everest) first i noticed that deafness @ age of 15 since then i have come in bachlor bt people in outside cant imagine the way i have travelled till now they are just interested on making fool to someone they cant imagine . sudeenly today i read your beautiful word that make me feel like i hav got really a good mate i just have adopted a hearing aid bt it is not peaceful then ur way of giving inspiration to peple like me

im so grateful to u and i dont know how to express my pleasure to u thank u soo mch from deep of hrt n if u dont mind i want to see your photo feeling that how sweet u will be one second so if u dnt mind i wanna send u a friend request

with due respect

sajan rokaya


Bernarr Hamm on May 29, 2017:

Hell, between 3rd and 4th grade I had surgery on my left ear. They removed my eardrum, cut out auditory canal, and removed most of the nerves. A thin membrane separates my inner ear from my brain. Can I get a disability benefit from this?

Nicole on May 23, 2017:


Im currently writing my college essay and I am writing about my hearing. I hope that the colleges understand the struggle about being able to only hear out of one ear. :)

Mike on May 22, 2017:

Hey, I am in the same situation. I was first diagnosed with this when I was 22 due to a sickness called Mumps. It happened so quick, In a matter of 3 days I lost my right ear totally. hearing aids don't work cos its profound and the only thing that will work is an implant through operation and I said no, I don't want that. Now I am 30 years old. I had tough times studying and working but I never gave up and never considered myself a person with disability. I however have some good news to share to this group. please everyone follow Prophet T.B Joshua on www. and pray with him. Just lay your hand on the TV screen, or your phone, tablet, any medium you are using to watch him. If you can too, fly to Nigeria, the church is called Synagogue church of all Nations. I have been praying with him and expecting my healing.

You won't believe all kind of sicknesses that got healed even without going there. Just your faith or believe is enough to make you get your healing praying with him from your home, or own convenience through the internet. What Science can't solve, God can. I am not going to give up . I will regain my hearing again. Good luck to everyone too.

Dino on May 14, 2017:

Wow man, you are right on spot with everything you said in this article. Thank you very much. I even teared up when I was reading through this article. My right ear is completely dead. I was born like that.

Joy on May 14, 2017:

Wow! I can relate so much to this article except no one else in my family has SSD. I read somewhere that it affects people who are preemies like myself. I also agree its not impossible to do things like normal hearing but its definitely not easy. It could be worse though. Thank you for writing this.

Austin T. Murphy on May 11, 2017:

I became deaf in one ear about 9 months ago, most people that voted also are. I am a waiter and in college. In Neither environment have I encountered anyone with the same problem. (Or at least I don't know). Anyways it was really cool "hearing" lol, everything you had to say. So I'm wondering if there is like a group or something that we can chat on?

Aksal on April 20, 2017:

This just happened to me and I'm scared and terrified. I feel like I'll lose my gf of only 3 months, my personality which used to be loud and gregarious. Please help me

Samundra Thapa on April 04, 2017:


SSD is consider as handicap or disability. Is it possible to get any financial support from government if SSD people quit their job or chance to get scholarship during the time of study?thanks

Indian Guy not Jitender or Jatinder on March 30, 2017:

Your article was spot on! I discovered I was deaf in my left year when I was about 8-9 years old when I couldn't hear the dial-tone from the receiver on the landline.

I did t tell my parents until I was about 16 and today my parents and my wife are the only one that knows.

I seems to manage in most situations. Thank you for the wonderful post. By the way I was living in Sevilla until last year!

Thank You on March 20, 2017:

Thank you for this. It really help in a serious decision for my 8 year old daughter

Sherri Adams on March 07, 2017:

Just came across this and you were so dead on with everything. Can't wait for my husband to get home, so he can read this. Thanks.

Ruth on February 26, 2017:

i had a baby boy, and he has problem with his left ear.he cant hear anything, but the right is ok. the things was, he has an IQ above average. at the age of 18 months he can easily read letters, numbers, identify the colors and shapes. Thank you. This article can really help me.

Leigh on February 26, 2017:

I also have complete SSD in my right ear, it is something I've had since I was approx. 2yrs old (pos caused by whooping cough) As I don't know anyone else with this condition it has really helped me to use this article to explain to others.

I have also found it impossible to register locally as someone with SSD, even though I have been told there are a number of jobs I would not be allowed to do due to health and safety risks.

Its frustrating to be considered as having a disability on the one hand and then be told it doesn't count on the other.

I've also found this to be the same with my dyslexia & Dyscalculia since being diagnosed.

Has anyone else experienced this?

Thanks again for the great article.

carly on February 23, 2017:

Hello Vanadis. Wow! You have just described my exact situation in this post! I am also living in Spain :P

I recently experienced sudden hearing loss which has left me deaf in my left ear, along with having other issues such as tinnitus, pressure in my ear, difficulty hearing in background noise, sound sensitivity...

You have explained it all really well, and hopefully this will help people to understand our difficulties. Great post :) Take care!

Jennie P on January 23, 2017:

Thanks :) still wrapping my head around my new deafness.

Awkward silent loner on January 02, 2017:

Man... im so glad to come across your article since i have exact same condition... to be honest ive never knew what SSD meant until ive google search it.. see my surprise lol. I've always considered myself as a "something wrong" girl because i was born this way... but later im became proud of myself to be me rather as a person whos been avoided because im strange... well.. im glad that i have found that is normal to be this way. :) thanks for explaning what SSD really meant!

Clare Mclaughlin on December 28, 2016:

Hi Vanadis, thank you so much for writing this piece, I felt like I could have written it your experiences of SSD are identical to my own (thankfully not the ignorant Geography teacher, that sounded awful) I was wondering had you ever been told that corrective surgery would help? It was suggested to me but I don't want to get it as apart from surgery having risks more than anything the thought of that much change in my perception of the world put me off. There are times I feel it as a disadvantage, but mostly I feel it's part of what makes me me. So I was wondering if you could relate?

Another downside I've become very aware of in recent years as I work in media and stage management, and work at a lot of gigs and festivals, that it's not even that I can't hear what's going on to my right but it feels like a void is there, I can't even sense when someone is standing right next to me on my right unless they are within my visual perception, have you experienced this?

One other problem I discovered a few years ago was that there are only a few spots in the cinema I can sit and be able to hear everything well. I discovered it when I went to see a movie and sat near the front on the left of the screen, I couldn't make out what the characters were saying, everything was muffled. It was a new cinema and I thought it was their fault at first. Then I went to see the same film in the same screen but star in a more central seat, middle back and slightly to the right. The sound was magically better, I could hear everything clearly and now I have to make sure I get a seat in this position at the cinema otherwise I can't hear it well. Again, have you experienced this?

Hope you don't mind all the questions, I often meet people with partial deafness in one ear but rarely the same as myself, so it's nice to chat and 'hear' from someone who's the same as myself :)

Jess on November 22, 2016:

I also have ssd on my right side and I feel like if I would have writen an article on living with ssd, it would have been almost identical to this! It's So accurate! I have only just started to research as I have never thought too much about it as having it from birth, I have never known anything else, so it is comforting to read this as it brings to light that most of the anxiety I suffer from has lot to do with my inability to hear on one side!

Daniel on November 12, 2016:

Hey there. I am born with ssd and I loved your article. I am now 30 and have never had any really serious issues with my hearing issue and therefore never researched the topic before. This is the first time I hear that the condition has a name. So your story is honestly one of the first I ever heard from others and it was SO refreshing to hear others with the same issues and advantages. Again thanks alot for your article. It made me really happy. :-)

Ian on November 01, 2016:

I have SSD since birth- I grew up in South Africa and attended school in SA during the 80's...

My parents sent me to all kinds of specialists and such but nothing could be done about it and since I had normal hearing in my right ear- I wasnt considered disabled or anything relating to that.

I was left alone to struggle with it and my parents thought I was putting it on as a kid..... I really struggled socially and in my education in school as they did not understand my issues or accommodate them- which resulted in me not getting a decent education ( sort of gave up due to not been able to understand most of what was going on in classes).

I am now in my mid 40's unemployed, poor education with no social life or any friends as I now live in the UK so the accents make it even tougher to understand people in any social/busy environment- As one person put it "Self-enforced social exclusion" puts it best.

I have been put in this jobcentre place in a classroom environment now with threats of sanctions to my money etc etc - all because they have a very limited understanding of what is wrong with me.

I cannot understand over 70% of what's said in the class by anyone and its embarrassing as hell to keep asking ppl to repeat themselves.

At this stage in my life with the way things are it has made me feel isolated, unwanted and suicidal at he prospects that the rest of my life has.....with the last 45 years been what they are with little to no help or understanding I have becoem disilluisioned with people and life as a whole.

I gave up hope...but there is light at the end of ht tunnel for a lot of children and people that get this SSD now....

A lot more information is available now and i only wish I had of looked into this many years ago as.

HC on October 28, 2016:

thank you so much for this article it made me feel better to know that there are other

people out there who understand what is going on thanks a million

Kishore G on October 23, 2016:

Great post.

I suffered sudden neural hearing loss in one ear two years ago. Since then I have experienced all the issues that you mention. Though tinnitus is another issue that bothers me. Sometimes tinnitus gets loud enough to overshadow other issues due to SSD.

Livewithit on October 10, 2016:

Hey, Tom,

Sorry your friends are giving you a hard time! Yeah, it sucks, but it gets better. It helps if you use a little humor instead of getting mad at your 'friends.' Find a couple of people who could be understanding, they would be worth so much more than the bucket of people who are being mean to you!

Please know that it does get better the older you get! See the good in your wonderful life!

Tom on October 09, 2016:

I have permanent SSD and I get made fun of it at least 5-10 times a day and I am not over exaggerating. It pisses me off so much because these people are my friends and evrytime I say "What?" I get made fun of for itfdor the next 5 minutes straight. This is a condition that my 'friends' have bullied me over and make me wish constantly that this is something that I was born without. The worst part about my friends bullying me about it is the fact that I constantly feel alone. I doubt this will get read by anyone, but if you did take the time to read this and you have this happening to you also then know that you aren't alone.

Feria on October 08, 2016:

I have SSD and English is my second language and guess what...I live in USA now...with this issue, my life is more challenging , especially at work!

Donna on September 26, 2016:

I am 62. When I was 61, leaving a meeting at work, I suddenly felt dizzy and couldn't hear. My ear was ringing and clicking so bad that I couldn't stand it.Thought I was having a stroke! I went to an ear doctor and had an MRI. He said it was neurological. I tried steroids and it has come back slightly, but still VERY muffled and if the "good" ear is covered….forget it.

I too can't tell where sound is coming from. I spin around saying "Where are you" to everyone. My kids and husband are supportive. It's so frustrating!.

I got my nails done the other day and the guy had a mask on and tried to speak. I felt like an idiot. I realized then how much I depend on lip reading. I also tell my everyone to stay on my left side so I can hear them.

When my husband snores, I just lay on the good ear lol… Definitely has it's perks. Thanks for the humor and the candidness. It really helped.

Thank you for this article!

Millie on September 19, 2016:

Hi! I also have SSD and struggle with it. I always find it hard in school to concentrate in loud classrooms and loose my temper a lot. I have also found it hard to find articles about people who have SSD and are born with it. Like you I was also born deaf in one ear. One thing you didn't mention was tinnitus and how people with SSD struggle with it.

ALex on September 16, 2016:

Is it me, or do you have magical mind reading abilities.... Wait... you didn't mention the constant flow of "WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR EAR!", the most annoying question for someone with single sided grade 3 microtia. But I still think you have mind reading skills.

Brooke on September 14, 2016:

I couldn't help but laugh when you were talking about hearing someone call you and you looking all around. My dad has done this many times with the car horn in a parking lot and I just stand there looking around like,'this isn't helping' I have no idea how long I've had SSD but I remember noticing it when I was 17. I thought my head phones were broke LOL. But I have no idea when or how it happened. I had it tested and my ear drum is 100% deaf but my nerves are good. I'm 25 now and I'm going to see a doctor tomorrow for it. I'm not sure if it can be fixed but I'm almost scared to have it fixed. What if I don't like having both ears, what if it's too much noise, ya know? Cause I can't sleep on my right side, it's too much noise. I guess I'll find out tomorrow. But I can totally relate to everything you put in this article.

Dr Jacqueline Payne on September 09, 2016:

Thank you Vanadis for your excellent article, but thank you also to everyone who has contributed their experiences since this article was first posted. I have just read through all of them.

I do not have SSD but I write for and have been updating the "Hearing Problems" leaflet. There is very little about SSD out there and we had received feedback asking for the leaflet to include strategies to help someone who has SSD. I have tried to summarise a lot of what I have read here to include in the leaflet. Unfortunately there is no way that I can credit you all on the site for your contribution but wanted to thank you and hope that knowing that your comments here will get a wider audience will be appreciated.

Best wishes and I hope you all enjoy the benefits of SSD, though perhaps not the Steampunk trumpet!


PS The updated "Hearing Problems" leaflet should go on the site in the next week or two

Kiba on September 04, 2016:

I suddenly got SSD for no reason that the docs know of, "prob a virus". It's been a surprising adjustment, harder than I thought. Great article. Being a electronic engineer and finding headphones a pain, just got a sports head buds set, ripped out the left bud and added my own plug to make it mono, works great! No extra bit sticking out of phone.

I recommend it.

AM on August 30, 2016:

Hi! I just found out I have SSD today. I am 30 yrs old. Your article made me smile and gave me hope.

zion kairua on August 30, 2016:

bro im not evening kidding you just wrote the story of my life I thought I was the only one but yeahh thanks for the advice

Catherine W on August 24, 2016:

Thank you for writing such a brilliant article. You have totally captured my experiences of SSD. I was diagnosed with SSD when I was 8 years old, but probably had it since I was born or when I had measles when I was 4 years old (nobody is certain because I had 'glue ear'!). Having lived with the condition for 40+ years I have just been told I have 'disability' because the condition has lasted more than 12 months! I have managed to live this long without a label, why do I need one now? Does anyone else consider themselves as having a disability?

anil on August 20, 2016:

is ssd comes in handicap category

Yvonne on August 09, 2016:

Hi, thank you for the best article ever written. I lived with this for more then 50 years. I can totally relate to everything you wrote. I don't think I've had a laugh that good in ages. My family and friends know I spent most of my life living the "Sprint" commercial! It definitely has its advantages & disadvantages and you just gotta roll with the punches! I believe this has made me a high achiever by all means and I am grateful to have "the one good ear!" Lol

My classmate was born deaf in the opposite ear, (our parents hung out while pregnant?) and all we did was bang heads in the hallway at our lockers until we changed sides our senior year! I like to believe we are all special! Thanks again

Casey on August 03, 2016:

I've had SSD since I was 5 years old, I lost my hearing in my left ear following an infection from having my tonsils and adenoids out.

I had hearing tests all the way though school and yet it wasn't until I was 18 that I actually had written confirmation from the hospital to say that the nerve in my left ear was completely dead.

Everything you listed is spot on!

The hearing in my right ear is perfect,

and I love how surprised people act when I say I can actually only hear in one ear.

Thanks for writing this, it made my day :)

Will62 on July 26, 2016:

I think God gave me the gift of Single sided deafness so I can sleep without hearing my

Wife snore. At times it can be very useful, and other times annoying. I went deaf in my left

Ear within 20 seconds at 50 years old. At first they thought brain tumor when it happened that fast, but after many tests and MRI's they still don't know why. I even had two 1800.00

Shots of steroids thru the eardrum. I still get dizzy at times and struggle with the downside of this so called Mineares disease but life goes on, you do get used to it. All I can say is be careful and watch out for cars, they come out of nowhere at times. Your other senses become more keen to your surroundings and you will adapt. I do have fun with it, this disability can frustrate people around you and especially your wife. I tell people deal with it, I do! I have a lot more compassion for those that are completely deaf. One of my customers is completely deaf and he told me he would teach me sign language if I went deaf in the other ear. That was my biggest fear at first but it hasn't happened for the past thirteen years. If this has happened to you don't worry you will adapt and you will be ok. Just my two cents, hope this helps someone, there's lots of us out there!

Chris d on July 07, 2016:

I lost my hearing in my right ear when I was 5. This article accurately describes many of my experiences, both in my childhood and adult life.

However, I am only recently realising the impact SSD has had on my life. Anxiety in busy social situations is common for me. I just struggle too much to follow the conversations. On top of this, I wish people would appreciate how tiring it is to keep up in noisy environments.

That being said, I will take you advice and make more of a joke of it. Plus, telling people earlier rather than later will definitely make like easier.

ree dee on June 28, 2016:

We just confirmed my daughters unilateral moderate hearing loss she is almost 3 years old. they caught it at her newborn screening. we are going to get her hearing aids as per her ENT and audiologist. Thank you for showing us what she is going through and we love the comment that ssd makes you more intelligent. we see it already- she is above average in all areas not connected to hearing. Its not a coincidence, G-d created her like that its something we thank Him for every day.

Le Toi from VN on June 07, 2016:

Very useful information

Victoria on April 15, 2016:

I've just recently learned that my 5 year old daughter has SSD, just like you her left ear is her "good" ear. I want to thank you for writing this article, it helps me to understand better what she is going through and will go through.

navisk3 on April 02, 2016:

Nicely written article. People with SSD in management positions gets problem as he/she uncomfortable in meetings , client interactions and get togethers. Any latest technology/instruments to overcome SSD, please share.

Charil on March 19, 2016:

I've had SSD since I was sixteen (viral infection + TMJ), and I NEVER knew there was a proper term for it until now! I've always felt so alone, and reading this article and the comments, honestly I started to cry a little hahah. Finally, there are people who understand what it's like! I've always felt so alone. Too hearing for the deaf community and too deaf for the hearing community. The article put it into words perfectly. Reading this really made my night a lot better, after a very odd day at work, and though it's a few years old by now, I just wanted to post my appreciation to you for having written it. Thank you!

And yes, the ability to lay on my good ear and get a nice peaceful night's sleep is one that I very much appreciate :)

zaib on February 19, 2016:

i have had ssd but am happy and enjoying cool life with my one ear :)

Shelley H on February 13, 2016:

Hello, I found this article very interesting in that I've had ssd for as far back as I can remember (I'm 57). I've never known why or when it occurred so believe possibly was born with it. Most noticeably as a teen I was told that some people thought I was stuck up and didn't respond to their comments when in fact I did not hear them. I have had numerous hearing tests that indicate profound deafness on my left side with exceptional hearing on the right. I had a very good laugh about the positive points of ssd. I have no issue at this point in my life of explaining my ssd but I did have problems stating the fact when I was younger. I still experience anxiety within a crowded room but accept missing out on some of the information. I am blessed to have one good ear.

Don on February 13, 2016:

I have had SSD since as long as I can remember. All the symptoms you describe I can relate to. I realize most of these issues after the fact. When I was in college , classes that had lecturers were hard for me and classes with visual aids I did well in. I didnt realize this until many years after college. I didnt realize that hearing people can hear clearly through background noise as well as locate noise direction. I never thought it was a huge problem until recently, I am 65 years old now and look back on my life and realize how lucky I was to be successful in my occupation with this problem. If I had to work with the public like in service related I would be lost and could not hold the job for this handicap. A few years ago I had some kind of virus in my good ear and went deaf for a short period of time. It was stressful not knowing if you would ever hear again. I had to have injections of Dexamethasone in my eardrum and soon regained my hearing. This happened a second time the same year and panic set in again, it took two more treatments to get my hearing back. I dont think most doctors are that knowledgeable about hearing problems. One DR. said I had a virus the other said I had an auto immune defeicency. Who knows , I agree there are some positives , when I got drafted to go to Viet Nam I was rejected, might have saved my life. I find myself choosing hobbies that have no background noise, like golf, skiing, hunting , fishing , backpacking. I also think it is funny I like being with women who have loud clear voices. I hate social affairs that have lots of people talking with background music. As life goes on I jokingly tell myself , maybe in the next life I will get two good ears. Great article I wish everyone who knows me could read it , maybe they would understand better what I go through. thank again.

Hello on January 11, 2016:

I too have been deaf in my left ear most likely since birth, as it was discovered at my first hearing test (in Finland every child's hearing is tested) at the age of four. I can completely relate to this article! As a musician, I struggle weekly especially when performing, and I really hate how I miss out so many things such as stereo audio etc. I wish that I could hear normally someday, even for a few minutes just to hear what my violin truly sounds like! It feels good to know that out there are others who are spinning around when called and who just give up on group conversations in loud spaces because listening is too tiresome. Thankfully I've got lovely friends who acknowledge my ssd and choose my right side or let me choose my place at a restaurant.

Mitchell B. on December 15, 2015:

I have had SSD since a traumatic incident when I was three. Although my deafness is in my left ear, I found myself relating to everything you said. Thank you for this, you put a smile on my face! :)

ianken51 on November 06, 2015:

I developed SSD in my right ear at around 40 yrs old. When a teenager I was in Army Cadets and some idiot shot a blank cartridge out of a gun right next to my right ear.

Over the years my right side hearing progressively worsened until a heavy cold silenced that ear for good.

I found out about it when I went to see an audiologist after my cold had eased but my hearing was still non-existent. After the tests he asked when was the gun shot noise which deafened me? Gosh it was so long ago I'd all but forgotten it. Then I said that the only incident was some 28 years previous and related my story.

Yup. He said. That would have been the cause. The damage was done when I had enough hairs in my inner ear to compensate. However, with aging and the heavy flu bout what was left of the hairs have all flattened. Result SSDeafness.

He said there was nothing to be done, so I've lived with it since. Now I'm 64 and pretty much cope day by day. But my family still don't seem to be able to make the adjustment. I think because there's no outward indicator.

As I've aged I find I get confused and often give up trying to listen in crowded parties. I usually seek quiet to get some relief for a while. But what really ticks me off is being stuck in the middle of two diagonal conversations. I get bits of each and no real sense from either. Sometimes the result can be quite amusing (mixing bits of conversation) and I have a quiet little laugh.

But what really frustrates me is how people seem to insist on starting to talk and the finish their conversation while walking away. Now I don't even try to make sense of these fractured conversations. I simply ignore them and when asked why I didn't do such and such, or why don't I listed, I just say "I know what you're about to say. And YES. I am DEAF!" Usually has the desired result.

Oh. And it makes sleeping easier as I can place my good ear on the pilow and never hear my wife snoring. It also saves on ear plugs as well. Laugh here.

I love music and really hate it when a record splits channels between ears. On head phones I only get 1/2 the benefit...iTunes please install mono for partially deaf people.

I've learned to appreciate sub-titles and tend to rely on them. I loathe suuround sound and the current Hollywood fad on near utter silence followed a nano-second later by ear busting explosions.

But, you know, if I only have to loose my hearing, I guess life's not too bad. I can cope even if those around me can't adjust after all these years. I can see, walk, talk, taste, sorta hear, and enjoy life. So although I have a disability, it could have been worse. :-)

Elaine on October 01, 2015:

Thank you for helping explain SSD for me. We have just found out this week that our daughter who is 12 has had SSD since birth. Your article has really helped us understand something we had never even heard of four days ago.

Rimuzin on September 30, 2015:

This article was really helpfull.. I have lived with SSD and recently had an accident because on a busy road I could not locate a sound.. This article explains the points so clearly...Now, i will forward this to all who does not understand what SSD or wants to know about it.

Grzegorz on September 08, 2015:

My son has SSD, he is 11 years old wonerful boy but SSD causes a lot of problem in school and many comon sitauation in the street in laudly schop ....... I don't know why and when he lost hearing, we finded out this when he was 7 years old. If I might give him my ear a wouldn't have a doubt but it it is impossible. I add that he is very cheerful boy and a very good pupil. We wait when medicine world will explore way how to fix his defness. I'm sorry for my english, we are from Poland.

Banana on August 19, 2015:

This was an incredibly informative and funny article, thanks so much for writing it! I was really happy to find this, it helped me a lot!

Lori on July 07, 2015:

Thank you for writing this! I was born deaf in my right ear and have experienced every one of your points. I had to LOL when I read about "Reacting to loud noises". I can so relate!

In some situations I forewarn people that I am deaf in one ear. This is important especially when I'm on an airplane and am conversing with someone sitting on my deaf side. This is so that they understand why I turn my head around to face the back of their seat so that I can hear them. (otherwise, they think I'm pretty weird!). I also tell people that I first meet so that they don't think that I'm ignoring them.

It can be a pain for sure but there are the good points as you mentioned. Thanks again!

Livewithit on July 05, 2015:

I am a 64 year old mom with a loving family, and I was born with SSD and a flap of cartilage instead of an ear. Yeah, it sucks, yeah, you have to make adjustments, but there are worse things in life !

Growing up in the 50s and 60s, my family and I kept "my condition" a secret. I never got my ears pierced, never wore my hair in a ponytail. I was voted "Class Daydreamer" in high school, which was so much cooler than having kids know about my deformed ear.

I worked in a greenhouse for a while. If you have SSD you can imagine how that worked out!

I got my masters degree in education and was a successful, respected and fun-loving teacher. I couldn't be a classroom teacher because the SSD prevented me from locating sounds quickly and nipping the annoying clicks, whistles and whispers in the bud. Devil's in the details! So I worked as Special Ed teacher for decades!

Honestly, you can get a passport, have a family, sing, live a full and wonderful life! The SSD is just speed bump on the wonderful road of your life! Minimize it! My biggest regret? That I can't hear the wind in stereo as it rushes by my head!

Thank you for your wonderful, thoughtful article! We special SSD people need to know about each other! In 60+ years I had never heard the term SSD or thought of myself as a person with a disability!

Kelly on May 05, 2015:

My daughter has been deaf in her right ear since birth and has a BAHA, are there any college scholarships for students with SSD

SSD love on April 14, 2015:


People can be so insensitive... Just because I mishear your order and ask you to repeat it (I do repeat back to them what they said to double-check I didn't mishear) or I repeat it back wrong (small sandwich instead of small salad), doesn't give you the right to get impatient and rude with me.

"Relate much"

SSD love on April 13, 2015:

Hi welcome me to the group I'm so glad that I found this article... Thank you so much.. I feel so welcome to this article... I feel that I'm not alone anymore with this situation.. Unlike before... Anyway i'm searching about my condition (SSD) but then im so lucky that i found this article.. And I'm hoping somebody will help me about my confusion or prob. because I'm planning to apply at Canada.. But I'm afraid to be rejected at medical test... Which will be the reason to deny my visa... Is anybody know about my situation... As far as I know if you are deaf the immigration department will not accept ur visa application.. Im so depress about that.. I really want to achive my goal but im losing hope now bec of my disability... Is anyone knows about this kind of situation? Do I still have a chance to pas the medical exam.. Or get visa approved either? Please help...

A R. Marak on March 23, 2015:

i'm SSD too... Sometimes i feel so worth losted... And gifted to...

Harry on November 30, 2014:

I'm 32 - and can totally relate to this article.

Other awkward situations I would like to mwention are dinner parties and sports events with people sitting on your deaf side. I have found that people tend to compensate by talking louder directly into your deaf ear ! Also working in a large open plan office - with your boss sitting on your deaf side can cause a whole raft of issues. That said - being honest - and upfront can help - however in my competitive industry honesty can highlight weakness and make you an easy target for ridicule . I have developed a few social coping mechanisms - sitting a little back at dinner tables - telling people my ear is a little "bunged up" when I've got someone on my right I can't hear well - and standing (where possible) in club/loud situations. The trick is early on to ask to change locations / seats early on - simply saying you can hear "better" in your other ear ..... This is often better than barely being able to hear someone and hence not connecting with the conversation . Also location hearing can be improved with a little practice and intuition . Thanks for this post

Ger on November 28, 2014:

Hi, I have only recently been diagnosed with SSD and am still coming to terms with it. The article really helped me to see how to deal with situations and find others who understand. Since losing hearing I have not been to any parties or out drinking and was wondering what the effects are? Are nightclubs now much more difficult? Does drink affect balance more etc... ?

rahul mishra on October 10, 2014:

dear sir,

I am deaf in one ear.

Can i get a 40% physical disability certificate

elena on September 12, 2014:

Hi! I've been deaf in one ear since I was 3. I'm 19 now. I totally relate to the article. I think I cope well with it, and I'm starting to joke about it so that's good.

I had an hard time with it while in high school because my class was really noisy and overcrowded. I wouldn't hear people calling me and I couldn't always correctly locate them, so I had to keep turning my head hoping to see them. Some of them thought it was funny and... I don't wanna remember that.

Now that I'm starting to drive, my bad ear is the right one, the passenger seat is on the right... jeez, I have to strain my hearing and use all my brain to understad what's going on there.

I'm very good at lips reading tho, so in some social situations (pubs, clubs and where it's noisy but I am free to position myself) I have it quite easy.

I'm going to try the CROS hearing aid, let's see how it goes. I'm a bit scared to go around with a hearing aid, don't know what others are going to think. I know I shouldn't care, but I'm pretty worried.

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