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

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 experiences with SSD, how I deal with it, and tips and advice for anyone with, or close to someone with SSD.

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 to other kids was at a friend's birthday party. Playing chinese whispers, 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 embarressed 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 5 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 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 (I felt the vibrations so could guess when there were sounds, which made the test quite useless) and sometimes the windy sounds were so loud they gave me double vision! She explained it 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 it's disadvantages. But I believe it has it's 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 it's disadvantages, and it all depends on the method of teaching and 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 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 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.

A mono splitter I use for my headphones
A mono splitter I use for my headphones

How to deal with SSD

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 learnt 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 they think I am just being rude or not paying attention.

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 is 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 SSD

  • Stereo headphones: these are he 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 about living in a country where people drive on the right rather than the left is being able to hear the driver (I don't drive myself). 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- and often this background noise is someone taking to me on my deaf side. I don't realize. 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 was. 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, This forces me to use subtitles.
  • Not being able to swap ears while on the phone: Ok, 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 unidentified sounds is by filtering them out. Anything that doesn't sound close 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, but I am pretty certain 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: This one is pushing it a bit, but how cool is that?

Do you have SSD, or do you know anyone with the condition?

  • Yes, I have SSD
  • Yes, I know someone with SSD
  • No
See results without voting

© 2011 Vanadis

Comments 125 comments

fordie profile image

fordie 5 years ago from China

Great explanantion - with depth and support for those who suffer. Thanks

Vanadis profile image

Vanadis 5 years ago from Barcelona Author

Hi Fordie, I'm glad you found it helpful. I wrote this article in the hope it would reach others with the condition and let them know they are not alone. Many thanks for the feedback!

Brandon 4 years ago

Fantastic write up on SSD. I became deaf in my left ear from a thrown softball at the age of 30. It was refreshing to read this and know I'm not alone in my disability.

Shannon 4 years ago

Thank you for all the info. We reciently discovered that our 5 year old has SSD most likely since birth and greatly appreciate your input and encouraging words. We are open to any and all advise available, if you have any more please repost

Thank you

Diane Inside profile image

Diane Inside 4 years ago

Hi Vanadis, very well written and detailed. It was great I love it, I am deaf in my right ear since birth, I have a hub on it as well if you have not seen it there are some great stories by my commenters on there as well. Thanks for the great hub.

jackie 4 years ago

Hi there,

i have was diagnosed with ssd when I was 7 and I have got on with it like most people seem to have and played down the negatives. However, I would really like to some sort of strategy for social situations...I realise that my social mobility is severley impaired in any social situation. It is difficult to hear the person speaking and inevitably I move myself round to the best hearing position and look the person in the face as they are speaking...and of course this intense listening gets misread by the talker for intense interest in what they are saying...I often feel trapped in this sort of situation because I want to flit about meet people and have a bit of banter...but because I cannot hear the periferal conversations or even look away without appearing rude or giving a lengthy explanation...I end up becoming exhausted and disheartened and end up going home on that note. I'm also aware that I am probably percieved by others through this behaviour. It is only recently that it has actually registered how tiring this all is and inhibiting...But I think there has to be a sratedgy to deal with it. I suspect it might mean being less polite and a different social impression...Any ideas!?

Mark 4 years ago

Great article. I could definitely relate to most of what you said. I also envy those who can switch ears while on the phone :) i have had sad since birth and 99 percent of people never know.only if I choose to tell them. Ssd is not a nightmare and it's something that makes you appreciate the hearing you do have. The glass is always half full.

Patrick Meicher 4 years ago

I'm college student with SSD and I loved this article. I couldn't agree more with your philosophy on raising children with SSD. My parents never treated me like I was disabled so I was never afraid to try something and I never used SSD for an excuse. Also it's nice to see that I'm not the only one who doesn't like loud music at parties!

Donni 4 years ago

Hello! I am 31 year old and I have SSD since I was 12, due to an accident. I really loved your article and I literally saw myself, in each situations... it was like seeing myself in my everyday life. Also I definitely agree with the "honesty" of our disability, the sooner we make people aware of our problem, the best. What I think we need to keep remembering is that we still have the gift of hearing from one ear, and that we have to be careful in noisy or physically stressful situations for the good ear. (e.g. always bring an earplug when you go to loud gigs or loud music parties!). Thank you for the article

Joseph Ratermann 4 years ago

When I was born, i had a cleft ear. The Ear canal is closed and I cannot hear from it. Hearing has never been much of a problem, or so i thought, but when i read this article, it was so true. My ear specialist has discussed with me about opening my canal and seeing if i could hear from it, but im unsure how different it will be.

alejlinares 4 years ago

Hey there! really nice article!, I have SSD and I'm 25 years old... I was diagnosed since I was 3 years old, it was quite difficult to diagnose me because of what doctors called masky ear... We don't really know if I was born with it or if a loss my hearing in my childhood... I totally deaf on my left ear, but due to the lack of hearing on one side I think I have have developed a really acute hearing on my right side... I found all of the information really useful, and found myself identified with the examples... My parents raised me as a normal child and never had a problem with it, thought sometimes in class I had to ask several times the teacher to repeat things for me during school and university... The only problem I have is that I usually talk to loud and I usually don't know I'm doing it until someone tells to me to talk softer or someone feels that I'm being rude.. do you have the same problem? I would be really glad to know that... Thank you for all the info!

Rhonda D Johnson profile image

Rhonda D Johnson 4 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow


I am profoundly deaf in both ears and hear with a cochlear implant. Despite the differences, I see from your article that there are also similarities, both in our experiences and the way we deal with the situation.

I found your article useful in helping me understand that abilities and disabilities come in all shapes and sizes. We can not all be alike or all have the exact same experiences, but we can understand each other and take responsibility for helping others to understand rather than being innocent bystanders in our own lives.

Thanks so much for sharing.

hi 4 years ago

This is great, I pictured myself in every situation, having ssd myself. I've had it since I was born, I've never had normal hearing to compare to. I'm twelve and I am bullied at secondary school about it, not helped by the fact that I have zero confidence. I'm fed up of teachers saying ... You don't listen, do you!? Or shut up when I ask you to be quiet!! Just cuz I didn't hear them. I had a hearing aid but stopped using it from a twelve year old girl

caroline 4 years ago

I've been totally deaf in my left ear since I was a baby and I can totally relate to everything you've said in your article. I've always accepted it very easily and just made a joke out of it in social situations. Recently however i've become more and more aware of it and am becoming increasingly self-conscious when in social situations as I worry whether I may not be hearing what everyone else is and I may be talking strangely. I'm only 35 but i'm also starting to worry about what happens when we get older - will we end up a lot deafer than everyone else? I'd be really grateful for some reassurance from people as I'm pretty anxious at the moment. Thank you.

Jenn 4 years ago

I was diagnosed with hearing issues since I was eight years old. It was very minor throughout my childhood but progressively got worse as time went on. Today I am 27 years old and completely deaf on my right side and partially deaf on my left. I find following conversations with a few people tiring to a point where I don't want to be social. I cant help but feel like I'm that person that keeps telling people how to talk...speak slower, louder. I have a boyfriend who has perfect hearing and sometimes I feel he doesn't get it... He says to try harder or be more social, speak up for yourself...It's exhausting to follow people sometimes.. Even one person! I work in a retail store and alot of my energy goes into trying to hear my customers. Sometimes I'll get at least one customer a day who just rolls their eyes and/or walks away from me when I explain that I'm deaf and ask them to speak up. Well after reading your article I see the other persons perspective and try to make it easier since I don't have an out of order sign on my left ear (haha).. But my question is, don't you ever feel sometimes that it would just be easier to be completely deaf than struggle with it everyday? I feel discouraged sometimes and alone in my situation.. It would just be nice to know there's someone out there that feels the same...

Reilly 4 years ago

I was diagnosed with SSD when I was about 4 years old. When I had gone to the doctor, they actually said that this was a very rare condition. (which disagrees with your statement) I'm not sure where you had heard that it was common, but I don't agree with you.

Trinity Parsons profile image

Trinity Parsons 4 years ago from Las Cruces, New Mexico

I really loved your post. My husband is deaf in one ear due to an accident as a child. He's super intelligent and like you has a great sense of humor. I hate to say that it is so funny when he's wildly trying to find the cell phone while it rings. I never knew about mono-splitters so I'm excited to get some for him as he's a musician. I've recently wondered about his balance being affected as he's always so clumsy especially at night, regardless of his amazing athleticism. During the day too but at night it's more apparent as I'm trying to sleep lol.

Tanya 4 years ago

I too have SSD (Deaf in my left ear) since birth. I totally relate to the chinese whispers game at school, since that happened to me too! I hate crossing the road and just going to a restaurant with my family can be isolating in regards to conversations. I just adapt and adjust to the situation where ever I am. Having to make sure you are walking on the hearing side next to somebody can get tiresome after a while. I'm just glad I'm not the only one out there with SSD!! (I mean I knew there were others who have it too) Thanks

Jacob 4 years ago

Thank you so much for posting this!

I had no words to explain what I could hear and not hear and how it affects me. I'm showing this to my mom, and she's going to understand completely!

Natalie 4 years ago

My husband has SSD due to a childhood injury. Your post was very informative and has gone a long way to helping me understand what it's like for him to live with it, as well as helping me to understand it for myself. Thank you SO much!!

Jonathan 4 years ago

I too have had SSD since I was born. I was not aware of what I had been missing out on so much. This article pointed out a few others I was not aware of such as how people who have normal hearing can focus in and hear a person in loud noises. I got a titanium abutment implanted on my right side (my deaf side) where on 2 weeks I will be putting a PONTO device that will conduct the sound from my right side through my bones into my left ear.

melly89 4 years ago

hi...thank u....i lost my hearing on my right ear two weeks after giving birth...its been so hard for me..but day after day im learning to cop with most fear was lossing my good hearing from the other ear n not been able to hear my bby..but its been two yrs now n im still my scary part is when i have another bby if the same thing will happen but with the good one...lets pray n hope not...well i thank u for ur words they made me realize a lot of goods n bads..n just asume that things happen for a reason...thanks once again n god bless u...

Zak 4 years ago

Hello :) I have SSD (as Ive just found out its called) in my left ear since birth and my right ear has out 60% normal hearing. Always at front of class at school, cant hear anything but noise at parties, cant hear speech in films (on go the subtitles !) and the classic where someone says something and you're sure they said something else.... which can be quite funny :) Great post and it made me laugh out loud :) ...going to have to get a mono splitter ! Try listening to old Beatles stuff without one ! Id be interested to hear how Jonathon got on with this Ponto device thing

DJMix 4 years ago

Wow.. what a great piece! I'm glad I found it--though I wish I had earlier. My wife and I recently befriended a young guy and enjoyed his company. The third time we met he told us about his SSD; in retrospect it explains a lot, since there were several issues that arose, all in line with the article and comments above. We had fun together, but his bluntness and rudeness was a bit off-putting. He developed a sort of crush on my wife--not surprising in itself, since she is very sexy (yes, I know I'm biased!)--but the way he focused so intently on her, almost to the point where I didn't exist, was quite unsettling for us. In fact we sort of fell out over this and a few related issues. I regret now that we didn't have more insight into his experience (and that he was not as forthcoming as he could have been). I don't even think we can really apologize or explain, since he seemed determined to come up with strained explanations rather than allow for the role his SSD obviously played. There was no way he could focus on more than one person at a time; it's true he might have just been a jerk, but I suspect there was more to it. Anyway, not too many people are as insightful and up front as Vanadis, and I thank you for providing us the insight to be more sensitive in the future.

anonymous 3 years ago

Great article. Although I have SSD, I've never really read about it. I felt like I was reading an article that I wrote, but couldn't remember I wrote. This is the perfect explanation of what SSD is.

It was also interesting reading about the hearing abilities of normal people . I didn't even know normal people had such an ability as "locating sound distance."

I've admittedly have become pretty good at pretending that I hear what people are saying, because I'm often embarrassed to admit that I let a person say several sentences without my hearing them. I wonder if that's the same for other people with SSD.

DJMix 3 years ago

I think it's amazing how it affects so many different aspects of personality and development. I think many with SSD may even be unaware of the origin of some of their quirks. And it has made me rethink how my own ear/hearing issues have defined my personality.

Desiree 3 years ago

This article brought back so many memories. I have SSD. I have been deaf in my left ear since age 7 when I had the mumps. The swelling was so bad it killed a nerve in my left ear. My parents were really good about it. In fact I think they and the rest of my family forgot about it unless I didn't hear them for some reason, then they would remember and come around to my other side or in front of me and speak to me. Kids at school didn't believe me, so they either thought I was stuck up, or they would make fun of me. I have a really hard time at parties or out in restaurants because of the background noise, so, usually I avoid them. I really have a hard time watching movies on DVD, I always have to have the captions turned on in order to know what is going on in the movie, as the music is usually too loud to hear the actors talking. Thank you for writing this!!!! It is sooooo true.

Abel 3 years ago

Thank you very much! i have been suffering from this since birth and i hated it.. I always got made fun of or called a freak for it and i wanted it all to stop.. i found this page looking for surgical ccures.. but i dont need one anymore. Thank you!

twilight200in 3 years ago

Gosh! Your article is like a mirror to my story. (My right ear is impaired and I too discovered it while playing a game of whispers, and the game turned out pretty funny, just because I led the group to a wrong word due to my deafness :) ...) I suffer from the same issue since childhood or rather have learnt to LIVE with it. Yes, sometimes people unknowingly hurt me by their rude comments, but i have learnt to ignore them. The taboo associated with deafness is huge and I sometimes wish others would empathise with this and NOT SYMPATHISE!

The greatest pull-down that I have is when my friends guess that I might have hearing loss and judge me based on that. I still haven't got the nerve to tell anyone outside my family about my hearing loss. Sometimes I feel they dont have to know.

It is totally devastating when I have to attend long phone calls/ or listen to a feeble audio (lecture or talk). I get earaches too often which only makes it worse.

Wearing glasses for an eye ailment is cool whereas hearing aids are not seen in the same light! My only wish and hope is to change that!

Your article is very positive and gives me great hope that many suffer from this condition, GRACEFULLY and yet carry on with their life.

Thanks for the hope!

Momma to a ssd child 3 years ago

I really enjoyed reading your article. It put a lot more into perspective for me that I didn't think of for my son who has no ear canal or ear on his right side. We have had issues with him in school and the teachers and principal do not believe me when I tell them he can't hear and understand them like the other kids with normal hearing (although this should be very obvious because no ear + no ear canal + very easily noticed = duh!). I think this article from a grown up perspective will help them understand I'm not making excuses for my son and he really doesn't understand them like they think he should. Thank you!

Torrey 3 years ago

What about jobs? How have some of your job experiences been with SSD? Are there jobs you generally avoid?

Alicia 3 years ago

I haven't read the entire page because I got far too excited when you mentioned monoaural! I have never heard that term before and I struggle on a daily basis to explain to my friends and family that I simply cannot hear anything on TV with background sound, nor can I hear speech unless I am looking at the speaker. I have been deaf in my left ear for about ten years now, have had no support or advice or anything, hence I arrived at your page. Thanks for the info, much appreciated. I've just watched 'It's All Gone Pete Tong' - crap title but a great film for us deafos :-)

DJMix 3 years ago

I have to report a really cool effect of my having run across this page. Since reading it I have met more people with SSD and gotten to know a little more about it. One parent at our school is deaf in one ear--this morning his little guy (5 y.o) went running down the hall after Dad, wanting one last hug. It's not something we like to indulge anyway, but Dad simply kept walking, and the little guy was inconsolable. "I asked for a hug and he wouldn't!" Back to school is always tough on the kindergarteners, and the half week and the holidays make it even worse. Because of what I read hear, I was able to calm him and explain that Daddy didn't hear him--he wasn't ignoring him. It comes across as brusque, but he doesn't mean it. Thanks for giving me another tool to use in my job and helping me console a child.

Xerik 3 years ago

I myself was born deaf in my left ear. This article is so spot on for me and the things I've done through my life. About the only thing that ever gets on my nerves is trying to listen to music and realise one layer is trebel and the other bass and i have to decide with a stereo headphones... do I want to look weird or do I want to hear bass only?. I always tell people ahead of time that I am deaf in one ear as it generally works out better that way. When some one walks on my bad side I usually end up walking funny as im looking down at the ground with my good ear forward and me not focusing my eyes on anything.

But I've personally never viewed my SSD as a disability of any kind ever. When in college I asked the teacher if I could record his conversations as I was deaf in one ear. He said yes and I kept a recorder on his desk so I could hear him later in case I ever missed anything. Also thank you so much for mentioning that monosplitter. What I have been using is a single in-ear bud for listening to music for cell phones. Works great IMO.

Stephanie 3 years ago

OMG!!! I have been deaf in my left ear since birth. I never realized until I read this people are able to determine the sounds from direction and different levels. I normally tell people up front that I can't hear but sometimes I become embarresed in public because I can't hear. People always make fun of me because I am so loud but I don't realize how loud I truly am. There were so many things in your artile that help me to realize I am not a freak. So, thank you. I will be showing this to my family.

Rachael 3 years ago

I completely agree with this article. Im so happy to know there are other people in the world who understand exactly what I go through everyday. It's hard enough as I work in a call centre. People constantly think I am ignoring them when simply I am either just on a phone call or I really cannot hear them. My sister has told me numerous times to let my coworkers know but I just feel uncomfortable nor I want them to "feel bad" for me. You know what I mean? But for me having SSD, it's kinda amazing. I love music, and one day I aspire to be a DJ. It may or may not come true but surely having SSD will not stop me. In my car I also have a system in there that pounds my music. I just love it, and I am so thankful that I atleast have my left ear by my side.

Alex 3 years ago

Hi thanks. An excellent article and i was born with SSD and people get so jealous when i can sleep in noisy conditions

Mary 3 years ago

Absolutely loved this article! I am not completely deaf in one ear but I have moderate to severe hearing loss on one side. Everything you said is so true! I switch sides when I walk with someone so they can be on my good side, I hate only using the phone with one ear, I can never locate anyone who says my name if I can't see them (drives me crazy) and I definitely made good use of my deaf ear by sleeping on my good one during college. Made living with roommates a bit easier!

SO excited.

Martha 3 years ago

Hi there, I am 54 and Ii lost my hearing in the right one when my husband pass away, the nerves of all the problems afacted my hearing dramatically this was 13 yearas a go, now my left one is guetting worse nerves increased as my hearing lost..I am very sad because is afecting my job and my daily living :0( what I should do? thank you...... God Bless you.

K'leeny 3 years ago

Great article. I acquired SSD and am now monoaural with moderate hearing loss in the other ear. I am a kindergarten teacher and am on leave. I know many ways to help my kids who are H.I., but it is difficult to reverse for the teacher. Our district is poor and I don't think they can do much for accommodations. Does anyone have ideas? I wish I could spin my head around 360 degrees...maybe not. Thank you to everyone who shared here. I have learned so much and hope you will be able to give me more help to get back to work. :)

bhavika ahuja 3 years ago

thank you a lot for this but see that there's blood coming out my right ear

and i'm bullied because i talk to teachers and my parents and i even went to operations 3 times

ps im 10

Madhukar Dhuri 3 years ago


I have Severe SSD in my right ear since last one year now. This happened all of the sudden. No correct reasons know.

I am trying to see of the CROS hearing aid can help me compensate this loss. Has any one tried CROS for SSD. I read Phoank and Unitron have options for CROS.

Judith 3 years ago

I am a recent monoaural person due to idiopathic sudden hearing loss with vertigo. I appreciate all the positivity a realistic expectations. Did you ever experience tinnitus? I hope it will subside soon. My mind is certainly working harder these days, sometimes through a "fog". But it is good to know the experience is normal!

priya 3 years ago

hi dear thank u 4 tis information i hav hearing prob wit my left im afraiding of my right one........over 5 years i hav tis prob and i cant able 2 sleeep at night..... suddenly in 2007 my ear is deaf pls help me

TheEnd55 3 years ago

I am profoundly deaf in one ear so rely on the other completely. despite my hearing impairment presenting me with many challenges, I feel that it did not affect my self esteem until I experienced negative attitudes to hearing loss from a recent partner. My ex partner found it incredibly irritating if I asked him to repeat anything. He would get very angry and say it was unfair of me to expect him to repeat himself. He would also refuse to help me out by sitting or walking on my good side if he didn't fancy the view. I began pretending I had heard him when I hadn't just to avoid feeling belittled and humiliated. He once had a good whinge about how horrible it was for him when we were on a train...I'll never forget the shocked expression of the man sat opposite us. I cannot put into words how hurt my partners attitude made me feel; my feelings clearly mattered far less to him than the inconvenience of repeating himself. I wonder if he was to experience hearing loss if his attitude would change? Please be aware that lack of understanding or sensitivity regarding hearing loss within a relationship may be an early warning sign of emotional abuse, and take steps to assert your boundaries and protect your self esteem. I am now wary about meeting new people because I'm afraid they will find conversation with me too much effort although I had never experienced this attitude from anyone before my ex partner.

Michelle 3 years ago

Hi, in glad you took the time to share your story. I know there's not a lot information out there about SSD and most definitely we are the experts on the subject! My story differs from yours in one big way. When my parents and I found out about my SSD (right side) they didn't really focus or think about it immensely after. (I found out @ age 4, but it was likely from birth ). So aside from getting a front Seat in all my school classes, it wasn't brought up and it was something I could just completely ignore. So I never felt disabled, ever, in school or life, because of it. All the challenges were, I felt, annoyances and petty problems. That way I enjoy myself at a pub or party- I know I'll have trouble following conversations and I let it bother me as much as I'd be bothered that a waiter got my drink order wrong (hint: annoying but not a big deal). As for English cars- as a North American, can i say how annoying it is, as a SSD person (right ear), to drive with any passengers?? When i drive I can't concentrate on driving AND talking, when my passengers are ALL on my deaf ear side. - Ps I decided to try out the Phonak Cros hearing aid system but I personally didn't like it. It muffles the sound you'd normally hear from your good ear. And since we listen in Mono, what happens is you just get More sound and noise sent to your ear, unfiltered of course. It made it harder for me to pay attention in restaurants (at dinner) or in class (college). Also i know of another woman who made a webpage about SSD. ( ) but definitely not least- I like the image you posted (the out of order sign)

sam 3 years ago

hi i had twins 7 weeks ago an my boy has ssd,, this article has explained more to me then the docs,, thank you so much

Ellen 3 years ago

This is so inspiring! Thank you for writing this! I can absolutely relate to all of this. I have had SSD since I was 6 and it has not been easy. About 2 years ago I got a bone anchored hearing aid, and let me tell you, it has changed my life! I highly recommend them.

Emma 3 years ago

I was diagnosed with SSD when I was 4, but I have been deaf since birth. When I was 11 I had an MRI scan which showed I had enlarged vestibular aqueducts, which led to a blood test which showed one mutant pendred gene. The doctors said that I am more at risk of losing all my hearing if I play contact sports, so my parents pulled me out of all of them. This is the biggest regret of my childhood. I now lack confidence when I speak to people so I'm quite isolated. This was an interesting read which I can relate to, thank you.

Terrence van Ettinger 3 years ago

Oh, wow! Thanks for posting this! I've had SSD all my life, and trust me, paired with visual impairments, it makes things interesting… Especially when orientation and mobility instructors are trying to teach you alternative techniques for crossing streets – which usually involves listening to where the cars are coming from. They haven't always understood When I insist that looking at the cars gives me more information than listening to them! Yes, for the most part I would say that my hearing is better than my vision, but not when it comes to sound location.

Birdie 3 years ago

I had to laugh about the part of not knowing where voices come from. In high school, when people used to yell my name, I got in the habit of looking upwards-- as in, I hear you, but I'm not going to bother looking around.

I had no idea that surround sound actually meant something besides a much louder movie.

I've been deaf in 1 ear since infancy, so I've never known another way.

AndySG 3 years ago

At 40 and having had SSD on my left side since I was born I just discovered a whole new side of me.

I never realized people could distinguish the direction of sounds.

I understand now why I have always struggled socializing at parties and pubs and why it was so difficult following conversations.

Always thought it was me being a bit anti social or maybe just not very talkative. When all you hear is a confused mixture of voices, music and background noises it's just easier to just stop listening and immerse yourself in your own thoughts and observe through your eyes.

Apart from SSD I also did not have a left ear and no canal so the issue was more apparent. School days were tough and was often bullied. Self confidence obviously suffers and through childhood I did consider myself disabled till my tean years. How wrong I was. Luckily you learn from this and eventually learn to accept yourself. How parents treat you is very important and should not be overprotective or make a big deal about it.

Nowdays when talking to people if I'm on the wrong side I just tell them I'm half deaf and just get it over with.

Just recently become dad and the first thing I did was to check my baby boy had 2 ears. I know it sounds daft but it was just instinct.

rebecca 3 years ago

My daughter is deaf in her right ear, too be honest reading the article and all the comments made me want to cry. I don't want her life to be any harder than what it properly already will be. It makes me sad that she will properly struggle in social situations and locating a sound.

I feel guilty too as something must happened during my pregnancy or birth to cause this.

Vanadis profile image

Vanadis 3 years ago from Barcelona Author

It is mind blowing to read so many comments and responses from people with the same experiences, clearly SSD is much more common than I realised when writing this article. Thanks to everyone for your input and sorry I haven't replied to you all sooner!

Andy: in a way having no ear must help because people can see that you wouldn't hear normally on that side, if the defect is invisible it can lead to many more misunderstandings and people thinking you are just ignoring them etc. But I can see it would make some things more awkward too. Congratulations on becoming a dad :)

Rebecca: please don't feel sad about it or blame yourself! SSD can be caused by many things, most of them unavoidable. And as far as disabilities go, it is an incredibly mild one and most of us manage just fine- there are even some benefits!

Grace 3 years ago

OMG I'm 19 and I don't have hearing in my right ear-since birth. I can TOTALLY relate to everything that you have written. I can manage fine with my current condition, but I do worry a lot about my good ear getting worse as I age... Is this unnecessary??

Sue 3 years ago

Ha ha! Loved this write up. I became SSD last year and this is all so totally true. Gotta learn to live with it!

Tracey 3 years ago

I lost the hearing in my right ear thirty years ago in my late teens following several years of chronic middle ear infection which had largely been dismissed by a family GP. Whilst at school I was bullied and became very reserved but continued to study and found myself facing a practical examination in noise for A level physics. My GP when asked to provide a note to the examination board described my deafness as psychosomatic! I wish I had challenged this at the time as it added to my problems of being taken seriously. Even when I was diagnosed a year later with a cholesteatoma and had to undergo emergency surgery, the impact on my hearing was still underestimated by my family and friends. I have adapted to my hearing loss over three decades but this is the first time I have read about similar experiences and it has been really helpful and has brought a smile to my face about some of the situations. My husband is very supportive now but his misunderstanding initially caused a number of arguments and it has taken time together with his father also losing some of his hearing for him to begin to understand. For years I refused to tell people of my impairment having been ridiculed at school but I no longer worry or get frustrated when those I have told forget. Hearing several conversations at once is a pain particularly when you work in an open plan environment. My hearing in my good ear remains fine. Social situations can still be challenging - until recently my sister lived adjacent to a main road where you had to listen for oncoming traffic above the drone of aircraft noise to exist her property. I avoided visiting her rather than face this challenge particularly as my sister could not understand the nature of my problem. I work in a situation where I have daily contact with the public, I ask people to write down their contact details if I am struggling to hear what they are saying as this avoids lots of returned e-mails. It is only on rare occasions I qualify this by stating that I have a problem with my hearing and often I find that the reason they are talking softly is because they too have a similar issue.

Jacob 3 years ago

Thank you for writing this! I've had SSD since I was infant. Now I'm a teenager, and being with my friends at events can be very difficult. To be honest, I was feeling pretty down about. I feel much better. The only part that really really really annoys me is the crowd noise part, I can't focus in on somebody talking to me because of all the rest of the noise. They have to been sitting right next to me in most cases in order for me to grasp the idea. However, I except this minor (yet sometimes extremely annoying) disability as a cross to bear for Jesus Christ. I hope the little suffering I have to endure in this life, can somehow help compensate for the sufferings of Jesus on the cross due to my sins.

Sigh 2 years ago

I have SSD, I suppose mine came to be when I fell on my head as a child, at about the age of 3. However I didn't lose full hearing on my right ear, actually I can hear 30% (hearing tests say) and 100% or more on my left, if more then 100% actually exists, the doc said something like, it's very strange but my left ear can actually make out direction whether something is coming from left or right and I suppose this is due to still being able to hear 30% on my right side. I wonder how good I can actually hear because it's not really like if someone is on my right side, that I don't hear them at all, I can even make out whispering, depending on the voice and articulation it seems. Actually I wish I could experience full hearing in order to do what I love to do most with the utmost efficiency, exactly you guessed it music!

Arul 2 years ago

Hi There, I am deaf on my right ear and partially deaf on my left ear. I have faced this Chinese Whisper game situation many times when i was a kid. Rather than participating, I would opt out. Although I wear a hearing aid but i find it kind of useless when i am in a noisy environment. I also love listening to music. There were many situations where my friends would ask me about the music after listening from either TV or music speakers. I could never appreciate the music until hear it straight from the ear-phone from which i could hear only from my left ear. It was interesting to learn about the mono-splitters. Didn't know about this until i came across this site by chance. Could someone here please tell me where i could buy this mono-splitters and how can i connect this to my Ipod touch?

Thanks & Regards...

Kami 2 years ago

I am 33 and lost my hearing in my left ear earlier in 2013. Like you, I am counting my blessings that I'm still able to hear out of my right ear (the specialists are confident this will always be the case although they still have no clue why I suddenly lost hearing on my left side). Although I'm most time sad about the difficulty experienced in a social setting, I am so happy of how positively losing hearing in my left ear has impacted my performance at work. It is so much easier to focus and for whatever reason I feel more empowered! Reading your page made me feel comfort, and a connection that I'm unable to achieve with anyone I know. Thanks for being you and for sharing!

Brittany Bowman 2 years ago

This has actually helped me.I was born with CMV (Cyltpomegavirus)which can cause deafness, blindness, and retardation, so I consider myself lucky. I've been deaf in my right ear since second grade and now I'm a junior in high school. I still struggle to hear at school and work because of all the noises,but I deal with it. I've been meaning to get a hearing appointment, but haven't had the time. Thanks for the help!

Timothy 2 years ago

This is an awesome article. Pinpointed all the benefits and cons of having SSD. It feels awesome that someone else out there experiences almost all or all of the symptoms. Do people with SSD qualify to get the benfits of a disabled person? like scholarships for disabled students?

Z55177 profile image

Z55177 2 years ago

Hello, just read this amazing article. Sent it to my friends and co-workers. And my fiancée, who, while he loves me and is understanding as possible, is sometimes insensitive (doesn't mean to be), about my problem: "You really didn't what they said? Do you really have to have the volume all the way up? Want me to turn on subtitles?" Etc. This will help him a great deal to stop reminding me/making me feel bad. :)

I really want to thank you for coming out and writing this, it not only made me sympathize over the same issues I share, but I was also very surprised to learn about 4 new "limits" I had no idea about (so I cried a little to myself - but I don't pity myself or anything, 90% of the time I have no idea/don't care that I'm "disabled", only when people are being really rude or I'm having a tough time with a crowd noise I get reminded that I'm not like the others, but within 1 second I move on. I cried because I never realized there were other limits, so that made me feel a little more disabled and it hurt a bit. For example, when my fiancée will get his long-awaited surround sound speakers, I won't be able to share his joy, and it'll really suck if he keeps saying: "How awesome is this? Can you hear how realistic the audio is?" since I wouldn't know and can't judge).

As someone already born deaf in their right ear in 1991, my parents were the ones to receive the most of the information as I was too little to remember/understand any of it. I vaguely remember the blowing audio test. My parents taught me to hide this disability, and I only reveal it to the closest people to me, or when I'm getting bullied at work (being mocked at school when I was little is nothing compared to being ridiculed as a waitress that I am now as an adult).

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. They assume I'm either not paying attention to them, or really stupid. Or, needing refills or checks, instead of making eye contact/hand signals while I observe my work station, talking to my deaf side as I pass them by, then getting mad that I "purposely ignored them". If I asked you if you needed anything, and watched you long enough after to make sure, you can't get mad when I'm serving someone else and can't hear you, or hear and not being able to know who exactly needs me. I also can't really run around every single table all the time just to make sure I didn't mishear, it's just not possible, especially if it's busy and people need to be waited on, tables cleaned, dishes washed, etc etc. I'd love to stay by but I have other duties also.

Makes me want to wear a huge sign on my head pointing to my ear about being partially deaf sometimes. That would shut up all the jerks and maybe shame them a little (since I only tell the worst customers about the deafness to cool them a bit, or the regulars who actually tell me to "stop daydreaming and listen carefully.")

Anyway (sorry for the rant, I feel so much better getting this off my chest), I know exactly what it was like being little with this, from kids treating you as a weirdo or a dummy, to teens getting exasperated with you at every group gathering since you would be sure to ruin the mood with the constant "what's" and "one more time, please", to adults at work either reminding you to "pay attention" and getting displeased with you because they have no idea what you're going through! Heck, I bet 100% that those who knew about my SSD didn't know/couldn't imagine what exactly it was like! And I rarely talk about my disability to others, too, since it can be hard to explain why I do things a certain (to them funny or quirky) way, and how exactly it does feel to be a SSD.

So once again, thank you so much for making me feel like I belong, and having someone who can understand what I'm going through sometimes and whom I can relate to in return.

IMHO, there should be a forum where SSDs can share funny or sad stories with other SSDs, as well as getting additional info/help with their conditions (like people with autism/relatives with autism or caring for loved ones with dementia, for example - they have really good and very informative forums with live chats and feedbacks, helping each other as a community).

RFB 2 years ago

Your description was perfect for me, except for your "deaf side", which is the opposite from mine. I have perforation of my left eardrum and you said all the things I often have to explain to people when they try to whisper something at my ear. (Oh lord, please don't.)

Thanks for sharing this in such perfect words. I have already spread the article to my entire family, so that they will finally understand why I actually enjoy some consequences of my partial deaf.

Angie W 2 years ago

I was so happy to find your article...gave me something to relate to! I have SSD after, get this, holding in a sneeze! Oye...the specialists said that my eardrum is fine but they think I tore a tiny membrane way in the inner ear, which can obviously never be repaired. It was very nice to see that others feel the same as I do...and PS I really want that sign in the photo for when I'm in areas with alot of people! lol

claire b 2 years ago

Wow! Made me smile and feel sad at the same time.i have 2sons that are h.o.h. my 14yr old has recently had 2operations on his left ear to remove chlosteatoma. It had damaged his bones in the ear and they have made his ear canal larger now and he wears and aid to help him at school. He lip reads alot and is tired after school but copes really well. Although i knew some of what u wrote u opened my eyes even more to it other son who is h.o.h is 3yrs old. He had his first set of h.aids at 10wks old.his h.tests r never the same at the moment. All we know is he is mild in the left and moderate in the right. He is amazing as his speech and learning is on target and above for his age and i owe that to my eldest son because of his understanding and experience in the deaf world. Thanku so much for writing this. :)

Kerry 2 years ago

I can totally relate to all of this! I've been half deaf in one ear for 3 years now since I was 16, I don't know why! I have a hearing aid and I don't find it helps at all, the screeching of it distracts and frustrates me so much. Sometimes I find it really overwhelming especially when you become the topic of peoples jokes. I never knew you could get a mono splitter so I am definitely going to have to invest in one because I love music and barely hearing it on my headphones is an actual nightmare!

Linda 2 years ago

Fantastic article. This could have been written about my experience. The chinese whispers game was a favourite at my old Guide unit. I hated it, until one leader realised and simply reversed the way round the circle the game went. Another example of somebody being prepared to adapt, but treat a child normally. awesome. My favourite was being able to sleep in University halls of residence even when the person in the room above me had really poor taste in music and liked to play it late into the night.

Daniel 2 years ago

I love this article . I became SSD after having a tumor removed from the hearing nerve on my left side in 2005 and have had SSD since Many of these things you mention in this article I have experienced and just would like to say its is difficult to deal with on certain days but others are better hang in there everyone with SSD and be strong

Claudine 2 years ago

Great article. I can totally relate to all of your experiences. I can hear on my left ear and totally deaf in my right ear. It's good to know that I'm not the only one who suffers with SSD. It motivates me to do more and never pity myself about my situation. I'm thankful because at least I can still hear. Thank you for writing this article! :-)

Justin 2 years ago

Im 25 and lost 98% of my hearing in my right ear when I was 19.. just woke up from a nap and my ear started ringing and never heard a sound out of that ear again.. I had the bone anchored hearing aid (Baja, Ponto) and it was nice at first, but jusr sits in my drawer now.. some of you might benefeit.. do the research

Raghav 2 years ago

Very descriptive article, I can relate to almost everything in there..... complete deafness in my right year since birth.... And some nice tips in it too, next time i go to a movie with someone who knows the dialogues, they r sitting to my right.

ps: things u forgot:-

1) Easy to tune out your mom when she scolds u, but if she says "what did i just say", ur screwed

2) friends who know about ur condition give you their awesome ear phones once they have damaged one side, i have a whole collection, everything from skullcandy to bose, courtesy of a music loving friend, who breaks a new one every 6 weeks

3) sometimes people who know about it, including family, dont exactly realise how it can affect u in everyday life, and it gets awkward... really awkward, dont even remember how many extra scoldings i got from my mom for "not paying attention", coz thats the only i could explain not listening to things....

4) I use 3 alarm clocks and still sleep through em while the entire corridor in my hostel woke up from em, left ear tighly against the pillow again.... then again.... my roomate's alarm doesn't wake me :P

Tess 2 years ago

your article is spot on. I have had ssd since birth. And can relate to everyones comments as well. For me as a child it was very confusing especially in school. Teachers did not have an understanding of ssd. It was a very frustrating time for me. And I fell victim to bullying.

Now as an adult I have embraced my life and have learned that life is about adjustments.

graeme 2 years ago

Thank you so much for writing this article, I too had no idea that ssd was so common. I lost my hearing in my left ear completely by the time I was 6 due to problems with my ear drum and repeated infections which meant repeated operations to cut out all the internal components of my ear. Now I'm 29 I have no memory of what it was like to be able to hear in both ears and everything you talked about in your article rung true with me. My dad also had the same thing happen to him when he was 3 years old which led me to believe it was hereditary. We're having our first daughter in 4 weeks and I'll be keeping this article for her to read if she turns out to have ssd. Again thank you for writing this article.

Jamie 2 years ago

Thanks so much for this article! I was born deaf on one side and never knew why I could never locate my phone when it was ringing and hear where sounds came from! Now i know it's not just me and that loads more people suffer just like me!

Louisa 2 years ago

Can I please copy your photo of the ear which says 'out of order' onto my blog?

Lauren 2 years ago

Can't believe how scarily true this post is, I knew people suffered from this but I didn't know it was this common.. I myself have suffered with SSD from an early age.. my mum always used to shout me from downstairs and obviously I could never hear her, she thought it was just me being ignorant and choosing not to hear her so one day she took me the hospital to get my ears syringed thinking this would work and still my hearing was no better. I then went through all the necessary tests and the MRI scan confirmed it. I've always had good grades at school and it has never stopped me from doing what I want to do. Everyone who knows me knows to automatically jump to my right (good) ear so I can hear them properly :).

Can I just ask as well when anyone was diagnosed with this did the doctor say this could prevent you from travelling to tropical countries, because the vaccinations people need before they travel there's something in that that could make you go completely deaf? bare in mind this was a long time ago the doctor told me this when I was diagnosed but every time I have mentioned it now to new doctors they haven't a clue what I am on about!?

Ram 2 years ago

I feel extremely connected in reading through your article. I have been suffering due to SSD from the age of 15 and it had a serious impact on my male personality and it gradually eroded my confidence and i was unable to find my sexual partner for quite a long time and i made a compromise in selecting my partner at last when i married at around the age of 30.I am now 40 and here i would like to present some thing that i have written in my personal diary few weeks back before i saw your article. I would be glad if you can reply to my post.Please read these following lines ..

I always have a feel that because of my disability, which has become quite glaring now, I can be ridiculed in public by people and so I tend to act in a very submissive and lenient way with the people and I will try to become close with the people by opening some of my other weaknesses and also by treating my own self very shabbily in a very self deprecating manner, I believe that I will not give roam for others to hurt me. It is more like hurting my own self before others do. What really happens is, many people will pity me and due to sympathy may treat me like a child and will not hurt me. But whether this has worked out or not is a big question. The question that I have to ask myself is whether a Disabled person can live a dignified life in this world. I am not fully crippled but still in some places it is quite obvious that I am disabled to a good degree. Though there are advantages in living like a kid, but for a matured human being it is extremely bad in getting treated like a kid. It is important for me, to change my behavior and I should not let others to take control of me. I am not getting things done through a stern assertiveness but by going down from my level and through submission of my ego. Whether really I like this kind of behavior is a serious question? I feel hurt and impotent

Sarah 2 years ago

Hey, Thanks. Really great article, can't believe that it has taken me this long to look up info about SSD. I have been deaf in my right ear since I was three, I am now 36. I was diagnosed with Whooping cough and this apparently damaged the nerves to my brain, causing permanent total deaf in one ear.

I love the bit about spinning round to find your friends, I totally do the same thing when trying to locate someone shouting at me from a distance. My friends and family have also finally got used to me suddenly changing sides on them when we are out walking down the street. Its so hard to walk straight when your neck is craning so far to right that you are nearly looking backwards, just so that you can hear what they are saying.

Great to know there are many more SSD people out there, managing to have successful lives whilst learning to live with a hidden disability.

Robert 2 years ago

I became profoundly deaf in one ear and lost the use of my balance organ just about a year ago. I am bookmarking this page for those moments when it gets difficult to cope. It's reassuring to read that the things I find difficult are completely normal with SSD, and great to read all the positives! Thank you

stacey 2 years ago

I have SSD as well, and its pretty difficult at times, I feel alone, and feel as if people pitty me after ive told them about it.

elena 2 years ago

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.

rahul mishra 2 years ago

dear sir,

I am deaf in one ear.

Can i get a 40% physical disability certificate

Ger 23 months ago

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... ?

Harry 23 months ago

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

A R. Marak 19 months ago

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

SSD LOVE 18 months ago

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...

SSD love 18 months ago

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...

SSD love 18 months ago


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"

Kelly 18 months ago

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

Livewithit 15 months ago

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!

Lori 15 months ago

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!

Banana 14 months ago

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!

Grzegorz 13 months ago

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.

Rimuzin 13 months ago

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.

Elaine 13 months ago

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.

ianken51 11 months ago

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. :-)

Mitchell B. 10 months ago

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! :)

Hello 9 months ago

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.

Don 8 months ago

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.

Shelley H 8 months ago

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.

zaib 8 months ago

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

Charil 7 months ago

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 :)

navisk3 6 months ago

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.

Victoria 6 months ago

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.

ree dee 4 months ago

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.

Chris d 3 months ago

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.

Will62 3 months ago

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!

Casey 2 months ago

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 :)

Yvonne 2 months ago

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

anil 2 months ago

is ssd comes in handicap category

Catherine W 2 months ago

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?

zion kairua 8 weeks ago

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

AM 8 weeks ago

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

Kiba 7 weeks ago

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.

Dr Jacqueline Payne 6 weeks ago

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

Brooke 6 weeks ago

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.

ALex 5 weeks ago

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.

Millie 5 weeks ago

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.

Donna 4 weeks ago

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!

Feria 2 weeks ago

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!

Tom 2 weeks ago

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.

Livewithit 2 weeks ago

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!

Kishore G 3 days ago

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.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article