Cochlear implant study offers new hope for people with one-sided hearing loss


(WRAL) – People with one-sided hearing loss now have the opportunity to hear out of both ears.

Four years ago veterinarian Dr. Emily Byers experienced pain that felt like a migraine headache. There was no definite diagnosis, but it was followed by total hearing loss in her right ear.

“People think that, “Oh, if you’ve got one ear, you’re still OK. But you’re not,” said Byers.

According to Byers, the experience affected her quality of life.

“When you go out shopping or to the movies or to a restaurant with friends, it’s hard to find where sounds are coming from,” she said. “If I couldn’t see lips, I couldn’t hear. I was essentially deaf, even though I had one working ear.”

Cochlear implants are now common for people with poor or no hearing in both ears. Previously, the implants had not been recommended for people like Byers with unilateral hearing loss.

Thanks to a University of North Carolina study Byers participated in, that’s changing.

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