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The psychological and social consequences of single-sided deafness in adulthood

Lucas, Laura; Katiri, Roulla; Kitterick, P�draig T.

The psychological and social consequences of single-sided deafness in adulthood Thumbnail


Laura Lucas

Roulla Katiri

P�draig T. Kitterick


Objectives: This study examined the subjective psychological and social effects of highly asymmetric hearing loss (single-sided deafness) in adults.
Design: Three group interviews were conducted using the critical incidence technique and analysed using an inductive thematic analysis.
Study sample: Eight adults with a clinical diagnosis of a moderately-severe hearing loss or greater in one ear and normal or near-normal hearing in the other ear.
Results: A range of functional hearing difficulties associated with single-sided deafness including impaired speech in background noise and reduced spatial awareness were reported to affect social and psychological well-being. Social consequences of single-sided deafness resulted from activity limitations and participation restrictions including withdrawal from and within situations. Participants reported psychological effects including worrying about losing the hearing in their other ear, embarrassment related to the social stigma attached to hearing loss, and reduced confidence and belief in their abilities to participate.
Conclusions: Single-sided deafness can be associated with many negative consequences. Counselling may help overcome the psychological consequences of hearing loss regardless of whether technological support such as a hearing aid is prescribed. The audiological management of these individuals should support the development of listening strategies and set appropriate expectations for participation in everyday listening situations.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 23, 2017
Online Publication Date Nov 13, 2017
Publication Date Jan 8, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 26, 2017
Publicly Available Date Nov 14, 2018
Journal International Journal of Audiology
Print ISSN 1499-2027
Electronic ISSN 1708-8186
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 57
Issue 1
Pages 21-30
Keywords unilateral hearing loss; unilateral deafness;
single-sided deafness; SSD; hearing function; listening difficulties; psychosocial impact; critical incidence technique
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Audiology on 13 Nov 2017, available online:


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