Acoustic Neuroma Hearing Loss – Strategies For Coping With One Sided Deafness

Often one of the symptoms of acoustic neuroma is single sided hearing loss. Depending on the tumor size, type of treatment and other factors, single sided deafness or near deafness can be one of the outcomes of treatment.  

If you are living with one sided hearing loss or deafness, you may be familiar with some of the following scenarios.

You are walking down the street, or across campus, or through a parking lot. A friendly voice is calling your name. Your look around but can’t see who it is. They continue to cheerfully call out, “Over here!” Each time you ask where, they again call out, “Over here!”

You are in a noisy restaurant at a work related meeting. You can’t hear the person beside you on the side of your deaf ear. You can hear some of what the person on your other side is saying. You can hear some of what the person across from you is saying. You can’t hear your boss, who called the meeting. You hope you aren’t missing any important information

You are at a social get together. Not everyone there knows you well or knows about your single sided deafness. You are doing your best to participate and to fit in. You are picking up the gist of the conversation with those right across from you or right next to your hearing ear. In fact, you are doing a bit of grinning and nodding, and making a few comments here and there, which you hope are relevant.  You happen to look to the side of your deaf ear, and see that the person sitting beside you is moving their lips. They seem to be talking to you. You have no idea how long they have been speaking. They do not seem to notice that you have not heard a single word.  

The following tips are being offered to help you cope:

*Use visual cues and knowledge of your environment to figure out where a voice is coming from.

*Use seating arrangements to your advantage. With experimenting, you will eventually figure out the best places to sit in a group setting.

*Turn to face a person sitting on your deaf side, even though it feels awkward at first.

*Communicate your needs to others. Be easy on them if they forget. Just tell them again.

*Be easy on yourself. It is not your fault this happened. You owe it to yourself to speak up so others can help to include you.

*Have a sense of humor. The best laid plans are bound to go wrong, and it would behoove you to learn to laugh about it.

*Relax! In most social settings, most people won’t hear most of what is said. You can always catch up with people one on one, later.

*Have a daily relaxation routine, such as breathing exercises, yoga, or walking. It will go a long way toward helping you cope and put things in perspective.

I hope these tips have been helpful to you. I wish you the best on your acoustic neuroma journey.