Good Unilateral Hearing Loss And Academic Performance Literature Review Example

Type of paper: Literature Review

Topic: Deaf, Hearing, Hearing Loss, Students, Children, Family, Conversation, Education

Pages: 8

Words: 2200

Published: 2021/01/19

<Name/roll number>


This article studies children with unilateral hearing loss i.e. deafness in one ear while having low or complete normal other ear. The studies are made to understand the relationship of students with unilateral hearing loss and how it effects their academic performance and what types of steps should be taken in order to normalize the classrooms for both types of students. Unilateral hearing loss in the past was considered to have little consequence on their academic performance, but recent research has shown it affects the proper development of language and speech skills. This is shown to cause behavioral and educational problems when compared with children having normal hearing capabilities. Children of school age having unilateral hearing loss from a review of literature might result in increased grade failure for children, resulting in increased need for educational assistance. It might also result in perceived behavioral issues for students in the classroom. Language and speech delays are seen to occur for children with Unilateral Hearing Loss, but there is not a lot of research to investigate if they can catch up as they grow up. This research will focus on clarifying these issues and ascertain if interventions might prevent potential issues.
1.0 Introduction
Unilateral hearing loss is a type of hearing loss because of which a patient can only listen though one side of his ear and in the other ear, a slight or severe hearing loss will be present. There are many causes of unilateral hearing loss, such as damages in physical form to ears; compression of hearing nerve; physical trauma, circulatory system disorder and inner ear infections can cause Single Sided Deafness. People with Single Sided Deafness have to be admitted at special schools because in normal schools they have problem understanding everything and are perceived as socially awkward. Unilateral hearing loss is detected in early stages through birth screening programs and in many cases are treatable, but total single sided deafness is incurable. The problem is of a serious nature as about 45% of diagnosed babies in Indiana are being identified with Unilateral Hearing Loss. Unilateral hearing loss makes life of patients hard and increases dependency. In the United Kingdom, it is estimated that about 9000 people develop the single sided deafness every year. People with single sided deafness since birth have trouble understanding words and their pronouncing and most of the time have to rely on hand gestures throughout their life for communication. In ICD-10 standards, unilateral hearing loss is standardized as H90.1-H90.4-H90.7. Hearing loss may lead to loss in academic performance as symptoms of hearing loss start include problems in understanding speech in the presence of background noise, localization of sound and in understanding speech making socialization and interpersonal relations hard. Known diseases which relate to hearing loss unilaterally are Physical trauma, mumps, mastoiditis, meningitis, acoustic neuroma, measles and Waardenburg syndrome.
In recent studies, it was found that people with single sided deafness have the greatest level of handicap than people with total deafness. Through this literature review a study is to be made to investigate if the presence of single sided deafness has an impact on the academic performance of students. Students with single sided deafness are perceived to be socially awkward and SSD, which makes them unable to converse with individuals. Their brain is unable to beam sounds and distinguish between normal sound and noise. A person with Single Sided Deafness will have light dizziness, jumpiness, frequent headaches and lack of sound depth. The focus of this investigation is to study if unilateral hearing loss affects the academic performance of students or not. People with single sided deafness have no ability to target sound, resulting in making them receive useless sounds even in more important situations.
2.0 Statement of Problem
As described earlier, Unilateral Hearing Loss in children may lead to delays in speech and language development. They will have trouble localizing sound, become easily irritated, and become highly distracted. For minor children, unilateral hearing loss may lead to other mental or physical disabilities. So, they should be monitored regularly for changes in ears, body, eyes and nose. For children older than 3, evaluations should be done from three to six months intervals so that any other disorder or change in ear’s capabilities are detected earlier. A child with Unilateral hearing loss is ten times more likely to fail grades in school than a normal child because children with unilateral hearing loss need to be a few feet away from a subject to listen to it properly. Sadly, no treatment is available for children with hearing loss as it is a birth defect, but it can minimize to an extent by using hearing aids.
A student with single sided deafness is never able to perform like a normal student because he cannot understand the conversation taking place inside a classroom. A student with SSD will not be able to figure out where the sound is coming from and will rely heavily on moment of lips to understand what is being said. For a normal institution where student strength in a single class exceeds 45 and students are interacting with teachers a lot, the student will SSD will never be able to understand the conversation and will feel like a totally left out. Unilateral hearing loss causes patient to face difficulties in understanding the direction from which sound is coming from. Hence being unable to understand, concentrate and know what’s happening around. A person with SSD is not able to judge between the frequency of sounds and brain ignores sounds in the background so a tap water running nearby will be clear but a person talking beside them might not be heard. The easiest way to describe the difference between a normal student and an impaired student is that the impaired one is listening to mono, while the normal student is listening to stereo sound.
Kupplera, Lewisb, & Evans (2013) for their research study asked an impaired student how it feels to sit in normal class and she described it as the worst experience. “I was a left out and I never understood what the teacher was saying and what everyone was talking about, I could hear only little parts of the conversation and had to rely on lip moment to understand the conversation and what the teacher was saying. Now I’ve moved to impaired college and rely on hand moments for study and conversation, but it’s better than other experiences”. Students with unilateral hearing loss don’t have a sense of language and have to rely on the symbol language for communication which makes it hard for them to understand languages on an academic level. Moreover, a study by the British Acoustic Neuroma Association shows that once hit with SSD, Patients had 100% more problems in the workplace and one third of total job personnel’s were forced to quit the job. About 23% percent of patients have been found to have tried digital aids to help them live their life normally. Since Unilateral Hearing Loss affects the brain and requires the patient to concentrate more, the patients were found to feels extremely exhausted after school hours. Eventually fifty percent of patients under study admitted that they had to leave the studies . About 100% of patients with Unilateral hearing loss admitted that they are not able to study and understand anything in the class anymore and try to avoid it because of social pressure.
3.0 Review
It is evident that children with hearing loss have 10 times greater chance of failing grades in school as they won’t be able to understand the lectures. Moreover, about fifty percent of children with hearing loss are diagnosed in early school days, which makes their learning process harder as their first childhood days are filled with noise and sound localization problems. Even in the play field, it becomes extremely difficult for children with hearing loss to understand what is being said and how to react to certain situations as mind has to concentrate more on ‘what is being said’ than ‘what should be done’. Adverse hearing loss is observed to affect the negative effect of speech and academic performance for children. Effects of unilateral hearing loss not only encompass negative auditory effects, but it also results in exhaustion and decreased self -esteem. Some studies show that though children with normal hearing have a psychological advantage, it alone does not determine improved academic skills.
3.1 Hearing Loss causes
Sudden hearing loss may be because of a trauma, it may be caused due to obstruction of cerumen or otitis external. Conductive loss has roots to earn and defines dizziness and pain with hearing loss, may be caused by granulation tissue in the canal and can be reason of ear trauma. Single sided deafness due to inner ear may be because of genetic disorders, noise exposure, presbycusis and Meniere syndrome, other reasons may include head trauma, barotrauma, autoimmune disorder and infections like meningitis. The noise exposure may be because of listening to loud explosion near the damaged ear or because of wearing headphones on high volume for too long (Fischer & Lieu, 2014).
3.2 Hearing Loss medication
Single sided deafness is incurable, but it can be minimized by medication and by using hearing aids. Most of time, the students with hearing loss are put in special schools, along with children with total deafness, but it can be avoided if the student is given proper medical treatment.
3.3 Dangers to student with hearing loss
Unilateral hearing loss may just be beginning of tumor and it should be checked and, if possible, the tumor should be repaired or removed. The unilateral hearing loss often ends with total deafness. It can only be sorted out by regular monitoring.
The students with hearing loss should avoid driving in public as only one ear can receive and they may be totally blind about a situation or horns from the other side of traffic. The student should avoid listening to high frequency sounds and loud volume music as their other ear may be damaged too.
3.4 Study of hearing loss
It should be noticed that one in five of children with single sided deafness had severe social problems. The unilateral hearing loss also affects the brain development and causes a pause in language and understanding skills of patients. It is estimated that a student with unilateral hearing loss is more likely to repeat his first grade than normal children. Children with unilateral hearing loss may appear to be just fine in eyes of teachers and students. In reality they have severe problems, as a result of difficulties in sound localization. Children with single sided deafness are not able to identify the path or location the sound is coming from, hence it makes them feel confused when their name is being called even in range of 5 meters (EHDI professionals, 2011).
A simple solution for children with hearing loss is to get them a hearing aid and visit an ENT specialist once in three months to monitor development in ears. If a child is sitting in class with a damage ear towards the teacher and healthy ear towards backbenchers, he will not be able to understand a single word teacher has said. Even walking by a person near damage ear cannot be felt, however, that is case with severe ear damage (Lim & Chao, 2014).
4.0 Hypothesis
Children with unilateral hearing loss are ten times more likely to fail grades as their ears cannot define the path of sound, it’s coming from and also they cannot distinguish between noise and important sound, making it hard for them to understand some speeches and speech from their damaged ear at all. Single Sided Deafness is more problematic than total deafness as the patient keeps listening to useless sounds as well and unable to identify the useful one. It is the main reason they are left behind in studies and fail in college. Almost 40% of patients with unilateral hearing loss have admitted that school was an alien experience as they were unable to understand a single word at all. It is required that students with unilateral hearing loss are treated with hearing aids and classrooms are managed keeping them in mind.
5.0 Conclusion
Academic performance of students with hearing loss is not a question, but how to treat the issue is, if a student is put in special education along with children with complete deafness, he may never be able to feel normal again and will start relying heavily on hand-sign language. It is required that such children are supported with language development with appropriate therapy. The children with unilateral hearing loss should be provided with clear speech and communication so that they can easily understand what is being said. Speech should be implemented with children to help them with conversation understanding.
Speech can be implemented as Statement of topic before starting the conversation; placement of conversation at a moderate speed and to keep the conversation with pauses; clear lip moment to help children understand better and use of body gestures to provide better support in conversation understanding (Kushalnagar et al., 2010). Children with unilateral hearing loss should be treated kindly as they may possess the social awkwardness and teacher should keep their disability in mind while communicating with the whole class so that they don’t feel alone or left out.


EHDI Professionals. (2011). Unilateral Hearing Loss Guidance. Indiana: EHDI .
Entific medical systems. (2014). Hearing the Other Side. Chicago: Sidan.
Fischer, C., & Judith Lieu. (2014). Unilateral hearing loss is associated with a negative effect on language scores in adolescents. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 1611-1617.
Friedman, A. B. (2013). Risk analysis of unilateral severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss in children. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 1128-1131.
G.Y.Zang. (2015). Changes in the default mode networks of individuals with long-term unilateral sensorineural hearing loss. Neuroscience, 333-342.
Kupplera, K., Lewisb, M., & Evans, A. K. (2013). A review of unilateral hearing loss and academic performance: Is it time to reassess traditional dogmata? International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 617-622.
Kushalnagar, P., Mathur, G., Moreland, C., Napoli, D., Osterling, W., Padden, C., & Rathmann, C. (2010). "Infants and children with hearing loss need early language access", Journal of Clinical Ethics, 21(2): 143 - 154.
Lim, E.-J., & Cho, H.-P. (2014). A case of bilateral enlarged vestibular aqueducts and unilateral hearing loss at birth. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology Extra, 128-131.
SSCHL. (2015, march 2). unilateral hearing loss. Retrieved from Sucess for kids with hearing loss:
Yang, M. (2014). Brain structural and functional alterations in patients with unilateral hearing loss. Hearing Research, 37-43.

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