by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
This report from Harvard Medical School states that chronic conductive hearing loss, a condition that can result from repeated middle-ear infections, may interfere with speech recognition.
People with unilateral hearing loss are often reluctant to wear a hearing aid on one side because their good ear allows them adequate hearing. But researcher Stephane Maison and colleagues found that people with unilateral conductive hearing loss, such as that caused by chronic ear infections, appeared to develop changes consistent with neural damage found in hidden hearing loss.
Based on this research, Maison and colleagues recommend that clinicians and patients should consider treating unilateral hearing loss to prevent neural deficits that can lead to difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments.
Dr. Daniel Fink is a leading noise activist based in the Los Angeles area. He is the founding chair of The Quiet Coalition, an organization of science, health, and legal professionals concerned about the impacts of noise on health, environment, learning, productivity, and quality of life in America. Dr Fink also is the interim chair of Quiet Communities’ Health Advisory Council, and he served on the board of the American Tinnitus Association from 2015-2018.