(BPT) - Imagine waking up one morning only to find out you couldn't hear out of one ear. Suddenly, you lose your ability to discern direction, which makes conversations in noisy environments difficult to follow and hearing your favorite sounds of nature a struggle. This is the devastation that Randi Long experienced when she suddenly lost her hearing in her right ear.
'I pulled away from speaking, groups of people and even relationships because it was too hard to explain what was wrong and why I couldn't hear,' says Long.
Long's story is more common than you would think. Her condition, called single-sided deafness (SSD), affects an estimated 60,000 Americans each year, according to Hear-it.org. The term SSD simply means you have little to no hearing in one ear and normal hearing in the other. It can be caused by viral infections - as in Long's case Meniere's disease, head or ear injuries or through the surgical removal of brain tumors.
It can be difficult to grasp the impact of SSD if you haven't experienced it for yourself. As with any type of hearing loss, it can lead to isolation and depression. Normal, everyday activities start to become more and more uncomfortable. Using creative coping mechanisms become a regular occurrence ­- sitting on a certain side of the table or room, telling people to speak into your 'good ear,' avoiding busy restaurants or family gatherings and asking your colleagues to constantly repeat themselves while at the office or in meetings.
When it comes to treatment options for SSD, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that solutions do exist. The bad news is that due to an overwhelming lack of awareness, a lot of people miss out on the life changing impact of treatment. Long's story is a prime example of this. She went 10 years before she learned about the Cochlea Baha System because her doctors simply didn't know it existed. Luckily, she randomly met someone who had one, and then the rest was history.
The Baha System is a unique hearing loss solution that uses your body's natural ability to conduct sound. It is an implantable hearing solution that works by picking up sounds on your deaf side, converting them into sound vibrations and transferring them to your good, working ear via the skull bone. If you think you have SSD, you should visit a Hearing Implant Specialist and ask for a free trial so you can experience the benefits first-hand before making the decision to move forward.
'I can hear all those sounds like I did 10 years ago. I can hear the ocean. I can hear the rain. I can hear the drops fall and hit the pavement. Every day is a new day,' says Long.
The Baha System is covered by Medicare, most private insurance plans and may be covered by Medicaid. To download a free brochure, visit www.Cochlear.com/US/BahaBrochure. To find a Hearing Implant Specialist near you, or to speak with someone who has a Baha System about their experience, contact a Cochlear Concierge by phone at 1-800-216-0228 or via email at Concierge@Cochlear.com.