J Neurol Surg B 2019; 80(02): 178-186
DOI: 10.1055/s-0038-1677482
Invited Review
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Cochlear Implantation for Single-Sided Deafness: A New Treatment Paradigm

Daniel M. Zeitler
1  Listen for Life Center, Department of Otolaryngology/HNS, Virginia Mason Medical Center Seattle, Washington, United States
2  Department of Otolarygology/HNS, Clinical Faculty, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States
Michael F. Dorman
3  Department of Speech and Hearing Science, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, United States
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

18 November 2018

05 December 2018

Publication Date:
04 February 2019 (eFirst)


Unilateral severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), also known as single sided deafness (SSD), is a problem that affects both children and adults, and can have severe and detrimental effects on multiple aspects of life including music appreciation, speech understanding in noise, speech and language acquisition, performance in the classroom and/or the workplace, and quality of life. Additionally, the loss of binaural hearing in SSD patients affects those processes that rely on two functional ears including sound localization, binaural squelch and summation, and the head shadow effect. Over the last decade, there has been increasing interest in cochlear implantation for SSD to restore binaural hearing. Early data are promising that cochlear implantation for SSD can help to restore binaural functionality, improve quality of life, and may faciliate reversal of neuroplasticity related to auditory deprivation in the pediatric population. Additionally, this new patient population has allowed researchers the opportunity to investigate the age-old question “what does a cochlear implant (CI) sound like?.”


This manuscript will discuss the off-label use of an Food and Drug Administration approved device.