Research into treatments for single-sided deafness (SSD) has increased a lot in the recent years, which is great news! However, clinical researchers have been adopting a plethora of different outcomes and measures to assess if interventions, like a contralateral routing of signals (CROS) system, a bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA), or restoring interventions like cochlear implants work or not.
A recent systematic review identified 520 unique measures that have been utilised in 96 SSD studies evaluating the therapeutic benefits and harms of SSD interventions. Furthermore, the chosen outcomes to measure are not always considered important or meaningful to our patients.
The Core Rehabilitation Outcome Set for Single Sided Deafness (CROSSSD) study group at the University of Nottingham, alongside patient and public involvement collaborators and an international steering group have set out to address the inconsistency of adopted measures, by developing a ‘core outcome set’ for SSD interventions.
By involving healthcare users with experience in SSD treatments, audiologists, ENT surgeons, clinical researchers, and industry representatives; the CROSSSD study gathered international opinions via Delphi surveys and a web-based consensus meeting and found agreement on three measures that should always be reported on in SSD intervention studies. The core outcomes are (1) Spatial orientation, (2) Group conversations in noisy social situations, and (3) Impact on social situations. Further research will determine how these core outcomes should best be measured.
If all future SSD intervention studies measure these core outcomes as a minimum, we can more easily compare results, improve research quality, and enhance clinical decision-making.