Head Shadow effect in unilateral hearing loss.

Timothy C. Hain, MD

Page last modified: July 10, 2021

The "head shadow" is one of the disadvantages experinced by people who are deaf on one side. Sound coming from the "deaf side", has to pass through the head to get to the functioning ear on the other side. This makes it hard to hear sounds from coming from the direction of the deaf ear, and this is called the "head shadow".

The head may attenuate speech intensity by 6.4 dB. The head shadow effect varies by frequency for pure tones, increasing at high frequencies (up to 20 dB at 5000 and 6000 Hz).