Afraid of team based online games because of being deaf in one ear

Hi you lot

So now that I got a console and I am in this community I am more exposed to certain games that I have not played in a lot of time. For a reason.

3 years ago I got a weird problem, SSHL, a bit like a stroke but in the ear, since then I lost all the hearing in one ear. I’m not stereo anymore :sweat_smile:, oh and terrible tinnitus :sob:, but thats another story.

The main problem of being “mono” is that I have no clue where the sounds come from. This is really annoying in certain games with a lot of stealth and no accessibility options (Dishonored is awful in this respect). But also I am afraid of really any multiplayer games because

  • I feel cant be aware of my surroundings
  • I dont want to handicap my team mates
  • Voice chat becomes difficult at times because with only one channel your brain struggles to pick words from background noise.

Sometimes I wonder if I could play something that is not a fighting game or a racing game. What kind of multiplayer games would suit me? I dont care about being good but I worry about handicapping my team!


I think it’s very considerate of you to be concerned about how your condition might affect others in a multiplayer game.

However, I don’t think you should let it affect your enjoyment or choice of certain multiplayer games. Lots of people who play games aren’t the best at it for a variety of reasons, and many who play them have disabilities or conditions that may impact their performance. At the end of the day, it’s a game, and is meant for enjoyment, including your own. You don’t even need to use voice chat if you don’t want. I never bother to when I play team games with strangers.

I’m sure if you gave it a shot, you’d find your condition isn’t going to hold you or your team back in multiplayer games as much as you think. And if it does, oh well, it’s just a game, and hopefully you’ll still have had fun.

Best of luck!


Don’t think of it that way. I would recommend a tag team with one member at least who knows you. That way, you know he can fill in some gaps where ambiguity is possible.

Also, avoid getting into multiplayer without partners that don’t know you.

I think we have to use the forum more effectively to call for a coop action.


Having been in a lot of heavy metal bands as a younger person, the tinnitus is REAL (and I hate it)

But yeah, can only echo what other folks have said - and I love the idea of more of the community here working together to make friends and play games.


Thanks for your words.

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I couldn’t add anything better than anyone else has done so, so I would just say, do not worry too much about others. We are none of us playing professionally where we would be expected to be at the top of our game, just try something.

Anyone who would care about your disability affecting you would find any perceived issue and complain anyway (wrong character, wrong gun etc. etc.) and these people are not worth a second of your time.
Anyone who knows you (such as anyone from here) would not care your ability level at all, if everyone was having fun.

Short story, you would only need to be worried about “handicapping” a team of friends, and a team of friends would never feel “handicapped” by you. We all play together, I hope, for the love of the time spent, nothing more.

Agreed! Even though my anxiety would make me almost crippled to try, this is a great idea.

Can confirm :heart: :ear: :drum:


Hi TC. Same thing happened to me in 2013 with the loss of a pet. I woke up a couple of days later and was hard of hearing in my left ear, thinking this was onset of an infection I didn’t think much of it. A few days later I awoke with an odd discharge and tinnitus that sadly still persists to this day. Again, like you sudden sensoneural hearing loss. Luckily it wasn’t due to a tumor, stress.

I also struggle to sense direction of sound in the real world (for those who aren’t familiar, two working ears allow one to correctly pinpoint the direction of sound, a bit like depth perception)

Though I can’t say this has ever really affected me with the headset, I have the voices in my good ear. The key is more likely to limit the number of players you hear at a time via party chat.


I don’t think this should stop you from playing multiplayer games. Apex legends, warzone and fortnite both have a ping system which is a good visual cue. I know in apex you can have text display on the screen if a teammate needs you. The characters will say something like “getting shot!” I think Respawn did a good job with accessibility options in apex.


I have to give Fortnite a lot of props for how they incorporate visual audio.

If you’re not familiar with the feature, it visually represents enemy footsteps, gliders, weapon fire, and chest locations (because they give off an audio cue) in the game.

Not only does it give you full spacial awareness, it allows you to lower the volume of the game so that you can hear your teammates (a setting you can change in the game or in the Xbox if you’re using Live party chat).

A lot of times when doing challenges I don’t have the audio on at all, and I do really well with just the visual audio.

The interesting thing is that they downmix those parts of the audio to mono with his feature (likely so that players who usually play in stereo don’t get another advantage) and so you could also keep the game volume up to your liking and you’re not missing out on anything. But when I play with friends I usually keep the game volume down because we rely on communication to do well (we’re all “boomers” that can’t build, heh).


I saw this in one of Mark Browns videos on accessibility, this and Minecrafts efforts in this specificity are really great to see.

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I would simply suggest to play the games you’d like to play, but simply play with a group that isn’t going to mind your situation. You don’t even need to find any special groups or anything I don’t think, just people who don’t take the games so damn seriously.

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Guess what, I’ve had the same issue since I can remember. Deaf in one ear and tinnitus.

Being I’ve lived with it all my life, I’ve adapted to it. I’m not even quite sure how my handicap could handicap others. Ignorance is bliss I guess.

I suggest just seeing how you do. Play what you enjoy. If possible, don’t use a headset for communication that covers your ears. Let the speakers from your TV or PC be your sound.


That’s amazing. Thanks I might try it. I think I can play fornite as “solo”? Just to give it a try I don’t care if I die early. Last 2 shooters I tried online was Halo 2 on 360 and early TF2 on PC.

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Yes, you can play FN solo so it’s you vs. 99 other people.

You can also play a 20 vs 20 rumble mode with respawn, which is a great way of learning the map, weapons, building in a low pressure environment. It’s competitive but it’s not, if you get what I mean.

There is also a Creative mode that is actually pretty fun if you like designing and making stuff like in Minecraft or Forge in Halo and other games.

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am I right in thinking there are other “sub quest” things you can do to progress even in BR fishing and stuff or something?

You’re right. If you’ve got the Season Battle Pass and want to level up quicker (and get to really high levels that unlock skin variants), you can do challenges that involve all sorts of activities, including fishing. There really isn’t much reward or recognition for doing these various activities, though. And much of these activities aren’t very engaging or fun, they’re more there for the practical elements (fishing gets you health, weapons, and power-ups) while playing a match. But if you catch 250 fish that gives you 12.5Kx4=50K XP total to help level up. 80K is needed to level up from around lvl 20-100.

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Sea of Thieves has recently added mono audio support. Maybe something to check out.


i wanna play this game