Wireless CROS Hearing Aids for Unilateral Hearing Loss
Most people with hearing loss have fairly similar hearing in both ears. After all, you take both ears with you everywhere you go, so they’ve both been exposed to the same things throughout your life! However, some people have hearing loss only in one ear. Potentially, hearing loss which is much worse in one ear than in the other. Some possible reasons for this are a sudden hearing loss due to a viral infection, an ear surgery that results in hearing loss, or having been born with hearing loss in one ear.
Most of the time, a regular hearing aid can help the worse ear. When can your ear be marked unaidable? If your hearing loss is too profound for a hearing aid. If your word recognition scores are very poor in that ear such that a hearing aid just creates more distortion in your hearing. If so, you may be a candidate for a CROS hearing aid!
What is a CROS/BiCROS?
CROS stands for Contralateral Routing Of Sound. This means that the system takes the sound from your bad ear and routes it to the good ear. If your good ear also has hearing loss, the sound will also be amplified according to the good ear’s prescription.
There are a number of advantages to wearing a CROS system. No, it doesn’t allow you to actually hear out of the bad ear. Think about those situations where you’re in a noisy place and someone is trying to speak into your bad ear. All you hear is the noise coming into your good ear! With a CROS system routing the sound from the bad side to the good side, it will be as though that person is speaking into your good ear. Overcoming the effects of the background noise. Another good example is driving in a car. A driver with a good left ear and a poor right ear, or a passenger with a good right ear and a poor left ear, will mostly hear the road noise. With a CROS aid, you will hear your conversation partner, not just road noise!
Single-sided hearing loss can make it difficult to know where sounds are coming from. A CROS system routes the sounds from both sides into the same ear. Once patients try CROS aids, they are able to learn to tell where sounds are coming from.
It used to be the case that CROS systems required a wire running around the back of the head, physically connecting the CROS piece on the bad ear to the hearing aid on the good ear. With the advent of wireless hearing aids, the signal can now be wirelessly transmitted from one ear to the other. Further more CROS systems now look just like any other pair of hearing aids. The typical set looks like a small behind-the-ear hearing aid with a thin wire piping the sound into your ear. There are also custom-made in-the-canal CROS aids available.
If you think you may be a candidate for a CROS aid, call us for a free consultation and technology demonstration!