Best solution for unilateral hearing loss

the way I see it there are really just 2 options

I lost all usable hearing in my right ear and the high frequencies in the left last winter due to a viral infection. I trialed an Oticon Delta, an Oticon Dual and a Phonak Smart V with Bicros. Although I thought that the Dual had the better overall sound quality, I selected the Phonak Bicros because of the head shadow problem with the single aid. I considered a single aid with an FM transmitter. but rejected the idea without a trial because it seemed too cumbersome to deal with a handheld transmitter on a routine basis. I’m not an expert by any means, but cannot see why two conventional aids would be an advantage. Some of the features of the higher end aids would probably not be usable and I would think the cost would be higher. The Pros need to jump in here with real information if I’m wrong in this. Vic

I would say there is a 3rd and 4th option not mentioned:

  1. A TransEar. It looks very much like a small BTE but the earmold portion rests in the bony portion of the ear canal on the deaf side. It uses bone conduction to transmit the sound to the better side. The ear with normal hearing doesn’t have to wear a receiver at all, a unit is only worn on the side without hearing.

  2. This one uses the same principle of bone conduction to transmit the sound from the dead side to the side with normal hearing but it is accomplished via a Bone-Anchored-Hearing-Aid (BAHA) which is not considered a hearing aid at all by insurance standards and may be covered by insurance. It does require surgery. A housing is surgically implanted in the mastoid bone and the BAHA is snapped in/out of this housing. They were initially designed (I believe) for individuals who could not wear a hearing aid (no ear canal, chronically draining ear, etc.) but has been used in more recent years for single-sided deafness. You can try the BAHA by using a headband to see if it is something that would work for you before undergoing any permanent solutions. You can go to this site to find a clinic in your area that is a provider of BAHA devices. I fit 2 of these about 5 years ago and the patients really loved them.

As for the Phonak CROS system, it can be used with any of the Spice platform HA’s, not just the very high-end products. I have fit 3 of these and although they do work marvelously, the battery life is abominable…only 2 days in most cases. For people who have used older CROS/Bi-CROS systems in the past, the switch to the far smaller device with more noise reduction features on it is worth the additional cost in batteries/year…but for some it may not be.

I would go with the Phonak Audeo S Smart V with the CROS (don’t waste your money on the IX since you lose some features like zoomcontrol while using the CROS). You can balance the mics between the CROS and the Audeo to ensure equal volume coming from both sides. Also, your better ear will benefit from the sound recover. Another thing, the hook that comes with CROS doesn’t work too well so ask your audiologist/hearing aid specialist to attach a receiver to it. The CROS will stay in the ear better and be more comfortable.

what if the aid was kept in zoom control at all times?

Most people don’t. Honestly, until a colleague pointed it out to me as an option for single-sided deafness I didn’t think of it either.

Yes I would probably avoid the highest technology since the StereoZoom is not an option, there has to be binaural hearing for the StereoZoom to work. The transmitter unit is only that, a transmitter.

The battery will drain with the CROS/Bi-CROS option within 48 hours for the transmitter. If you select an aid with a size 13 battery (traditional BTE or Full-shell ITE) as the receiver/hearing aid then you will get probably 3-4 days, maybe 5 out of the battery. If you select a RIC that matches the transmitter unit then you will still only get about 48 hours.

I believe the software does take into account some head-shadowing effects, however, you will be hearing everything in your good ear so it will all seem like it’s coming from that side, even if it is being transmitted from the poor ear slightly before the good ear hears it on it’s own.

The transmitter will continue to transmit a signal when the Hearing Aid is in a directional mode so you will be hearing input from both sides. I would not keep a hearing aid in directional mode all the time.

Looks like phonak has 2 new cros solutions.

Stereozoom is not an option because this feature uses binaural mapping and a CROS transmitter isn’t a hearing aid…even if it was it’s not true binaural hearing since the one good ear is the only one hearing - monaural listening. Stereozoom (and I would think any circuit that uses binaural processing of some sort) requires binaural hearing.

you are correct, binaural hearing is required to take maximum advantage of these binaural features.

The problem doesn’t lie in the hearing aid…it lies in the brain.

Someone with unilateral hearing loss can only hear on one side. Binaural hearing requires the ability to hear with both ears…regardless of what electronic manipulations you do with the tech.

I can guarantee you that if there was a way for a hearing aid manufacturer to restore a sensation of binaural hearing for someone with only one functioning ear…they would be ALL OVER that…

All the advanced tech in the world doesn’t make up for the fact that the wearer is still only hearing everything from one side. Binaural speech mapping, which is what StereoZoom is, REQUIRES 2 functional ears. Binaural hearing, by definition, is hearing with 2 ears…a CROS transmitter - even if it had directional functionality - doesn’t give the person binaural hearing or the ability to use a binaural amplification system.

But I’ll tell ya what…because now I feel the need to know exactly why it won’t work. I’ll contact my rep and have her talk to the engineers about why it doesn’t/can’t work and post the response on here so we can all be a little more knowledgeable about it.

that’s not all, Unitron has those special type of hearing aids, check out their website.
hope this helps!

anybody on the forum using the tandem? anybody compared it with the phonak cros solution?

I just wanted to post my discovery

Looked at the tandem spec sheet and the dual microphone I don’t believe is on the cros unit.

For V70 stereozoom can only be used in a separate manual program.

I predict that the cros unit will have 2 microphones and support adaptive binaural beamforming, so a user could potentially hear very close to as well as somebody with 2 usable ears.

find an audiologist you can trust

Hey doubledown, as our resident expert’s expert I’m sure you can explain the difference between binaural beamforming and spacial speechfocus. Dumb ol’ me looks at them and thinks they sound like the same thing with different PR descriptions. Awaiting your help.

you would have a better attitude if you heard better.

Like I said, they are very similar. Every audiologist/fitter here has disagreed with what you keep repeating. They are wrong and you are the expert?

As to my attitude, maybe you are right. But, even when I had perfect hearing, I’ve had problems suffering fools gracefully.