Bicros Aids

I had a three month check-up with the MD at the Ear Institute in OKC yesterday. I suffered Sudden Hearing Loss in November 2010. My balance has improved markedly, but my hearing loss remains about the same (No usable hearing in the right ear and high frequency loss in the left.) The MD suggested a bicros aid might be a benefit.

I have trialed an Oticon Delta 8000 and a Dual HW in the past two months. The Dual was far better than the Delta, but even the Dual, not surprisingly, has problems dealing with offside speech in noisy environments. Since I have read on this forum that the Oticon Agil Pro is perhaps the best single aid solution for my type of loss, I want to trial it before trialing the bicros system.

Is the Agil Pro compatible with any of the wireless bicros systems? My local audie doesn’t think so, but she has just put in the Oticon product line and isn’t very familiar with it. The Phonak croslink seems to be highly regarded, but the nearest supplier is an hour’s drive away. What options do I have? Recommendation on how to proceed? Thanks, Vic

No Ociton Bicros solution. If you are deaf in one ear as your test says, one hearing aid in the good ear will frustrate you in determining direction of sound and won’t help your problem as well as a Bicros.

I believe the only wireless Bi-CROS tech available is through Phonak. Most companies can do a wired system however, if my memory serves.

The Phonak Bi-CROS is pretty cool, but it flies through batteries. The patient I have wearing one at the moment is thrilled with hers, regardless of the rapid battery drain.

I think the phonak spice aids will probably be best for you lost. looking at your audiogram it’s pretty unusual. I remember the phonak fitting range covering more grounds than the oticon.

ideally you want somebody who fits both brands. and call to ask if you can trial both. if you’ve never done trials then they are about 30 days and will cost $300 if you don’t buy anything.

phonak has a tool to locate local fitters

oticon has one too.

I would also use google maps,-97.516022&sspn=0.559328,0.883026&g=Oklahoma+City,+OK&ie=UTF8&ll=35.467381,-97.516022&spn=0.531269,0.883026&z=10

if any have a website then go to them and see if they list the brand of aids they sell. You will learn that seeing some brand means that the center will only sell that brand due to the manufacturer’s exclusivity contracts. You are looking for the phonak and oticon logo. call any that you are not sure about regarding the brands. and ask if they fit phonak AND oticon.

I have contacted all the local fitters within the last three months. There are three. Brands available are: Starkey, Unitron, and Oticon. The nearest Phonak fitters are one to two hours drive away. Since they are sister companies I will ask the Unitron dealer if they can also access Phonak.

The discussion here has prompted some questions:

  1. Can the Phonak Croslink be used as a single aid by not turning on the deaf ear unit or as a bicros, if desired? I am retired and do not encounter group social situations in noisy environments all that often, perhaps a couple of times per week. Would turning off the deaf ear instrument ease the problem of short battery life? The only other fairly common situation I can envision that a bicros unit would be of great benefit would be driving with a passenger.

  2. If the Oticon Agil Pro is fitted with the R12 FM receiver does it process the incoming signal in the same way as it does the signal from the built in microphones? I can see how some of the special features of the aid might be used, but not others, ie directional microphones?

Thanks for all the feedback. I have learned a lot that hopefully can be used in selection of the best aid for my loss. Vic

Yes. You can wear only the HA unit or the HA w/the transmitter. Not using the transmitter side will help with battery life of the transmitter since it’s not being used every day, however I believe the HA side will still be in it’s wireless mode and could potentially drain the battery even when the transmitter is not in use. I am not sure about that however, so you would need to find out about that first. It may be possible that you could have a memory with the wireless function on and one with it off to use when you are/are not using the transmitter.

I’ve been wearing the Phonak BICROS for a few weeks now. Battery life for me has been between 4 and 5 days. Ironically, I tried to replace only the battery on the aid that signalled that it was about dead, but the other aid lasted only a short time longer. I haven’t tried useing only the one aid, but I am pretty sure it is still in wireless mode even when the BICROS aid is shut off. I have noticed an overall improvement in hearing sounds with the aids,not just the improvement in sounds coming from the deaf side. I think the extra mic and not having to turn my head towards the sound has helped. I found some out of date batteries on ebay for 13 cents a piece, so battery cost is not a big factor. The out of date batteries last as long as the ones the doctor gave me.

I had an appointment with the Oklahoma State University Audiology Clinic today. Very Impressive! I was given the most comprehensive battery of ear function / hearing tests ever. Unfortunately the audiologist (a professor) reached the same conclusions as the MD at the Ear Institute: No usable hearing in the right ear and high frequency loss in the left. Fortunately they agreed independently on the recommendation to improve my hearing. Phonak Bi-Cros aids and custom molded domes. It will take about two weeks to make the domes and order in the aids before starting the trial period.

As it turned out the University Clinic was the closest Phonak dealer, although they can access all the other major manufacturer’s brands as well.

If there is any interest I’ll be glad to post progress reports during the trial on the forum. Vic

So was anybody able to create a program with the wireless function turned off so as not to drain the battery as fast?

I would imagine a person with target software would be able to figure this out. sorry haven’t downloaded it yet.

Not sure anyone would want to mess with their BICROS aids to prove this point.

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Phonak rep is coming in here tomorrow: will ask to see.

However, from his previous description it ‘seemed’ like that the wireless side only kicked in when the remote mic dialled in - moreso, pretty much all the traffic came from this unit, not the listening side: therefore power drain would be significantly more than the base unit.

Both my aids, the base unit and the BICROSS, signal battery replacement usually within an hour of each other. Three to three and one half days.

I have been trying the Phonak BiCros about one month. I have a good hearing in right ear (around 5-10db) and deaf left ear. I agree that it helps overall hearing. My problems: I hear low static sound comes from the hearing aid. Also sometimes I hear better in a small group meeting without hearing aid—feel like BiCros interfere with my normal hearing. Did you experience those? My audiologist said my right ear hearing is too good, if I lost a little, maybe BioCRos works better. I have 45 days trying time and will see my audiologist in about 10 days and let her know if I want to keep it—I am not sure yet.

I have had an occasional static situation that I’ve noticed. I think it may be some kind of interference since the Bicross uses fm to connect to the other aid. It could be from Fluorescent lights. Interesting, when I push the button on my computer mouse, I can hear a very low electrical pop in my aid. same interference I guess.

The Target software allows you to “balance” the sound between the two aids, increasing or decreasing the sound coming from the Bicross. Decreasing the sound from the Bicros in your case may be a help. In my situation, I needed to increase the sound coming from the Bicros.
You know that you can also use the aid as only a Cros aid. This is for people who have good hearing in the one ear and don’t need amplification in that ear, only amplification would come from the deaf side. Lastly, you can also ask your audi to make one of your programs a mute sound. This will turn off both aids when you think it is better hearing without the aids. If you need any instructions on how to do any of these, just send me a PM. Hope this helps.

One other suggestion. Most sellers give the patient 60 days for trial since they are given that by Phonak. If your not sure about them, get them adjusted ASAP and insist on a full 60 days trial. I’m sure the audi wants to sell the aids rather than send them back.

I have been wearing the Phonak Virto Bi-CROS for a few months and I’m fairly happy with it, but yes, it sure does fly through batteries.
I’ve been wearing aids for 40 years (born deaf in one ear and moderate loss in the other). I’ve worn about six different aids In the past and I must say this Phonak has the best sound quality.
But it’s not perfect. I don’t like the button volume control, and there seems to be no way to protect your ears from sudden loud noises. With previous aids I could just cup my hand over my ear and that would block out the loud sound. That doesn’t work with this Phonak. I have to remove the aid, which isn’t easy as it’s big and bulky, and there’s no little plastic pull tab like some of my previous aids had.
But I am generally happy with it, and it’s great to be able to hear sounds from both sides.