Two hearing aids (bi-CROS and regular) for one ear?


#1

Due to an acoustic neuroma in my left ear I have diplacusis, where I hear everything about a half-step flat in that ear. As a musician, this condition causes me huge problems. However, I believe that it also affects my speech comprehension.

I trialed a pair of Widex bi-CROS hearing aids. Objectively, I thought they improved my speech comprehension a bit, and they certainly improved my ability to hear music correctly and to sing in tune. However, my audiologist recommended against using bi-CROS because I still have some usable, aidable hearing in my left ear. He is concerned (as am I) that if I stop aiding my left ear that my ear will lose its remaining hearing ability due to lack of stimulation.

So I am thinking that a possible solution might be to use an RIC bi-CROS system IN ADDITION to aiding my left ear with a normal RIC hearing aid. My idea is to use double-sided tape or some other adhesive to place the microphone-only side of the bi-CROS HA and the regular HA together side by side on my left side. Only the wire from the regular hearing aid would go into my left ear. On my right side I would wear the receiver/hearing aid of the bi-CROS system.

Then when I felt the need for clearer speech or accurate music comprehension I could reduce or mute the volume on the actual HA in my bad ear and turn up the volume on the bi-CROS mic on the bad side. The idea is that I would be aiding my bad ear almost all the time and I would only be using the bi-CROS system by itself when I really needed to.

Obvious downsides are added physical bulk behind my bad ear, increased complexity in trying to manage two HA systems on the fly, loss of the benefit I have now of having two fully-functioning HA’s that “talk to each other”, and added cost.

I’d like to hear any ideas or comments anyone might have, especially from the pros on the forum. Has anyone tried this? Could it work in practice? Thank you.


#2

BiCros means taking sounds from your left ear and transmitting them to your right ear and amplifying the right ear. Cros would simply mean transmitting sound from left to right with no amplification. You haven’t listed your audiogram so I couldn’t guess what your needs might be. Your audiologist has made a recommendation against biCros. If you don’t trust your audiologist’s recommendation, I’d suggest a second opinion from another audi. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I couldn’t imagine that your proposed solution would be effective, either clinically or economically.


#3

Thanks for your comment, Upp. I haven’t posted a current audiogram because my left-ear hearing is in such flux since my Gamma Knife treatment for the acoustic neuroma. I should have a new audiogram in about a month and I’ll post it.

My left-ear hearing is weak and distorted, with diplacusis, even with being aided. Short-term I think my best hearing would be achieved with a bi-CROS system, but I do want to preserve the remaining hearing in my left ear if possible, hence the recommendation against bi-CROS.

My right ear has run-of-the-mill sensori-neural loss, dipping into severe territory at some frequencies. But at last it’s clear and true tonally, and adequate when aided.

I have a lot of trouble comprehending when someone to the left of me speaks to me, especially when there is backg


#4

Oops I hit the send button by mistake. I have trouble hearing speech from my left side. Hi-CROS helps with that. My proposed “McGyver” solution theoretically addresses the left ear speech comprehension issue while still providing audio stimulation to my left ear the vast majority of the time. It’s an out of the box idea. Maybe too crazy?


#5

I too have an acoustic neuroma which has caused a drastic decline in my right side hearing. The specialist we talked to said that after they zap the neuroma, I would lose all hearing on the right side. Right now I still have some right side hearing remaining. I have been fitted with a pair of Phonak Bi CROS aids.

I have found that I still perceive some loud percussive sounds coming from the right side when I am wearing the CROS aids. It’s enough to help locate a sound source but not for understanding. If you have your audi add a vent hole to your deaf side aid it would let some sound through and keep your deaf ear active.


#6

I have a similar problem with my right ear. Listening to music with it sounded like those chip monks singing. However, after wearing the aid in the right ear for awhile, my brain began to recognize the sounds and things cleared up a lot. I think I was suffering from what they call “auditory deprivation” and forcing myself to use that ear caused my brain to adjust and things sound much better now. Good luck.


#8

Ziploc- About 20 years ago, over a period of about a week, I lost most hearing in one ear (which was diagnosed as “sudden nerve deafness”) and have only partial hearing in the other. Since I am a professional singer this event was a disaster. For a while I was hearing pitches about a half step flat in the bad ear, but that effect eventually disappeared.

About 3 years ago I discovered that Phonak could give me a Bicross BTE pair of aids that did not require a wire connection. They worked well but wearing the transmitter on the deaf side supported by an uncomfortable ear mold was not fun. Since the uncomfortable ear mold was there only to hold the transmitter in place, I eventually figured out that that I could attach the transmitter to the bow of my glasses which nicely fitted behind my outer ear anyway. I attached the transmitter (without the earmold) using three small rubber bands and it stays in place quite well and it is hidden behind my ear and under my hair so there is no cosmetic down side. Since there is nothing in the ear canal on that side, what is left of my hearing functions can receive sound uninhibited by an earmold. There are volume and program buttons on both devices, so I can adjust sound depending on requirements. (Occasionally, I will be put next to a singer who sings flat, so I can “turn him down” with these adjustments, which is a luxury that people with perfect hearing do not enjoy!)