Do you suffer from a unilateral hearing loss (UHL) also known as single sided deafness (SSD)? The solutions are getting better all the time as our technology and understanding of this condition improve.
Most of us experience hearing loss, often caused through the natural aging process and exposure to a noisy world, in both ears in a symmetrical fashion. However, some people have reduced or no hearing in only one ear though illness, genetics, accidents or other causes.
A UHL can pose its own set of unique challenges if the ear is not aidable with a hearing aid. The absence of sound in one ear can make us feel not only at a disadvantage when the source of sound is not projected at the “good” ear, but it can also make us feel unbalanced an unable to locate sound. We’ve lost directionality as our hearing is no longer in stereo and understanding speech in noise can be extraordinarily difficult. So, what to do?
One solution is the CROS hearing system. This looks like a pair of standard hearing aids and can be custom made to fit completely in the ears making them very discreet, but most importantly, wireless!
This technology has come a long way. The devices of old were big, bulky and connected by wires – but not anymore. Today we have sleek and stylish, digital, high fidelity amplification instruments with the latest up-to-date technology that communicates wirelessly.
On the unaidable ear, the device worn looks like a small hearing aid but is actually a microphone that picks up sound on that side of the head and wirelessly transmits the information to a receiving device worn in the good ear that looks the same. This provides the wearer with the perception of much more balanced hearing and hearing in stereo.
In the case where there may also be hearing loss present in the better ear we can consider a BiCROS amplification system. This would look the same as a CROS wireless system but we would add appropriate amplification to the better ear to provide increased understanding and clarity and still transmit the sound from the poorer ear again providing a sense of balance and hearing symmetry.
Carleen Herzog has been a long-time client with Living Sounds Hearing Centre and has been wearing a BiCROS hearing system for many years. She has this to say about her experience.
“The BiCROS changed my life and gave me back my hearing. Adele is my hearing Angel.”