CROS and BiCROShearing aids
High-performance technology for your ears
There are special, individually tailored hearing solutions for all your hearing needs. In the event of complete deafness, however, a normal hearing aid will not have any effect on hearing. The sound amplification of normal hearing aids is insufficient to stimulate the inner ear. The localization of sounds and the ability to distinguish background noises will no longer be possible.
The following section contains information about how, CROS and BiCROS hearing aids work, as well as directional hearing in general. Do you have further questions or are you looking for hearing aids and would like a non-binding consultation? Then simply give us a call! Our highly qualified team is available to speak with you and provide you with more information.
Directional hearing is no longer impossible
When listening with two healthy ears (binaural hearing), the sound reaches both ears at various volumes and frequencies. This permits the brain to localize the direction of the sounds for orientation purposes. A person with normal hearing will be able to turn to the source of a sound, finding it easy to locate its position in the room. Our ears give us a feeling for the room in the sense that we can say where a sound is coming from with a precise feeling of direction.
In contrast, people with one-sided hearing will always hear sound on the side of the healthy ear. If one ear cannot receive this information we lose the ability to orientated clearly in rooms. Turning one’s head will not change this – directional hearing remains impossible. These patients also find it extremely difficult to concentrate on one sound when in loud and diffused noise environments – turning a good conversation into an unenjoyable one. One-sided hearing loss that cannot be compensated with a “normal” hearing aid can be the result of head injuries, tumors (such as an acoustic neuroma) or a congenital impairment.
CROS hearing aid definition
How CROS hearing aids work: the microphone records the sound at the impaired ear and transfers it to the healthy ear, which holds the receiver. This does not influence the healthy ear’s normal capacity; rather, it permits sounds arriving at the impaired ear to be recorded, processed by the brain, and ultimately heard. In short, directional hearing is made possible once again – and everyday life becomes much easier.
In conventional hearing aids, the microphone and receiver are close together – amplifying the signal at the respective ear. Considering this would not achieve success in one-sided hearing loss, scientists have developed a new concept: the CROS provision (Contralateral Routing Of Signal). To put it simply, the receiver and microphone are decoupled and attached at different locations.
In the past, it was common practice to hide the necessary technology in the frame of eyeglasses. The microphone was attached behind one of the earpieces and the conductive cable inserted into the frame and guided to the receiver on the other side of the eyeglasses. But when you talk about hearing aids, every year makes a huge difference. In this industry there are technological innovations waiting around every corner. Better hearing is very important for us as humans, because it is one of our most valuable senses and connects us to the people around us.
CROS today - modern and wireless
Hearing aid manufacturers, such as Widex and Phonak, have developed a far more modern and unobtrusive procedure: wireless signal transmission via radio. To allow the sound to reach the unimpaired ear accurately and quickly, your hearing aid expert will need to make a cast of your ear. This ensures that the fitted audio piece (the otoplasty) is able to perfectly integrate into your ear canal and work with the best possible precision. Depending on the CROS hearing aid manufacturer, the technical accessories of the devices may vary slightly. Similar to normal hearing aids, these are available in behind-the-ear (BTE) and in-the-ear (ITE) versions, which are connected to the otoplasty. In a BTE device, the microphone is located behind the impaired ear while the reproduction technology is located behind the healthy ear. All of these devices are small and discreet, feature a high degree of wearing comfort, and improve hearing tremendously. And with an ITE solution they can be almost completely invisible as well.
BiCROS – the option for combined one-sided deafness and hearing impairment on the other ear
But what do you do if hearing in the second ear is not perfect either? There is a solution available: as in CROS provision, the microphone records the signal at the deaf ear and transmits them wirelessly to the other ear. Since the better ear also has an impairment, this side has an additional microphone, which can also receive signals. Both signals are then amplified to enable the best possible hearing capacity.
Another form of help for people that can’t hear in one ear, is the Bone Anchored Hearing Aid Implant (BAHA). In this case patients undergo an operation in which a device is implanted directly into the bone. In normal hearing aids sound is transmitted through air conduction. With the BAHA on the other hand sound goes directly through the bone.