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CROS and BiCROS hearing aids

A pallet of CROS and BiCros hearing aids

If you’re affected by hearing loss, you know the many challenges it can add to your life. If your hearing loss affects just one ear, you may have developed workarounds to manage your condition. For example, you may be selective about your seat at the dinner table or ask people to speak to you on your “good side.” However, hearing loss or deafness in one ear can also limit your awareness of your surroundings and put you at risk of missing the sound of an oncoming car or person calling a quick warning.

What’s unilateral hearing loss?

Single-sided deafness, also called unilateral hearing loss, is the ability to hear in only one ear with little to no hearing in the other ear. This condition can make hearing in noisy spaces especially difficult. The head shadow effect occurs when your head blocks sound on your non-hearing side from reaching your hearing ear. High-frequency sounds, particularly the consonants in spoken words, are often missed by people who can hear only from one side.

If you’re affected by hearing loss in one ear more than the other, some solutions can help you experience a full range of sounds. CROS and BiCROS hearing aids can improve your quality of life and may even keep you out of harm’s way. Here’s an overview of these innovative hearing solutions.

What’s a CROS hearing aid?

CROS and BiCROS hearing aids help counter the challenges created by single-sided deafness. CROS stands for contralateral routing of signals, essentially a transmission of signals from one side of your head to the other. Unlike standard hearing aids that amplify sound, these systems capture the sounds you miss on your non-hearing side and transmit them to your better-hearing ear.

How do CROS hearing aids work?

A CROS hearing aid consists of a device for each ear: a microphone and transmitter device for your non-hearing ear and a receiver for your hearing ear. The two pieces communicate with each other to eliminate the head shadow effect. The earpiece on your non-hearing side receives sounds that your hearing ear might miss and transmits them to the device in your hearing ear. This allows you to hear sounds from all around you through your hearing ear.

Some people have deafness in one ear and minor hearing loss in the better-hearing ear. If your better ear needs extra help, you may be a candidate for a BiCROS hearing aid or bilateral CROS. Similar to how a CROS hearing aid works, BiCROS systems transmit sound from your non-hearing side. Additionally, BiCROS systems are programmable to provide additional amplification to your hearing ear.

CROS: not your average hearing aids

If you have one-sided deafness, you can’t rely on just any hearing aid solution you might get from a mass supplier like Costco or hearing-aid manufacturer-owned retail chains. You need specialized equipment customized to your unique needs. With industry-leading brands like Starkey, Oticon, and Phonak, Soundwave Hearing Care has the expertise and the inventory to help you find your ideal CROS or BiCROS hearing solution.

Help for single-sided deafness in Alberta

If you’re experiencing a change in your hearing or are due for a hearing aid replacement, make Soundwave Hearing Care your first call. Our team of experienced audiologists and hearing aid practitioners can conduct a hearing test and suggest interventions to help you improve your quality of life. We work with patients of all ages, including children, to help them achieve their best hearing potential. We have locations in Calgary, LethbridgeHigh River and Grande Prairie.

Don’t spend another day with the inconvenience and safety risk of single-sided deafness. Contact us today to arrange for a hearing evaluation and discuss your options for assisted hearing.

All the blogs are reviewed and edited by our clinic's lead audiologist, Dr. Anne Wooliams. Dr. Woolliams is an experienced audiologist specialized in pediatric audiology, auditory processing, and tinnitus/sound sensitivity therapy. She is dedicated to providing top-notch hearing care and helping her clients improve their language and communication abilities. Dr. Woolliams' expertise in literature and linguistics, combined with her passion for helping people improve their language and communication, make her an incredibly valuable asset in the field of audiology. Learn more about Dr. Woolliams.