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CROS and BiCROS Hearing Aids

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 11:29:29 AM Asia/Calcutta

Single-Sided Deafness

Often there are cases in which people have a hearing loss in one ear and don’t have any aidable hearing loss in the other. This condition is also known as single-sided deafness or unilateral hearing loss. Single-sided deafness or SSD is a condition in which a person has lost his or her hearing in one ear, and has anywhere from normal to profound hearing loss in that ear and no hearing loss in the other ear. SSD causes real problems even if the working ear or the better ear has excellent hearing. Often untreated single-sided deafness might lead to stress, anxiety and depression, and you might isolate yourself socially. Therefore, the CROS and the BiCROS digital hearing aids are introduced so as to help people with SSD to hear better by making use of the better ear.


How is Single-Sided Deafness Different from Asymmetrical Hearing Loss?

While single-sided deafness, as already mentioned, refers to the condition in which an individual has some degree of hearing loss in one ear and absolutely normal hearing in the other; asymmetrical hearing loss, on the other hand, refers to the condition in which a person has mild to moderate degree of hearing loss in one ear, and severe to profound degree of loss in the other. CROS hearing aids are generally recommended for people with single-sided deafness and those with asymmetrical hearing loss are recommended BiCROS hearing aids.


Why is Binaural Hearing So Important?

Our body is a ‘machine’ which is finely tuned and properly balanced. If anyone organ gets damaged it will ruin this balance. Similar is the case with our ears! We really need two ears to hear well and have a proper and correct perception of sound. If there is a loss of hearing in any one of the ears, the sounds from your surroundings won’t be picked up in the correct way - thus resulting in a wrong and often misguiding sound perception - which can be dangerous!

Binaural hearing or hearing with both the ears has advantages in ways more than one (otherwise why would you be gifted with two ears)! Our brain makes use of information received from both the ears. It is only after receiving information from both the ears will the brain be able to process the information about the sound signals correctly, thus enabling you to have a distortion-free sound perception.

Hearing with two ears definitely has great advantages over hearing with one in situations like -

  • Improved speech recognition and understanding even in noise.

  • Better sound localisation or better recognition of the direction of the sound.

  • With binaural hearing, you will have a clearer and a much more natural sound perception as you are able to hear sounds coming from all the directions. It is because you will be able to hear sounds approaching from a much wider range, thus enabling you to understand and comprehend sounds better.

  • ‘Stereo’ hearing or binaural hearing (hearing with two ears) is less strenuous than ‘mono’ hearing (hearing with only one ear). People with monaural hearing usually get tired more faster than those with binaural hearing.

  • Two ears will act as a cushion as the sounds are divided equally between the two ears. This characteristic of binaural hearing also enables you to tolerate louder sounds much better than you would have done with monaural hearing. That is you won’t have to face jarring effects if you face some sudden loud noises.

  • Children will learn speech and language skills better than those peers with mono hearing (due to unilateral hearing loss or single-sided deafness).

  • Individuals with binaural hearing respond in group discussions much faster than their peers with monaural hearing.

  • Children with binaural hearing are more self-confident than those with monoaural hearing.

  • Binaural hearing makes sure that you can have your peace-of-mind while performing your day-to-day activities.

So this is why you need to hear well with both the ears!


CROS Hearing Aid Systems

CROS and BiCROS hearing aids are usually recommended for people with single-sided deafness. The CROS (Contralateral Routing Of Signals) digital hearing aids are recommended for individuals who have lost their hearing in one ear and have normal hearing in the other. In other words, the CROS hearing aid device is recommended for those who have unaidable hearing loss in one ear and no loss in the other. This device takes the sound from the poor ear to the working ear to enable you to hear well with less strain. The CROS device is usually not considered a full-fledged hearing aid.

The CROS hearing aid has microphones and an amplifier chip, but no speaker. The transmission of sounds takes place wirelessly from the hearing aid on the poor ear to the receiving hearing aid on the better ear. Although it may seem strange to wear a hearing aid on the ear with normal hearing, it is just delivering the sounds from your bad ear, and not amplifying any sound.

CROS Hearing Aids

There is yet another case in which the person has hearing loss in both the ears - with aidable hearing loss in one ear and unaidable loss in the other. In such a case, BiCROS (Bilateral Microphones with Contralateral Routing of Signal) hearing aids would be helpful. This type is similar to the CROS system - a CROS transmitter is paired with an active hearing aid. It is suggested for people who have asymmetrical hearing loss, with one ear being better than the other, though both have some degree of hearing loss. For example, a person having mild to moderate degree of hearing loss in one ear, and severe to profound degree of hearing loss or even total hearing loss in the other - would qualify as an ideal candidate for BiCROS digital hearing aids.

A BiCROS hearing aid picks up sounds from the ear with unaidable hearing loss (that is from the bad ear), processes it and mixes it with its own input and then amplifies the mixed signal and delivers the resultant into the other ear with aidable hearing loss (the better ear). This whole process is done in such a manner that you would feel that you are actually hearing from your bad ear.

BiCROS Hearing Aids


The Conclusion

The goal of these CROS devices is to provide the person with a sense of binaural hearing when true binaural hearing aid fitting is not possible. The good news is, these digital hearing aids are introduced with advanced wireless technologies with which the user no longer needed to stay connected physically, and yet enjoy the listening experience seamlessly.

This type of set-up is made so as to enable you to have a clear sound perception from all the directions and from both the sides of your head - which is important. In other words, the CROS and the BiCROS digital hearing aids are designed to give you a feeling of binaural hearing.

Comments | Posted in Digital Hearing Aids By Hearing Plus

Want to Keep Your Brain Sharp Even in Old Age? Take Care of Your Ears!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 4:01:53 PM Asia/Calcutta

Brain and Hearing

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Comments | Posted in Hearing Aids By Hearing Plus

Does Hearing Loss Cause Anxiety?

Monday, March 11, 2019 12:22:46 PM Asia/Calcutta

Did you often feel neglected because you were unable to participate in group discussions? Are you often being mocked at because you fail to respond at the right time or maybe because you said something which is already being told in the conversation? Did you feel that people are misunderstanding you because you are not able to understand what they are trying to convey and hence responding inappropriately? And after facing all these issues, did you feel that you should avoid all these situations and hence you start avoiding social gatherings?

All these might be the red flags that you are having hearing loss!

Read on to know more about How Anxiety is related to Hearing loss?

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Ageing and Hearing Loss

Saturday, March 2, 2019 2:01:14 PM Asia/Calcutta

It is true that hearing loss occurs in most of us as we grow older. Age-related hearing loss or presbycusis is quite a common issue these days that affects older and elderly adults, and sadly in most cases, it is unpreventable. You can only try to stay healthy as long as possible.

In the US, approximately 1 in 3 people in between the age group of 65 and 74 have hearing loss, and about half of those who are of 75 years and above have difficulty hearing. Hearing impairment is ranked third in the list of chronic health conditions which affect people belonging to the age group of 65 and above.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, within the year 2025 there will be about 1.2 billion people over 60 years of age worldwide, with more than 500 million individuals who will suffer a significant hearing impairment from presbycusis, also known as an age-related hearing loss.

Presbycusis has a major impact on the quality of life of a person and is related to a significant reduction in his or her communication skills. It also affects the psycho-social aspects of an individual, such as inducing progressive isolation, possibly exacerbating anxiety-depressive status and/or accentuating possible cognitive deficits.

Ageing and Hearing Loss

Classifications of Presbycusis

Schuknecht, et al. 1993 categorised presbycusis into four types based on pathology and audiometric findings - sensory, neural, conductive, and metabolic (strial).

  • Sensory presbycusis is defined as epithelial atrophy and loss of sensory hair cells as well as the supporting cells of the organ of Corti, which arise from the base and progress towards the apex. In this type of presbycusis, the slope of the audiogram (a graph which shows the results of the pure-tone hearing test) occurs in the high frequencies, therefore, the speech discrimination is preserved.

  • Neural presbycusis results from nerve cells atrophy in the cochlea and central neural pathway. Atrophy occurs throughout the cochlea with no sheer or dangerous drops in the high-frequency threshold in the audiogram. The speech discrimination decreases severely even before hearing loss is recorded.

  • Conductive or mechanical type arises from thickening and secondary stiffening of the basilar membrane of the cochlea with a gradual sloping high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss. Speech discrimination is preserved in this type of presbycusis.

  • Atrophy of stria vascularis results in metabolic or strial presbycusis which affect the entire cochlea and show a flat curve in the audiogram.


Why Do People Get Hearing Loss as They Age?

There are many factors which contribute to hearing loss as you start ageing. Although it is quite difficult to distinguish age-related hearing loss or presbycusis from other factors that might be responsible for it, yet let us take a look at the possible reasons that might cause hearing loss as you age.

  • Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) - It is caused either by long term exposure to sounds which are either too loud or which last for too long. This exposure causes damage to the hair cells present inside the cochlea of the inner ear, which are responsible for converting sound waves into neural signals, thus making them ready to be sent to the brain via the auditory nerve. Once damaged, these hair cells can never grow or regenerate. They are gone forever! Therefore the term ‘permanent hearing loss’!

  • High blood pressure or hypertension - The link between hearing loss and high blood pressure is pretty simple. When your blood pressure is high, your blood vessels are damaged, which is not limited to just one area in your whole circulatory system and thus includes your ears as well and hampering proper blood circulation. In simple words, if the blood circulation in your ears is affected, your ears won’t work well and thus leading to hearing loss problems.

  • Diabetes - High blood glucose levels can damage the small blood vessels in the inner ear, thus affecting your hearing abilities.

  • Ototoxic medications - Medications, like chemotherapy drugs are toxic to the sensory cells of your ears, thus affecting their functioning and causing hearing loss.

  • Genetics - Yes your parents hearing health matters! Some diseases like Otosclerosis, Usher Syndrome, Pendred Syndrome, which cause hearing loss are hereditary.

Apart from these common causes of age-related hearing loss, there can be cases like sudden damage to the internal structure of the outer or the middle ear due to various reasons like a serious injury. However, these conditions are very less as far as presbycusis is concerned.

Studies show that most of the older people who acquire a hearing loss have a combination of both age-related hearing loss and noise-induced hearing loss.


Age-related hearing loss is a gradual process and often occurs in both the ears, affecting them equally. And the sad part is that in most of the cases an individual may not even realise that he or she is suffering from age-related hearing loss and that he or she has lost some of his or her hearing ability. And this realisation is generally late until there are some other damages associated with it. Of course, there are so many hearing loss treatment options, the most common being hearing aids, but you just need to take that action.

But the question arises, ‘How would you know that you have hearing loss?’

There are many signs which tell you that its time that you take serious action. If you are still confused about whether you are suffering from hearing loss, here’s a simple checklist for you. Ask yourself and try to answer all of them. If you answer with a ‘Yes’ to three or more of these questions, then it’s a good chance that you are having some degree of hearing loss.

  • Do you feel embarrassed while meeting new people?

  • Do you feel that others are mumbling?

  • Do you often ask people to repeat themselves?

  • Do you often find it difficult to understand what others are trying to convey and hence feel frustrated?

  • Do you face problems while listening to the radio or the TV and hence end up raising up the volume which is too loud for others?

  • Do you have a hard time hearing while at the movies or at the theatre?

  • Do you have trouble hearing when you are at a restaurant with your family and friends?

  • Do you face difficulties in understanding speech in a noisy area?

  • Do you have difficulties in differentiating between ‘s’ and ‘th’ sounds?

  • Do you have difficulty understanding what your co-workers, clients or customers are trying to say?

  • Do you often end up arguing with your family members because you are unable to understand them?

  • Do you often avoid attending social gatherings?

  • Do you often avoid making phone calls or even receiving them, thus end up giving excuses via text messages like ‘I was not carrying my phone’ or ‘My phone was silent’, etc.?

  • Do you have a sensation of ringing in the ears or tinnitus?


Now that you know that you might have hearing loss (and that’s why you are reading this blog), head on to know how to fight against it.


How to Fight Against It?

Do not panic! The first and foremost thing that you should do is to get up from your chair at the corner of your room and step outside your house! Visit your nearest hearing clinic or a professional Audiologist and get your hearing tested. An ideal Audiologist is supposed to test your hearing thoroughly, provide you with an audiogram report and explain you the test results in details. Depending on your test results - that is the type and the intensity of your hearing loss, your Audiologist will suggest you the hearing aids (devices that are worn in the ear to enable you to hear better) which would best suit your hearing needs as well as your personal preferences.

A good Audiologist will also do a test and trial with a few hearing aids of various types and determine with which device are you responding the best. Also, he or she would also help you out in the days to come if you face any problems with your device in the future - such as reprogramming and fitting.

Keep in mind that hearing aids are not like eyeglasses, which would give you a clear vision immediately after wearing them. Hearing aids don’t just work that way. It takes time for your brain to adjust to this new hearing world which it was missing for all these days because of your untreated hearing loss.

If, however, you find that your hearing aids are not giving you many benefits even after using them for a long time, then you need to consult your Audiologist immediately. It might be that your hearing loss is so severe such as in case of a severe to profound degree of sensorineural hearing loss, then your Audiologist might recommend you to go for a cochlear implant, an electrical device that is surgically implanted inside your ear and in which you would get a permanent hearing solution, and unlike hearing aids you don’t need to change the device after using it for some years. A cochlear implant only needs to be updated from time to time.

Apart from hearing aids and cochlear implants, there are other devices as well such as assistive listening devices which include telephone and cell phone amplifying devices, smartphone apps to enhance the listening experience and closed-circuit systems like hearing loop systems (example microphones) which are found in places like a theatre, a temple or at some other public event.

Lip reading or speech reading is another option to assist hearing-impaired people and to help them understand better what others are trying to convey. Lip-reading involves paying close attention to lip movement as well as other body language movements and gestures.


The best way to avoid hearing loss problems is to prevent it. Because prevention is always better than cure!


How Can I Prevent Age-Related Hearing Loss?

Although at present, proper preventive measures of age-related hearing loss have not been found, yet there are certain ways following which can help you prevent hearing loss due to ageing. These are as follows -

  • Protect your ears and avoid being overexposed to loud sounds. In this way, you can prevent noise-induced hearing loss. Use earplugs or other protective wearables whenever you are near a source of some loud sound.

  • Avoid the intake of ototoxic medications until and unless you have no other option.

  • Take care of your high blood pressure and diabetic problems by consulting good health professional.

  • Get your ears checked from time to time to prevent any serious hearing loss problems in the future.

  • Avoid smoking and drinking.

So stay healthy and hear better for as long as you can!

0 Comments | Posted in Digital Hearing Aids Hearing Aids By Phalguni Bannerjee

Binaural Hearing Aids: Discover the Benefits of Using Two Hearing Aids

Friday, January 25, 2019 1:22:57 PM Asia/Calcutta

Do you often ask what is the need for wearing hearing aids in both the ears? Do you know what you are missing being a single hearing aid user? Don’t miss out the joy of experiencing the wonderful world of sounds.

Read on to learn about the numerous benefits of binaural hearing aids, and how they can change your life!

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Comments | Posted in Hearing Aids By Phalguni Bannerjee
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