When you know that you need to obtain a hearing aid in order to enhance your hearing (and your life), then your decision may seem somewhat overwhelming. There are a good number of different types of hearing aids available, each serving a different purpose, or attempting to achieve similar outcomes with potentially different designs or methods.
One widely used type of hearing aid is that of the CROS hearing aid type. This article will focus on what CROS hearing aids are, how they work, who they might be useful for, as well as touching on the subject of the BiCROS hearing aid type; similar to CROS but aimed at people with a slightly different need.
What Are CROS Hearing Aids?
Contralateral Routing of Signals, or simply CROS, describe a type of hearing aid where there is an amplifier and receiver in one aid, and a microphone in the other aid. These are ideal for people who retain good hearing in one ear, but very poor hearing in the other, to the point where an individual hearing aid in that ear would not provide the person with any noticeable advantages. The overall goal of a CROS hearing aid system is to use the ability of the good hear to deliver sounds to the deaf ear.
When a sound is delivered to the microphone side aid of the good ear, it is processed by the amplifier and receiver in the other ear. This might be achieved through either a wireless connection, or via a cable that connects the two sides; however wireless is considerably more convenient and comfortable for most people). The receiver aid is designed so that sounds are able to enter directly into the ear canal, so an open mould design is generally used.
What About BiCROS Hearing Aids?
Bilateral CROS (BiCROS) hearing aids have a similar approach to the CROS hearing aid system, but differ by being targeted at people who have only moderate hearing loss in one ear, and deafness in the other. There is a microphone in both aids in a BiCROS system so sound can come into either ear, and then sent and processed to the ear with better hearing. Just like CROS, a BiCROS hearing aid system can also be configured to work via a wire (which usually goes around the back of the neck), or wirelessly (which is achieved through a radio signal).
Which Type of CROS Hearing Aid Would Suit Your Needs?
If you are still becoming familiar with the differences between CROS and BiCROS hearing aid systems, it is relatively simple to decide upon which one you require (and your doctor will certainly advise on your ideal solution). A CROS hearing aid is for people who have a better ear which is able to hear normally, and you won’t notice any difference in your good ear when wearing the hearing aid.
A BiCROS solution is the right choice when your better ear still has some degree of hearing loss (in other words, the hearing in your better ear is not considered normal, but still exists at some level). Naturally, your doctor will immediately be able to tell you which hearing aid type is required for your circumstance.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of CROS technology hearing aids?
The big benefit of CROS hearing aids are that they give people a better ability to make out sounds which are coming from the direction of the deaf ear, as they are technically being heard in the other, better ear. This means that people are able to get a much better indication of where the sound is coming from.
Is there a disadvantage to these types of hearing aids? For most people, the benefits will always far outweigh any potential negatives. One aspect that might be considered a disadvantage by some is that natural reduction of unwanted noise can not be perfectly resolved, as two ears are always required for this, rather than the one that sound is delivered to with CROS style hearing aids.
Another factor that has been mentioned by some is that at times, extra sound from the poor ear could occasionally cause a minor interference with what is heard from the good ear. However your particular condition will always determine how effective CROS hearing aids may be for you.
Other Types of Hearing Aids
The main factors that determine the various types of hearing aids relate to their overall design, the amplification technology that is used (whether it be digital or analog), and any extra special features that might be included. Besides CROS and BiCROS hearing aids, there are a number of other types. These include:
- Behind The Ear (BTE) hearing aids
- In The Ear (ITE) hearing aids
- Mini Behind The Ear hearing aids
- In The Canal (ITC) hearing aids
Different hearing aid types can suit different conditions, as well as offering a choice for personal preference. For example, young children are often recommended a Behind The Ear (BTE) type hearing aid as the child will be growing, thus their ear will be changing in shape and size. BTE hearing aids are able accommodate various ear molds, which is where the hearing aid parts are contained.
What About eBay Hearing Aids?
If you’ve spent any time on ebay browsing the offerings of hearing aids, you would have no doubt noticed that there are now a large number of products available there. But one needs to be cautious when considering purchasing hearing aids from eBay. Firstly, you need to know what you would be buying the authentic product (this can be a rather large problem on ebay). Does the product come with the manufacturers warranty, and is it brand new?
These are all factors to carefully look into when you are searching eBay for hearing aids. Remember, a good hearing aid can change your life and it is rarely worth saving a few dollars when it comes to potentially compromising on quality.
Whether you select a CROS Hearing aid, or another type, you should always ensure that your decision is made carefully and after you have been armed with all the facts.