CROS Hearing Aid Reviews

Everyone can imagine how awkward and uncomfortable it must be to live with hearing difficulties. If it’s a part of your life, you’ll understand better than most.

Hearing damage or loss can happen to anyone for any number of reasons. It doesn’t just have to be a constant noisy environment that causes hearing to deteriorate, it can be something as simple as old age.

A bit of peace and quiet can obviously be a blessing sometimes, but it’s just as important to be able to hear the things around you to experience life to the fullest extent.

Thankfully, modern technology has developed so dramatically over the last few decades that there are now plenty of devices available via prescription or over the counter to make life with a hearing impairment so much easier.

Hearing aids, PSAPs and CROSs are just some of the examples of different devices you can use to make life with hearing difficulties more bearable.

In this article, we’ll go over exactly what a CROS hearing aid is and how it works. Then, we’ll evaluate whether a CROS hearing aid is worth it and whether it will be the solution to your problems

What is a CROS Hearing Aid?

CROS stands for contralateral routing of signals and a hearing aid of this variety is intended to treat patients with no hearing capabilities in one ear, with damaged or limited hearing in the other ear.

This is also known as single sided deafness and it’s a much more common condition that you might think. According to research, 1 in 1000 children are born with one sided deafness or unilateral hearing loss.

It’s mainly caused by genetic issues with maternity, however it can still happen to anyone if caused by damage to the ear or infection.

How Does a CROS Hearing Aid Work?

The way CROS hearing aids combat one sided deafness is actually very interesting.

The device effectively redirects sound from the poorer ear and transmits it to the ear with better hearing. This creates the effect of bilateral hearing, even when the ears are incapable of doing this on their own.

Therefore, whilst it doesn’t do anything to heal the more damaged ear or improve hearing ability on that side of the head, it can still give the same effect as if both ears were functioning as well as each other.

The CROS device will fit in a similar way to a normal hearing aid, either behind the ear or potentially with an insert into one ear canal.

In the past, a wire would have run across the back of a wearer’s head to transmit the signal from one ear to the other. However, today, these devices are almost exclusively wireless, giving it a less noticeable aesthetic quality and allowing devices to fit more comfortably.

Despite how it may sound from the description above, CROS devices do not give users a one sided listening experience. In most models, the CROS device will play some kind of beeping sound for each syllable spoken by another person in a conversation.

This provides wearers with a better understanding of their auditory surroundings and you will be made aware of when someone is speaking to you on your deaf side when wearing a CROS device.

What is a BiCROS Hearing Sid?

A BiCROS device combines aspects of a normal hearing aid with a CROS hearing aid.

A normal hearing aid will amplify certain sounds into a person’s ear, whereas a CROS will simply redirect the sound from an inferior ear to the other one.

In cases where a patient has hearing damage in both ears, but one is still noticeably better than the other, a healthcare professional might recommend a BiCROS device.

In these circumstances, audio will be amplified in the better ear to combine the effects of the two devices and provide a more complete audio experience.

Are CROS Hearing Aids Better than Normal Hearing Aids?

CROS devices provide a completely different function to a normal hearing aid. If you are struggling with one sided deafness or damage to your hearing only in one ear, a CROS is designed to redirect sound from your bad ear to your good ear.

One the other hand, a normal hearing aid is designed to amplify sounds effectively across both ears.

A good hearing aid, that is well fitted and prescribed for your needs, will amplify the important sounds within close proximity to you.

It will also filter out some of the unwanted background noise to allow you to hear what’s important more clearly.

Why Should I Get a CROS Hearing Aid?

If you suffer from one sided deafness or damage to your hearing in only one ear, a CROS device will help to transmit audio from your inferior ear to the other one, providing a more complete audio experience in general.

However, you should always contact a healthcare professional before using any kind of hearing aid device to determine what the appropriate one is for your needs.

Why Should I Not Get a CROS Hearing Aid?

You should only use a CROS device if you have one sided deafness or greater damage to your hearing in one ear than the other. If you struggle with hearing difficulties in both ears, a normal hearing aid will be more appropriate for amplifying sound in both ears, rather than simply redirecting the audio from one to the other.

However, you should always contact a healthcare professional before using any kind of hearing aid device to determine what the appropriate one is for your needs.

Phonak is one of the leading producers of CROS hearing aids and they have a range of different CROS devices. For US production, these devices all comply with the same FDA regulations that govern all prescription hearing aids in the country.

In this section, we’ll take a look at Phonak’s range of CROS products, and go over some of the key features of each.

  • Phonak CROS - This is the most basic version of the device and is also the smallest that Phonak offers. Its comparatively small size makes it one of the most discreet options for a CROS device and is perfect for people who want to appear as if they’re not wearing a device at all.
  • Phonak CROS H2O - A slightly larger device than the previous model, the H2O has an extended battery life to allow you to wear the device for longer without having to worry about changing batteries. It is also made to be more water and dust resistant, making it generally more durable and last longer before needing to be replaced.
  • Phonak CROS 312 & 13 - These two devices are similar in that they offer in-the-ear, custom fit solutions to one sided deafness. These devices come in a variety of different colors and skin tones, making them discreet and unnoticeable. The 312 is the smaller of the two, making it more discreet, however the 13 is larger and uses an improved battery to give the device a longer span between battery changes.

All Phonak CROS hearing aids are FDA regulated and available with a prescription from a healthcare professional. This means you can use them without fear of faulty or improperly fit devices having a negative effect on your hearing and simply enjoy the auditory experience.

Another of the leading producers of CROS hearing aids, Oticon provides a slightly smaller range of products than Phonak.

However, the two products they offer still provide an effective way to navigate the world with one sided deafness and provide a complete auditory experience.

  • Oticon CROS - This is the basic version of the device which provides a good balance of audio diversion for both your poorer ear and your stronger one. It uses TwinLink technology to connect external audio streams whilst maintaining good access to sound for your weaker ear.
  • Oticon CROS PX - This is a slightly improved, but more expensive, Oticon product which ditches the need to replace batteries. It uses a rechargeable transmitter battery that minimizes waste and allows you to continue listening for longer.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now understand more about how a CROS hearing aid can help you if you’re suffering from one sided deafness.

The range of products available online is not very extensive because most of these devices will need to be prescribed before use. Whilst this does limit the options available to you commercially, it does mean that any device you get will be a more customized fit for your needs.

If you’re purchasing a CROS product in the US, you should always look for one that is regulated by the FDA. This will ensure that your device will not cause any further damage to your hearing and allow you to enjoy the hearing aid comfortably and without worry.

Now that you know all about these devices, if it sounds like the sort of thing that would make your life easier, the next step is to get in touch with a doctor or healthcare professional to work out exactly which kind of device is best suited for your needs.