I have a 60% hearing loss in my left ear and no hearing in my right ear. What kind of hearing aid can help me? I also need one that will connect to my smartphone.

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Goutham Gosu, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Charlotte
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I would suggest trying a BICROS hearing device; a couple of different manufacturers carry these kind of hearing aids which are smartphone compatiable. I would reccomend researching Signia (Siemens), Phonak, & Starkey. At this given time those 3 have the most updated technology when it comes to BICROS devices. 

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Margaret
Margaret Hutchison, PhD - Hearing Healthcare Provider in Austin
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There are three manufacturers who make some type of CROS, or BiCROS hearing aid.  Phonak has been in the market longest, and has had a wireless setup the longest.  Widex has entered more recently, and Siemens/Signia just entered this Spring (2016).  Some of the decision-making for this depends upon the exact configuration and type of hearing loss you have.

 If you say you have a "60%" loss, do you mean that your hearing thresholds are at 60 dB in that ear?  Do you mean that you have a AAO/HNS handicap score of 60, or an Articulation Index of 60?  

The Siemens Primax, with their CROS RIC, might be best if your high/frequency thresholds are at, or greater than, 60 dB, for example.  Siemens has better feedback control than either Widex or Phonak (currently--a newer Widex is coming out soon), and has a microchip which should give good noise suppression and enhanced hearing in noise.  

 

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Alicia D.D. Spoor, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Highland
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Find an audiologist who can complete a Communication Needs Assessment (not just a hearing aid sale consultation).  You may be a candidate for:

1.  A hearing aid in your left ear;

2.  A BiCROS hearing aid system;

3.  A bone-anchored-hearing-aid (BAHA) system, with or without a hearing aid on the left ear;

4.  A cochlear implant.

To determine what is best for your hearing and your needs, some additional testing may be required, in addition to evaluating your expectations.  Again, an Audiologist who specialized in communication needs can help with this process.  Good Luck!

 

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Scot frink
Christopher S. Frink, MS - Hearing Healthcare Provider in Salem
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I'm late to this answer (as usual), so will have to compensate with a lot of detail.  :)

Short answer first:  As everyone else has indicated, use of a BiCROS system would likely be best for you.  The current four major manufacturers offering this are Phonak, Widex, Siemens-Signia, and Starkey.  Many of these systems overlap one the technology they offer, but some have specific features that give them the edge over the other.

BiCROS in general works by routing the sounds from your poorer (right) ear to your better (left) ear, giving you the semblance of hearing as well on the right side as you do with a hearing aid on the left side.  The technology has been around for decades, but only in the last ten years has it caught up with the rest of the hearing aid market (this is due to a patent that one company had; they went bankrupt, opening up the patent for anyone to develop).

All of them have Bluetooth compatibility for your smartphone, but they all for sure require a "streaming" device--an accessory to act as an interface between the hearing aid and the phone.  None of them currently have direct "Made for iPhone" technology, which works directly with a phone and requires no accessory.  Only three manufacturers have M4iP (ReSound, Starkey, and Oticon), but none of them are currently CROS / BiCROS compatible.  If you truly wanted this more than getting help for hearing on the right side, you'd need to just go with a hearing aid for your left ear.

I've actually done performance studies on CROS & BiCROS technology (2005, 2010, 2014), and I'm just now starting my fourth study which will be a four-way comparison between the current products now available.  The study format will be in two parts, first with evaluation of improvement in hearing speech on the poorer side, conducted in a sound proof booth, with each of the four products.  The second part will involve the patient trying out each product in the real world over a 10-14 day period (each).  It will take a long time to complete (40 - 60 days per patient), and I currently have six people involved in the study, but we invited 145 candidates from our database to participate and we're just getting started this week.

I previously (2014) evaluated Phonak and Widex's last generations of technology with a pool of 19 patients.  It definitively favored Widex over Phonak, primarily because of battery life and performance in background noise; 16 out of 19 people preferred Widex over Phonak.  The reason it worked better in background noise is the that Phonak system did not (at that time) use a directional microphone system on the transmitter (poorer ear side), even though it did use one on the hearing aid (better ear side).  Widex's system, by contrast, used directional microphones on both sides, giving much better performance in background noise.  Phonak has since rectified this with their current generation of instruments, so I suspect if I conducted the study again with their current products (hey--I am!) the results would be much closer.  Signia and Siemens have also paid attention to this, so their systems also utilize directional microphones on both sides.  Note that these results were also found by Dr. Michael Valente of the University of Washington in St. Louis, a much better researcher than me.  My study was qualitative--opinion of the patient--but his was both quantitative and qualitative, demonstrating a measurable improvement with the Widex system over the Phonak system.

For the three people who preferred Phonak over Widex, the primary reason was cosmetics; the Phonak instruments are smaller and, in my opinion, more aesthetic pleasing to look at.  But they also had a much shorter battery life (3 - 5 days) compared to Widex (7-9 days).

When I complete the next study, maybe HearingTracker will be interested in the results.

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RYAN HIMEDA, BC-HIS - Hearing Healthcare Provider in Pearl City
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I would stongly agree with a BICROS system.  Ultimately when considering the different manufacturer's that have BICROS solutions, you would need to consider battery drain as well.  BICROS systems will go through batteries very quickly.   At our practice we also take a look at matching the hearing instrument as well as the transmitter in battery size as well as style.  E.g Custom with custom, RIC with RIC, BTE with BTE.  If this is a concern, for custom instruments I would go with Phonak, for they are the only one I believe that has a BICROS solution that is made as a custom.  Just FYI, the Primax via Siemens is great, Pure is the model you would be interested in.  However, the rechargeable aspect that people enjoy on the hearing instrument side, is not available with the transmitter.  We currently are having conversation with our Rep from Signia as far as when that is going to come out.  But you never know.  The new Phonak line is also coming out very soon "belong", should be interesting if the new platform does has BICROS capability and I hope it has the rechargeable aspect to not only the hearing instrumentation but also transmitter side.  Phonak Audeo B-R RIC. Widex does have their Unique Fusion RIC's also available with BICROS as a solution, no rechargeable capability, so disposable batteries are a must, size 312. It is also avail in bigger BTE sizes as well that work with size 13 batts. In my personal opinion on the connectivity side, WIDEX, UNI-DEX, COM DEX and Phonak, incompilot II or icomplilot air are the answer for connectivity, both have outstanding apps on iOS as well as Android.  The easytek option for Signia/Siemens has given our patients a lot of trouble with being a consistant solution. 

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Member RYAN HIMEDA, BC-HIS - 4 months ago
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On a side note, the new platform for Phonak does include a CROS solution as well, in both 312 and 13 batt sizes. Unfortunately at this time, it does say in the information from Phonak it is not compatible with their rechargeable platform. That's a shame.

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Ellen Nathan, MA - Hearing Healthcare Provider in Glendale
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You will need a Bicross hearing aid.  There are 4 manufacturers that make them, Phonak, Widex, Starkey, Siemens.  If you have a more signifigant loss in the better ear, be sure to get an ear mold instead of an instant fit tip.  I would HIGHLY recommend that what ever hearing aid you get to get one with a size 13 battery, the 312 wont last very long and performance can be affected.  For Bluetooth function, you will need a remote that can connect to your devices.  At this time there are no Bicross aids that work directly with a phone without a remote.

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Alina Phoenix - Hearing Healthcare Provider in Champaign
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A wireless BiCros would be the best solution for your situation.  I am half-deaf myself and have worn BiCros systems from both Widex and Starkey.  I find the Starkey system to be far superior.  It can connect with a cell phone, but does require a separate remote called the Surflink Mobile to do so.  I personally use the remote and it gives you total control over the sound - volume and environment settings - as well as a bluetooth connection to anything that has a bluetooth, and even a wired option if you want to stream sound from a non-bluetooth device to your hearing aid.  This option is useful for items that have an audio-out that you plug headphones into.  True hands-free cell phone use, the hearing aid picks up your voice and sends it back to the caller.  Has about a 30 foot radius, but if there are walls it starts getting iffy, and it starts getting iffy toward the outside of the radius.  It's enough that I can walk through my house and talk to people without having to carry either the cell phone or the remote, but my house is not as big as others.  The remote control also has built in microphones, so when you have a very difficult time hearing someone, you can have them talk into the remote and it sends directly to your hearing aids.  Can be useful in many situations.  My hubby uses it to find me when he doesn't know where I am in the house.  Background noise is often where SSD people struggle the most, so I would encourage you to try the higher levels of technology, as those will filter the most background noise for you.  Good luck in your search!

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Julie Norin, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Baltimore
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I also suggest a BICROS device. It stands for binaural (hearing aid) counter routing of signal. The better ear has a hearing aid with a receiver built in to receive a signal from a device worn on the poor ear that has a microphone and a transmitter. It's designed to allow the wearer to have better balance and sound awareness on the poorer side, because sound on that side is picked up and sent to be heard in the better ear. 

Phonak has a wireless system, that when used with a compilot streamer, will allow you to stream sound from your smartphone. Siemens also has a system that can connect to a phone with a streamer. 

If you want to connect directly with a phone without a streamer, you would need a device that does that, but they are not available as a BICROS. Those include Resound and Starkey.

i recommend connecting with an audiologist who can review the options with you and help make the appropriate selection. A reputable audiologist will offer a trial period during which you can return or exchange anything you buy.

good luck!

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Kristen Armstrong, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Cedar Park
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I would recommend Widex or Phonak BICROS with a compatible Bluetooth device (Com Dex for Widex or ComPilot II for Phonak). These systems provide amplification for the better ear and routing of sound from poorer ear to the better ear, so you don't have to worry which side is closer to the speaker. The Bluetooth devices will connect the input from your phone (audio or music) and stream it to your aid.
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Wendy Halsey-Richardson, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Ooltewah
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Phonak and Unitron both have hearing aids that would work for you.  The BiCros units are a hearing aid for your better ear and a microphone (looks like a hearing aid) for the bad ear that transmits the sound from that side to the better ear with the hearing aid.  

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Teacher Christopher S. Frink - 4 months ago
Scot frink

Hi Wendy. Just an update, Unitron no longer has CROS or BiCROS technology. Their last system, Tandem, was discontinued in 2014. The current manufacturers are Phonak (as you indicated), Widex (2013), Signia / SIemens (2016) and Starkey (2016). A smaller company called Audifon had a system back in 2010, but I don't know if they're still producing it.

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Keith lam
Keith Lam, BSc - Inventor, MBA-TM, BSET in Albuquerque
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If you only had one hearing test, I would suggest that you get a second oppinion.  If it turns out that you have no residual hearing in one ear, than I concur with the suggestions on this site for a BiCross.  Hope this helps.

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Arizona balance hearing audiologist dr. dana day1
Dana Day, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Phoenix
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I would agree with Dr. Gosu if your speech discrimination is poor in the left ear.  You mentioned a 60% hearing loss, but not what your speech scores were at the time of testing, also, if your hearing loss is sensorineural in nature vs conductive?

The BiCros solutions mentioned are excellent and will work with wireless streaming.  If your speech discrimination is good in your poor ear consider a unilateral fit.  For iPhone streaming you have several options as well, Siemens, Starkey and ReSound.

Best regards,

 

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