Understanding the Difference between CROS, BiCROS, and AmpCROS Hearing Aids

When it comes to addressing unilateral hearing loss, terms like CROS, BiCROS, and AmpCROS often come up.

Cros Hearing Aids: Common Terminology and Patient Perspective

When it comes to discussions surrounding hearing aids for individuals with unilateral hearing loss, the terms CROS, BiCROS, and AmpCROS are often used interchangeably in general conversation or just shortened to the word “Cros”. From a patient’s perspective, it is important to note that these terms are often simplified and grouped together under the umbrella term “CROS hearing aid.” This is because patients are not expected to have in-depth knowledge of the technical differences between these variations.

Audiologists understand that the distinctions between CROS, BiCROS, and AmpCROS hearing aids are crucial in determining the most suitable solution for each individual’s specific hearing needs. However, when an audiologist mentions a “CROS hearing aid” to a patient, it could refer to any of the three types depending on the patient’s unique condition.

Patients should not feel overwhelmed or confused if the term “CROS hearing aid” is used broadly during discussions. It is the responsibility of the audiologist to explain the specific features and functionalities of the recommended device and ensure that it aligns with the patient’s hearing profile.

By utilizing the term “CROS hearing aid” as a general reference, audiologists can simplify communication and avoid unnecessary technical jargon that might confuse patients. It is during the consultation and fitting process that audiologists will provide a comprehensive explanation of the specific type of CROS hearing aid being recommended, whether it is a CROS, BiCROS, or AmpCROS device.

CROS and BiCROS Hearing Aids: A Recap

To briefly recap, CROS stands for Contralateral Routing of Signals, and BiCROS stands for Bilateral Contralateral Routing of Signals. These hearing aid systems are designed for individuals with unilateral hearing loss, where one ear has significant hearing loss while the other ear has relatively normal or better hearing.

Understanding AmpCROS Hearing Aids

In addition to CROS and BiCROS, there is another type of hearing aid called AmpCROS, which stands for Amplified CROS. AmpCROS hearing aids are specifically designed for individuals who have a non-functional or unaidable ear. Unlike CROS and BiCROS hearing aids, where one ear has some degree of hearing ability, AmpCROS is intended for individuals with a non-hearing ear, often due to conditions such as profound sensorineural hearing loss or a damaged auditory nerve.

The functionality of AmpCROS Hearing Aids

AmpCROS hearing aids work by utilizing a microphone placed on the side with non-functional hearing and transmitting the sound wirelessly to a receiver on the better hearing ear. However, unlike CROS and BiCROS, where the sound is routed to the functional ear, AmpCROS hearing aids amplify the sound signal from the non-functional ear to compensate for the lack of hearing ability in that ear. This amplification allows the individual to perceive sound from both sides, despite the non-functional ear.

Distinction between CROS, BiCROS, and AmpCROS Hearing Aids

To summarize the differences:

  1. CROS: Designed for individuals with hearing loss in one ear and normal hearing in the other. Sound is routed from the side with hearing loss to the better ear.
  2. BiCROS: Designed for individuals with hearing loss in one ear and some degree of hearing loss in the other. Sound is routed from the side with hearing loss to the better ear, while also amplifying sound from the side with some hearing loss.
  3. AmpCROS: Designed for individuals with a non-functional or unaidable ear. Sound is amplified from the non-functional ear and transmitted wirelessly to the better hearing ear.

Which Manufacturer Make Cros Aids?

All major hearing aid manufacturers, including Phonak, Starkey, Oticon, and GN ReSound, offer CROS hearing aid products. These manufacturers have recognized the importance of providing solutions for individuals with unilateral hearing loss and have developed a range of CROS options to cater to different patient needs. When it comes to selecting a specific manufacturer for your CROS hearing aid, it is advisable to consider the hearing aid you already have on your better ear. This will ensure compatibility and optimal performance between the devices. Consulting with your audiologist can help you make an informed decision based on your unique hearing profile and preferences.

Jonathan Javid Au.D.

Jonathan Javid Au.D., a seasoned audiologist with an extensive background in the field of audiology. With over 11 years of invaluable clinical experience, Jonathan has dedicated his career to helping individuals enhance their hearing and improve their quality of life.

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