Newsletter

19 Jun
Written by in Hearing Loss News | 24 Views | Comments Closed

Santa Brings 7-Year Old the Gift of Hearing

This past holiday season, children filled out their Christmas lists to send to Santa. Hoverboards and video games topped the lists of many. However, for one special 7-year old in Deerfield Beach, Florida, all she wanted was the gift of better hearing.

Every year, the All American Hearing network of hearing healthcare providers holds a special holiday contest. We give the gift of hearing to someone in need of hearing help. We ask that the loved ones, friends and family members of the person who is in need, to write Santa a letter and explain why the gift of hearing should be given to the person in need. Each year we receive submissions from across the United States. This year we received hundreds of requests from the loved ones of those in need.

As you can probably imagine, it is not easy narrowing down hundreds of submissions to just one. In an effort to help all with their hearing loss, we offer a buy one get one free deal to everyone who had a submission. This is a savings of over $2,000!

Each submission is read by a panel at All American Hearing. We read every single letter that comes into our mailbox. These letters are touching and moving. This year, one submission stood out.

Kaitlyn Newland was born with a hearing loss. She has needed hearing aids since birth to hear and speak. Her hearing loss has affected her everyday life. According to a submission from her school, Trinity Christian School, “Kaitlyn is struggling in class and at home with ordinary tasks, and would greatly benefit from positive interactions and experiences in her young life.” Several other letters indicated that Kaitlyn’s hearing loss has effected her learning that she has fell so far behind in school that she faced the possibility of being held back.

Kaitlyn has a twin sister. We know how close twins are in life. Kaitlyn had been separated from certain parts of her life due to her hearing loss, we did not want her to be separated from her twin sister in school as well.

Letters from Santa

Submissions received for Kaitlyn Newland

We received four submissions from her school, aunt, grandmother and family friend urging us to choose Kaitlyn for the gift of better hearing. With her whole life ahead of her and the opportunity to live it to it’s fullest present, we choose Kaitlyn Newland as the recipient of a brand new pair of Audibel A4 hearing aids.

This is the part of the story where one would think everything was going according to plan. We have a 7-year old little girl who struggles with hearing loss that lives just minutes away from our office in Deerfield Beach, FL. Shortly after contacting her family and letting them know the good news, we were informed that Kaitlyn and her family were moving north to Greenville, SC. What was once a 10 minute drive to our office now turned into a three hour trip and over 200 miles to our closest office in Rome, GA.

Not to be deterred, we worked with Kaitlyn’s mother, Christina, and the local office in Rome, GA (Audibel) to work with their schedule to get Kaitlyn the help she so desperately needed. Finally, after weeks of conversation and planning, we were able to visit with Kaitlyn in our Rome, GA office in March of 2017, three months after it was announced she was the winner. In an email from Katilyn’s mom Christina, she wrote “When we went to the hearing center in Rome, GA she was having a pretty bad day since we had to drive at 4:30 am to make the appointment but please know that she is over the moon about getting a new set of hearing aids.”

Christina, Katilyn’s mother, drove Kaitlyn the 200+ miles trip to Rome, GA for appointment number one. With both parties determined to find a solution that would greatly benefit Kaitlyn, a set of brand new Audibel A4 hearing aids were selected by the hearing healthcare provider Charles Scoggins. Charles even customized the hearing aids for Kaitlyn to fit her exact ear canal.

Kaitlyn would have to make the 200 mile trip one more time to get her brand new custom hearing aids. Finally, in early April, Kaitlyn returned to our Rome, GA office to receive her hearing aids. The impact the hearing aids had on Kaitlyn’s life was instant. While she had hearing aids in the past, they were not as technologically advanced as the set she received from All American Hearing.

Christina wrote to us in an email after they received the hearing aids:

“The hearing aids have been such a blessing for Kaitlyn.  She loves the hearing aids and loves he fact that she can turn them up or down whenever she needs it. They are amazing, the technology is unbelievable and it has completely changed her mood. She is so much more controlled, calm and social.  She is not embarrassed to tell people she wears hearing aids anymore.  I am overwhelmed with joy, and it brings tears to my eyes to see how different she is now and how this has impacted our lives. I can’t thank you enough for choosing her. Thanks again for caring and for helping Kaitlyn be a normal little girl.  We will be forever grateful.”

It’s stories like Kaitlyn’s that drives our hearing healthcare providers across the nation to help more people hear better. The impact that proper hearing can have on someone’s life is priceless. Kaitlyn will now be able to learn at the level she is capable of in her classes. She can experience life in a way she had not had before. She can converse with her twin sister about all things sisters love to talk about. Her mother, Christina, can smile knowing that Kaitlyn is no loner embarrassed about her hearing loss.

We want to extend a special thank you to Kaitlyn, her mother Christina, those who submitted submission’s on Kaitlyn’s behalf, her entire family who accompanied Kaitlyn to the appointment and our local staff in Rome, GA, Charles and Sharon Scoggins. Together, we all made an impact and a different in one little girls life.

Kaitlyn Newland with Chalres and Sharon Scoggins

Kaitlyn Newland with our hearing healthcare provider Charles Scoggins and office manager Sharon Scoggins in Rome, GA

14 Dec
Written by in Hearing Loss News | 584 Views | Comments Closed

Tips For Communicated With The Hearing Impaired

Does someone you know wear hearing aids but they still sometimes have difficulty understanding what is being said?  Hearing aids cannot fix the damage inside the ear, they simply amplify the damaged haircells.  So sometimes the person still may misinterpret what is being said.  There are things you can do to help the person understand correctly the first time:

  • Understand that hearing aids do not restore normal hearing. We can do amazing things with hearing aids but they cannot repair the damage to the auditory system.
  • Remember that just because a person can hear your voice, does not mean they can understand your words. Hearing loss may cause distortion in the way sounds are perceived. “Toothpaste” may sound like “suitcase” even when speech is loud enough.
  • Speak naturally and with normal expression. People with hearing loss may need things repeated.  But when a person with hearing loss isn’t understanding you, your natural instinct may be to raise your voice.  Shouting or raising your voice can often make things more distorted.  Louder doesn’t mean clearer, it just means loud!
  • Slow down your rate of speech.
  • Quiet places will assist communication. Be aware of noises that may be in the listening environment that can effect speech understanding. Things like air conditioners, fans, TVs, water running, restaurant noise, and other people’s conversations can all significantly effect the ease of communication for someone with hearing loss.
  • Gain someone’s attention before you start a conversation. Address them directly by saying their name before starting a conversation so they have time to focus.
  • Hearing aids will help you hear conversations at a reasonable distance. Decrease the distance between you and the listener. This is the single most effective way to increase understanding. Speech understanding is significantly decreased beyond 15 feet so do not expect your loved one to understand you when you are in the basement and they are on the 3rd floor!  If you can’t see the person’s face, you are probably too far away for effective communication.
  • If a hard of hearing person needs something repeated, instead of repeating it the exact same way, try rephrasing it.  For example:
    “We are joining the Smiths for dinner at 6.”
    “What?”
    “We are going to the Outback with Joan and Bob for dinner tonight.”
  • Finally, look directly at the person! Most people with hearing loss use visual cues to fill in where they may misunderstand.   The lips, face and body gestures all provide valuable cues and can help fill in for sounds they are not getting.
14 Dec
Written by in Hearing Loss News | 1231 Views | Comments Closed

Retrain Your Brain

Congratulations on taking the step to better hearing.  Good communication effects everything.  The National Council on Aging reports that hearing loss negatively impacts quality of life, personal relationships, communication ability, and it can cause depression.  Although no hearing aid can restore your hearing to 100% normal, they have evolved over the years and are quite amazing tiny devices.  The following tips will help you get the most out of your new hearing aids.

Wearing Hearing AidsTip #1
Wear your hearing aids!  Hearing aids cannot help you if they are in your sock drawer.  You need to wear them consistently.  Hearing aids are made to be worn 12-16 hours a day.  Getting use to your new hearing is a process.  If your brain is getting an inconsistent signal because you are not wearing the aids on a regular basis, the process of getting use to your hearing aids will be longer and more difficult.  It is also important to wear them in all listening situations.  Even if you are home alone, and there is no one to talk to, wear your hearing aids!  You cannot expect to do well in a challenging noisy situation if you brain is not use to hearing in an easy quiet situation.   The exception to this is that you do not want to wear your hearing aids around dangerous noise levels (lawnmower, leaf blower, or snow blower).  You cannot reverse hearing loss but you can prevent further damage from noise exposure.  When you are using power equipment, take your hearing aids out and use hearing protection.

Tip #2
Things will sound different when you are wearing your hearing aids.  This is completely normal, especially in the beginning!  Remember that those sounds have always been there, you just haven’t heard them the way you are now.  The brain needs time to make sense of what you are hearing.  You actually need to retrain your brain to hear with your hearing aids.  One of the first things you will notice when you are wearing your hearing aids is that your own voice sounds different.  It may sound a bit hollow or louder than what you remember.  If you are wearing your hearing aids consistently, your own voice will be one of the first things you adapt to.

Tip #3
Don’t expect to hear everything.  Even people with normal hearing need things repeated or may misinterpret what is said from time to time.  Hearing aids cannot give you better hearing than people with normal hearing, so have reasonable expectations.  It is helpful if you share information about your hearing loss with family and friends.  Sometimes family assumes that once you have hearing aids you should hear perfectly … even when you are in the basement and they talking to you from the third floor!

Cleaning Hearing AidsTip #4
Hearing aids need maintenance.  Just like a car, hearing aids need check-ups to be sure they are in good working order and to maintain the best sound quality.  Hearing aids should be checked and cleaned every 3-4 months for best performance.  An audiological re-evaluation should be done every year to be sure hearing has not changed.  If it has, the hearing aids may need to be adjusted or fine tuned to compensate for the change in your hearing.  If you have questions or concerns, talk to your hearing healthcare provider.  We are here to help!

17 Nov
Written by in Hearing Loss News | 1915 Views | Comments Closed

Everything You Need to Know About Hearing Aid Batteries

Hearing aid batteries use zinc-air technology. What is zinc-air technology? As the name implies, zinc-air technology uses oxygen from the atmosphere as an active ingredient. There are some other unique aspects that make zinc-air batteries different from other types of batteries:

Need for a Sticker/Tab

Hearing aid batteries need a tab or sticker to seal the vent holes in the battery and prevent dry out. Do not peel off the paper tab until you are ready to change your battery.

Letting Your Hearing Aid Battery BreathLet the Battery Breathe

This is very important. Once you peel off the paper tab, it is important to let the battery “catch its breath.” As air starts to enter the holes under the paper tab, it activates the battery. We always recommend that you let the battery sit for a full 3-5 minutes before you insert it into your hearing aid and shut the door. That is important because it allows the voltage in the battery to rise and ensures that you will not have start-up problems with the hearing aid.

Use Right Away

Zinc-air batteries are best used right after you peel off the tab. This is because the battery begins to discharge as soon as that tab is removed. It is impossible to stop that discharge from occurring once you have removed the tab. Replacing the paper tab will not stop the battery from draining.

Environment

Battery performance, and ultimately hearing aid performance, can be sensitive to the environment. Heat, cold and humidity all can affect the life of your battery.

Reminders

:

  1. Keep on the paper tab until ready to use.
  2. Once you peel of the paper tab, let the battery breathe for 3-5 minutes before you close your battery door.
  3. Batteries will slowly drain as soon as you remove the tab even if you are not using your hearing aid.
  4. Keep your batteries in a cool and dry place.
17 Nov
Written by in Hearing Loss News | 646 Views | Comments Closed

What To Expect From Your Hearing Aids

Knowing what to expect and having realistic expectations from hearing aids can ensure your maximum satisfaction with them. When you first get hearing aids, your brain will take a while to get used to hearing sounds again at the pitches where you have hearing loss. Your brain will also need some time to adjust to the sound quality of your hearing aids. We call this adaptation. Your brain will adapt to your new hearing, although it can several weeks to several months. We want your hearing experience to be positive and happy, and we will work with you during the early days to make your adaptation to wearing hearing aids as easy as possible.

Over time your perception of sound will change, so during the trial period we often need to make tuning adjustments to the hearing aids to account for your brain adapting. This is very normal. By working closely with you we can be sure your hearing aids are adjusted optimally for your individual needs.

Here are some of the things we will ask you to keep in mind when the hearing aids are new:

  • Things will sound different at first and you need to just give your brain time to adjust to listening to the new sounds your hearing aids pick up. The adaptation period can take anywhere from a few weeks to months.
  • At first you might think that the sound from your hearing aids is unnatural. Give it time, be patient and persevere. Gradually your hearing nerves and brain will adjust to hearing sound again and over time, your hearing aids will sound more natural.
  • With hearing aids you should be able to hear many sounds you can’t hear without them, and some of these might take you by surprise. You should notice improved hearing in many listening situations that are important to you.
  • Hearing aids will help you hear better but they do not restore normal hearing. This is because they are hearing aids not ear replacements.
  • Wearing hearing aids doesn’t mean you’ll be able to hear every sound in every situation. Remember, even people with normal hearing miss sounds from time to time.
  • Part of the hearing aid fitting process is tuning your hearing aids to your particular hearing needs. We do this over several appointments with time between each appointment so you can try your aids out in a variety of listening situations
17 Nov
Written by in Hearing Loss News | 1453 Views | Comments Closed

7 Tips For Hearing Better At Your Favorite Restaurant

Following a conversation in a noisy restaurant can be a challenge for those who have normal hearing. But when you have hearing loss, the clanging dishes, music, and voices in a large open area can make hearing when dining out nearly impossible. In Zagat’s 2014 America’s Top Restaurants Survey, a noisy restaurant is the #1 complaint from diners, even over bad service. But these 7 tips will help you make your next night out on the town more enjoyable!

  1. If you have a choice between a table or a booth, pick a booth.
  2. Look above you.  Are you sitting directly under the air conditioner, fan or music speaker?  Loud music is not your friend! If you ask, sometimes the restaurant will agree to turn down the volume of the music if you explain that it is too loud for you to communicate with your dinner guests.
  3. If your hearing aids have directional microphones (two microphones instead of one), put the greatest amount of noise behind you.  Directional microphones are designed to reduce sounds from the side and the rear and focus on sounds in front of you. Think of it this way, directional microphones will focus your hearing aids wherever your nose is pointing. So if you are facing into a noisy restaurant, the directional microphones will be focusing on the greatest amount of background noise. That is not good! When your hearing aids have directional microphones, the best spot to sit in is the one that will put room noise behind you.
  4. If you are dining with a larger group, avoid sitting at the ends of the table. It is very difficult to hear from one end to the other so try to sit in the middle. Be realistic. You are not going to hear everyone, so sit next to people you like!
  5. Don’t sit near the kitchen, bar or the hostess area. The ambient noise from these locations will be distracting.
  6. Look at the person who is talking. When you are in a challenging listening situation, like a restaurant, you are going to need to use some visual cues.
  7. Pick your seat! Don’t be afraid to tell the hostess that where you sit will make a difference on how much you enjoy your meal.  Calling ahead and telling the hostess where you need to sit will avail a long wait once you get there.

 

19 Oct
Written by in Hearing Loss News | 813 Views | Comments Closed

Preventing Tinnitus

By: Dr. Kent Collins, TeleHear

Over 50 million American suffer from some form of tinnitus – sound heard in the head usually described as ringing, hissing, or buzzing. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that approximately ½ of these individuals experience chronic tinnitus while 2 million suffer from debilitating cases. There are a plethora of treatment options including over-the-counter supplements, psychological counseling techniques, sound therapy, and sound stimulus through hearing aid treatment. None have eliminated tinnitus.

Like any preventable condition, the best way to not suffer from tinnitus is to change your behaviors to prevent it from happening.

We know the most common cause of tinnitus is inner ear damage and the number one cause of inner ear damage is noise exposure. Thus it makes sense the best way to prevent tinnitus is to prevent noise exposure.

What is noise exposure? Noise exposure tends to have two forms: impulsive noise blasts and chronic noise exposure.

  • Impulsive noise blasts are extremely loud, often short during, booms of damaging noise. Most commonly impulsive noise exposure occurs from a gunshot that can cause inner ear hair cell damage from even a one-time occurrence. Other causes of impulsive noise exposure are explosions, car accidents, and some work place injuries.
  • Chronic noise exposure is commonly associated with repeated, day after day, noise exposure at work. For example, factor workers or heavy equipment operators. Another common cause of chronic noise exposure is repeatedly listening to music that is too loud through earbuds.

Regardless if impulsive noise blasts or chronic noise exposure occurs, utilizing hearing protection is the only effective way to prevent inner ear damage. Preventing noise damage from occurring in the first place will lower your risk of experiencing tinnitus.

There are many forms of hearing protection ranging from low cost foam ear plugs to high end custom made in-the-ear sound attenuators. Please consult your local hearing healthcare provider for the best options in hearing protection.

8 Aug
Written by in Hearing Loss News | 984 Views | Comments Closed

Hearing Aids: What the Professionals Wish You Knew

An individual’s Hearing Health needs to be an equal partner with concerns regarding vision and dental health and given the same amount of respect.

If you or a loved one has decided to ignore a hearing loss because you have some sort of stigma about wearing hearing aids, take note. Here’s what audiologists wish you knew:

They’re not your grandfather’s hearing aid

Technology has rapidly advanced in the area of hearing and hearing aids as it has in many other areas.  We have entered the digital age of hearing.  Hearing aids now process the sounds and shape the response to each individuals hearing loss versus the older linear aids which were an amplifier that made everything louder.   Hearing aids today have much more control over sounds so that they can recognize soft, medium and loud sounds and deal with them accordingly.  This allows soft sounds to be audible, medium range sounds to be comfortable and loud sounds loud but NOT uncomfortable.  Hearing aids today can be wireless so that they talk to each other and work together as a team to bring through speech and reduce background noise.  It is neither possible nor desirable to remove all of the background noise!   Removal of all the background would take away some sounds we need to hear for understanding of words.  So instead we want to control the noise as much as possible so that it is not as annoying.  Wireless hearing aids can also connect to TV streamers which allow the television to be directed right into the hearing aids.  The program can also be heard throughout the house if so desired.  No more missing parts of the big game or a favorite movie to use the restroom or get a snack from the kitchen.  And for more discreet control and adjustment remote controls are available for many models.

Hearing aids have also gotten much smaller.  Some in-the-canal style units are invisible or nearly invisible in the ear canal.  The over-the-ear RIC style aids only have a small wire leading down from the top of the ear down into the canal which also makes them hardly noticeable.  Many color choices are available for the RIC models to blend with an individual’s hair or glasses to make them even less visible.

Today’s hearing aids are smaller, they work smarter, are comfortable to wear and improve hearing in a way as never before.  Today’s hearing aids cannot be compared to those built even 10 years ago!!!  They are now so much better.

Don’t be afraid or intimidated by what you hear about hearing aids from others.  They are helpful and can really change a person’s life for the better.  Remember how big cell phones were when they were first developed?  Look at them now.  They are very small computers and that’s how hearing aids are today.

Hearing aids enhance your quality of life

Hearing loss can cause anxiety, social isolation, depression, brain atrophy, safety and balance problems, cognitive decline, reduced social activity and relationship problems with family, friends and our significant others.  Most losses occur slowly over time and we are not even aware of the changes that are happening or what things should sound like.  With hearing loss the ability to understand is lessened and we do not feel like we are a part of our world.  This causes anxiety and frustration.  With a hearing loss an individual has to work harder to hear and that is tiresome.  Straining to hear, watching the speaker’s lips, asking people to repeat all the time is taxing and fatiguing.  It is much easier to just avoid social situations and stay at home.  Unfortunately, avoidance behavior results in depression and anger and can start a person down the road to developing at a faster rate than normal.

Those individuals who get treatment for their hearing loss by utilizing hearing aids, enjoy a much higher quality of life and so do their families, friends and significant others!

Hearing aids may help prevent the brain from shrinking

Did you know that your brain shrinks with age?  Unlike our waist lines, our brain gets smaller as we get older.  Studies show that individuals with hearing loss show a greater amount of shrinkage than those with normal hearing.  According to research conducted by Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging, older adults with untreated hearing loss lost an average of a cubic centimeter of brain tissue each year compared to those with normal hearing. MRIs from the study participants showed the atrophy in the regions of the brain responsible for speech and sound.

Fortunately, hearing aids can stimulate the auditory area thus, reducing the risk of losing brain mass and developing dementia or even Alzheimer’s disease.

Listening with hearing aids is like exercise for the brain!  This stimulation helps to preserve the nerve cells in the brain whose job it is to interpret the sounds delivered to the brain by the ear and hearing nerve.  Once this is lost it is gone forever!

Hearing aids can help you hear telephone conversations better

Today’s hearing aids can enhance your listening ability on the phone.  With hearing aids you will be better able to talk with your grandchildren across the country, order that delicious pizza from your favorite pizzeria or get the information you need from your banker.

Many hearing aids today have telecoils which directly receive the phone signal through magnetic induction from the telephone speaker.  (Check your phone manuals or when purchasing a phone ask for hearing aid compatible ones)  Many cellphones also have this feature but not all come with that feature activated.  Your Audiologist should be able to assist you to get this feature turned on.  When speaking through the telecoil, room sounds in that ear will be reduced and the hearing aid will not whistle or feedback!

Other hearing aids can connect directly with your iPhone! With these units the phone calls, Siri and music all flow directly into BOTH hearing aids for optimum understanding and listening pleasure.  Other phones can be connected directly into cell phones through a remote control intermediary.

Also available through a FREE government program to anyone with a hearing loss is a caption telephone.  With the captioned phone an individual not only hears what the speaker on the other end is saying but they can also see it on a screen right on the telephone. (High speed internet is needed in the home for this phone)

Hearing aids can’t do all the work themselves

Hearing loss can have many causes.  See an Audiologist for professional testing, diagnosis and referral for any medically treatable causes.  If the loss is the common non-medically treatable sensory neural hearing loss then obtain the treatment and counseling recommended by your Audiologist.

Hearing aids are not perfect and you will never hear perfectly! Remember:  It will take time to relearn how to hear again.  Here is where the counseling and guidance of your Audiologist is crucial.  It has been shown that success with hearing aids depends 40% on the device and 60% on your Audiologist. Find a professional who is qualified, experienced and who is willing to take the time to sit down with you and assist you with a program for relearning how to hear.

Be wary of internet sales or big box companies where who do not have the time to spend with you to ensure success.  You don’t want to get you hearing aids at a “fast food” store.  You want service and care that all is right.

Relearning to hear should take 10-14 days but may take longer for some.

At my office we offer a 30 day trial so the aids can be worn at home and in the environments that the user normally deals with.  I also offer an internet training program that helps to speed up the relearning to hear process with computer games you plat at home.

Relearning to hear is not difficult it just takes a little time, some patience and a good guide to lead you along the way.

Hearing is healthcare

We all should make annual appointments to see our doctor for a physical and our eye doctor to check our vision and the dentist maybe twice a year for cleanings.  One step further that should be taken is to treat our ears in the same manner with a checkup. A baseline hearing test should be done for anyone over age 50.  Find out where your hearing is today and if a problem is found-deal with it promptly!!!

Find an Audiologist you can trust and with whom you feel comfortable.  When and if the time comes to get hearing aids this will make all the difference for you to become a successful hearing aid wearer

Franklin A. Shepel, Au.D

Board Certified Doctor of Audiology

9 Jun
Written by in AAH Heroes | 942 Views | Comments Closed

Operation Change: Changing the World One Hearing Aid At a Time

by: Dr. Kent Collins, Au.D.
Director of TeleHear

Operation_Change_LogoDid you know that All American Hearing Centers participated in a massive philanthropy effort that was the focal point of a series on Oprah Winfrey’s TV network OWN?  At All American Hearing Centers, our providers and patients are well aware of how we partner with Starkey Hearing Technologies to combat hearing loss and make a positive improvement in the lives of individual and families.  However, what you might not know about is the tremendous philanthropic work being carried out by Starkey Hearing Technologies and the Starkey Hearing Foundation around the world.

Operation-ChangeThe Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) will has aired a 10-part documentary series called Operation Change.  This documentary showcases stories about some of the world’s most challenging issues and the organizations that are working to bring positive change.  During each episode, Starkey Hearing Technologies’ owner and Starkey Hearing Foundation’s co-founders Bill and Tani Austin, along with Starkey Hearing Technologies’ Steven Sawalich, and their team went to different parts of the world, immerse themselves in the local community, and worked to help empower and improve the lives of entire communities with the help of local organizations.

Everyday our great staff at All American Hearing change the lives of patients one individual at a time. Hearing loss is the third most prevalent treatable disabling condition behind arthritis and hypertension within the United Sates and globally is an epidemic impacting more than 360 million people. Every year within our network of All American Hearing Centers, we see more than a million Americans walk through our door for treatment services. These patients don’t realize it, but they are part of a small percentage of consumers globally that have access to hearing care. I am proud to say our network of All American Hearing Centers donates proceeds from every hearing aid sale to support the great work of the Starkey Hearing Foundation. The Starkey Hearing Foundation is not only working to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by hearing loss, but they are also working to make a positive change in the global community with sustainable projects and empowering people to help themselves.

Please continue your support of Starkey Hearing Technologies & the Starkey Hearing Foundation by watching the Operation Change docu-series by clicking here.

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 7.33.02 AM

To learn more about the Starkey Hearing Foundation please click here.

10 May
Written by in Hearing Loss News | 1623 Views | Comments Closed

CROS or BiCROS

by: Dr. Frank Shepel, Au.D.
SoundPoint Audiology and Hearing Center
Casa Grande, AZ

Are These Hearing Aid Options Right For You?

What are CROS and BiCROSS hearing aids?
CROS stands for contralateral routing of signal and BiCROS is the acronym for bilateral routing of signal.

What type or degree of hearing loss utilizes these styles?
These hearing aids are utilized when a hearing impaired individual has normal to moderate hearing loss in one ear and no usable hearing in the other ear. This would be what could be called a “dead” ear or one where amplification would not provide any significant benefit to an individual’s ability to understand speech or one where due to surgery or some other medical condition a hearing aid should not be fit to that ear per a physician’s recommendation.

How do these hearing aids work?
Two units are utilized to get the sound signals to the better hearing ear.  A transmitter unit with a microphone is worn on the ear with no usable hearing.  On the better hearing ear a hearing aid with a receiver is worn.  In the CROS hearing system, sound from the poorer hearing side is fed across the head to the better hearing ear.  This provides sound to the better ear which is generated from the poorer hearing or off side.  This would allow a person with no useful hearing in their right ear to hear conversations better while driving a vehicle as the passenger’s voice would be transmitted to their good ear which is closer to the driver door window.  In this case the driver would not need to remove their vision from the road to look at the talker to understand a conversation.  In the BICROS hearing system we have one ear that cannot be helped and another ear that hears but not too well so it needs help to hear better also.  With a BICROS set up, sound is sent from the poorer hearing ear transmitter’s microphone across the head to the better ear which has the receiver.  The receiver picks up the sound from the transmitter and amplifies it as well as the sound from the receiver side microphone. This allows the user to hear sound from the off poorer side and sound from the better side more efficiently.  Sound is thus amplified on both sides and put into the better ear.

CROS: normal hearing in better ear – no hearing or unaidable hearing loss in the poorer ear
BiCROS: aidable hearing loss in the better ear – no hearing or unaidable hearing loss in the poorer ear

How long have these systems been available?
CROS and BiCROS hearing aids have been available since the 1970’s.  At that time the user needed to have a wire running from one ear to the other to carry the signal across the head.  A popular way of doing this was to hide the wire in the frames of the individual’s glasses.  The hearing aids were then contained in the bows of the glasses.  A consequence to this was that the glasses were physically large to house all the components and they were difficult to fit as much care needed to be taken when bending them to fit each individual.  The units also tended to have more breakdowns due to the nondigital technology needing many wires in the circuitry.  Also, when an individual removed their glasses their hearing aids came off.  In colder climates like Minnesota and North Dakota where I worked at the time, when a person walked into a store in the winter their glasses would fog up and need to be removed, so then it became difficult to communicate with the clerk until the fog was removed and the glasses reattached.  If glasses were not worn, a wire was worn behind the head connect the transmitter and receiver sides of the hearing aids.  Hopefully, it could be hidden in the individual’s hair which was much easier for the females.

How have these systems improved?
Today these systems have gone wireless removing the need to have a wire running from one ear to the other.  The transmitter unit broadcasts the sound picked up by the microphone on the poorer hearing side to the receiver antennae in the receiver unit on the better hearing side.  This has made them much more comfortable and easier to wear. They are available as custom in the ear products or the more popular over the ear style. Today the CROS/BiCROS systems have also left the analog age of technology and converted to digital circuitry.  This is a significant change as in the past, individuals needing to utilize these instruments had to settle for second class technology because digital was not available for them to provide more noise reduction, better understanding and more adjustability.  With the new digital wireless devices users will be able to utilize the best technology available or the same technology that others are able to purchase.

Are CROS/BiCROS hearing aids difficult to get accustomed to?  
Not any harder than relearning to hear with any other type of hearing aid.  The individual does need to relearn how to hear and they still may want to turn their head at first when someone is talking on their poorer hearing side.  With these units, individuals will still note that directionality, the ability to tell from where sound is originating does not improve.  We need to be able to hear with both ears to have direct finding ability for hearing.  With these aids, even though hearing is provided from the poorer side, all hearing is being done with a single, better ear not with two separate ears.

Are these aids more expensive?
I like to think of these styles as having 1 ½ hearing aids versus 2.  They are typically more expensive than one but less than buying two.  With this type of hearing aid it is better to get the higher technology levels of hearing aid because the wearer is using only one ear to do all their hearing and the better technology gives them better hearing through more noise reduction, better fitting to their hearing loss, more adjustability for fine tuning and better understanding through faster more effective processing of the sound signal.  All these benefits lead to better understanding and more efficient communication ability which is what we want from hearing aids.

All American Hearing is proud to announce the release of our new Pride i2400 CROS/BiCROS RIC style hearing aids.  These digital units have dual core quad processor technology for digital enhancement of the incoming signals providing  significant improvements in speech quality and understanding, background noise reduction and music listening appreciation all contained in a small over the ear instrument. Pride is compatible with the wireless SurfLink accessories and provides improved phone conversations with ear to ear streaming.

Benefits of Pride Technology

  • Clearer and easier conversations with precise speech audibility and accurate speech detection in difficult listening situations
  • Better understanding in noise
  • Wind, noise, whistling and feedback management for optimal speech understanding
  • Wireless functionality
  • On board volume control
  • Simultaneous processing of multiple sounds for a comprehensive listening experience that makes speech crisp and clear while keeping ambient noise natural
  • Improved phone conversations with ear to ear streaming
  • Customizable tinnitus relief with our Multiflex Tinnitus Technology

If you or a loved one feels that you are in need of hearing help, please contact our office today to set up a consultation and a 30 day trial to experience what improved hearing can do for your quality of life!

Franklin A. Shepel, Au.D
Board Certified Doctor of Audiology

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