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Single Sided Hearing Loss & CROS Hearing Aids

I’ve had single sided deafness (SSD) since 1995. The loss consists of about a 40% reduction in sound across the frequency range with 100% loss of comprehension of what sound is. I hear muffled sound, but I don’t know what it is. A bell ringing is just noise. I do not know it is a bell. A voice is just a jumbled voice. I recognize it’s a voice, but I don’t recognize any of the phonetics that make up the voice. Sometimes I can tell it’s female versus male, but not always. After 26 years of being SSD, I’ve decided to do something about it.
My first misadventure was with cochlear implantation. An audiologist heard about my SSD and suggested a cochlear implant. I said I could not afford it and they told me that Medicare would cover it. I jumped at the chance. I got the referral and went to the first ENT to see their PA. The PA examined my four year old audiology exam and said that I would probably benefit from CROS hearing aids. I told her I had tried them before and did not see the benefit versus the cost. But, I said that if a cochlear implant was not going to cost anything out of pocket I was willing to try. She referred me to a “buddy” PA at another ENT.
The 2nd ENT saw me a couple of weeks later and confirmed that I would likely benefit from a cochlear implant. She scheduled me to see a doctor of audiology. Two more weeks go by and I see the audiologist. She runs a quick audiological exam, and does not so much as look in my ears, and pronounced that yes, I qualify under Medicare rules for a cochlear implant.
I am scheduled for a surgical consult three weeks later. For the following three weeks, I do exhaustive research, talk to other CI recipients and even sign up on MedEl’s forum for implant and potential implant patients. I learn everything I can about cochlear implantation.
The day of the surgical consult arrives. The surgeon marches into the room and I’m ready to fire my twenty or so questions at him. Then he announces that I won’t be receiving a cochlear implant. He said that number one, it’s been too long for the brain to recognize electrical stimulus from the auditory nerve and that it would take many years to retrain it. Secondly, Medicare isn’t likely to pay for it because I’m such a poor candidate.
Talk about having your bubble burst. It’s like being in prison for 26 years and going to your parole hearing only to be told you’re going back to jail and never getting out.
Now I’m back to looking at CROS hearing aid solutions. Why after 26 years? After 26 years, my wife has finally had enough of my not hearing what she says or hearing it wrong. The people that I work with get astonished looks on their faces and laugh frequently at my responses. I miss important parts of meetings. I keep asking for things to be repeated, or the TV turned up. I turn up the radio in my truck so loud I get looks from the cars around me. In short, it’s way past time to do something.
If you have followed me this far and you are SSD and wear a CROS hearing aid, I would like to hear how it’s changed your life.

I’ve entertained a CROS over the years, but never tried it. Earlier this year I sprung for a normal hearing aid, since I had ~50% comprehension it was worth a shot. I’ve tried one years ago and didn’t like it. But this time I stuck with it for weeks and now I like it. My compression has improved and I just feel better. For how long did you try the CROS previously?

Its a bit strange the surgical consultant said its been too long for the brain to recognize electrical stimulus. People with decades of hearing loss seem to make use of cochlear implants just fine. Hearing typically fades over time anyways, most people don’t have a sudden loss, not sure where he’s coming from, when does he suggest getting them when hearing loss is a long steady process??!! I’ve had my hearing loss for 10 years and just got a hearing aid and it helps, and yes it took a couple weeks for my brain to get used to it. Maybe you should get a second opinion??

My previous hearing aid trial ended at one week when the provider ended it. I thought it was odd that they would withdraw the trial instead of me, but they did. I was prepared to give it the full 30 days that Oklahoma allowed.

Before the CROS, I tried a straight up hearing aid in that ear for three years. All it did was make the noise louder. I have never understood a single word spoken into that ear for the last 26 years.

The CI surgeon said that he drew the line at ten years. He wouldn’t implant anyone who had been deaf in an ear for longer than that. I thought it was pretty short sighted of him considering that I’ve read studies of people who were deaf longer than me getting implants and learning to hear in a matter of months. Anyway, it is what it is. If he is that lazy, I don’t want him cutting on me.

I picked up a Phonak Audeo Paradise P-70 CROS hearing aid on Friday. This trial has already started better than the last. The audiologist was much more interested in working with me and made adjustments to the high frequencies, whereas the other audio said it couldn’t be helped. I’m impressed with them so far.

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