Dr. Brandy Heckroodt sees first-hand how Phonak’s solution for unilateral hearing loss can change lives. Here are some of those stories.
Unilateral hearing loss is more common than you think.
It is estimated to affect 1 in 1,000 births¹, 3 out of every school-aged children², and 7.2 percent of adults³. And the effects of UHL can be quite dramatic, including:
- Reduced awareness of sound originating on the poorer side;
- Reduced localization;
- Difficulties hearing in noise, which can result in social withdrawal, avoidance of difficult situations, and unique coping mechanism 4-10
In my conversations with individuals with UHL, they’ve shared personal stories regarding those coping mechanisms. For example, in my practice, I have heard some patients state that they position their significant other on their ‘bad side’ because they are the ones to turn to for repetition, clarification, or context when words are missed.
Completely withdrawing from social situations due to auditory fatigue is one of those coping mechanisms. One of my patients admitted that he excuses himself from social outings with good friends (and good beer!) after a day at work because he is simply “too exhausted”.
Hearing with one ear is challenging and it can be difficult to follow conversations, especially in noisy environments. But there is technology that can help. A lot.
Phonak CROS P is the latest Phonak solution for UHL. I’ve recently fit a few UHL patients with this system. Here are some of those inspirational stories.
What my patients told me they like about CROS P
- Increased awareness from both sides
When routing the signal from the poor side via the CROS P, patients now are able to overcome the head shadow effect, giving them awareness from both sides. Since the CROS transmitter is active during a Target fitting session, demonstration of this is easy.
When recently fitting a patient, I moved from the “good” side to the “bad” side while maintaining a steady volume. I had to counsel to prevent coping mechanisms such as turning the “good” ear towards me. We were easily able to overcome the head shadow effect in the office.
This patient has been a previous non-Phonak CROS system user for 5 years and remarked how natural the sound quality was. His adaptation to the system was immediate and he was observed to have decreased listening effort (sitting back in her chair, engagement and understanding during the appointment regardless of where I was) as soon as the system was activated.
- Increased speech intelligibility in noise
Another patient reported that what was once a daunting exercise – hearing in diffuse noise – has now become ‘less intimidating’ and ‘easier’ with CROS P. Again, this is thanks to BVST and the employment of StereoZoom in our CROS P systems when the CROS transmitter is paired to either an Audéo P 90 or Audéo P 70.
StereoZoom results in decreased listening effort as well as increased speech intelligibility in noise.¹¹ This real-world benefit was noticed and appreciated by not only the patient, but her husband also thanked me for helping her hear better and reducing the impact on his life (i.e., third party disability).
- Ability to stream and make hands-free calls
Yet, another patient mentioned how much she appreciated the ability to stream sound with her CROS system. She reported she loves being able to listen to music while on her daily runs, as well as enjoys hands-free phone calls during her busy day.
She shares her streaming enthusiasm with another young patient that I have seen; this one in his teens. The ability to stream music, YouTube, video games, etc. has increased his satisfaction with his CROS P system, and his mom reports he is compliant with wearing his CROS system every day.
Seeing these remarkable changes in patients who adopt a CROS P system has been delightful. My goal as an audiologist is to foster relationships through better communication, and I feel confident that I have achieved this goal.
I believe that the CROS system improved the quality of their lives – allowing them to communicate with ease, further enjoy their hobbies and giving them an all-around better sense of well-being.
How to offer Phonak CROS P to your patients
When your patients hear well, they are equipped to embrace the life they want and deserve. Hearing well fosters easier engagement, stronger connections and a more positive outlook. Hearing well also supports cognitive fitness12 and enables people to live a more active and healthier lifestyle.
Letting your community know your practice offers a hearing solution for patients with UHL can help you differentiate your practice.
Using our marketing communication kits for content and images, here are some ways to market CROS P to your community:
- Provide education and product images for those searching for a solution by updating your website. Add product images, the infographic along with the features and benefits of the CROS P solution for unilateral hearing loss. Featuring this product on your website will increase connections with consumers searching online.
- Post on your social pages to create awareness and drive consumers to your website to learn more about the CROS P solution for UHL. Why social? 43% of the senior population are searching for healthcare information on Facebook.
- Add to your next patient newsletter.
- Don’t forget to feature CROS P in-office. Include patient brochures in your patient education center and display a sign in a prominent location in your office.
- Communicate the availability of this unilateral hearing solution with your physician network.
- Send a communication to local senior care centers.
- Consider hosting a virtual education seminar to educate your local community on hearing loss and the solutions available today.
For more information on Phonak CROS P, click here.
- Prieve, B., Dalzell, L., Berg, A., Bradley, M., Cacace, A., Campbell, D., DeCristofaro, J., Gravel, J., Greenberg, E., Gross, S., Orlando, M., Pinheiro, J., Regan, J., Spivak, L., and Stevens, F. (2000).
The New York State universal newborn hearing screening demonstration project: Outpatient outcome measures. Ear and Hearing, 21 (2).
- Bess, F.H., Dodd-Murphy, J. & Parker, R.A. (1998). Children with minimal sensorineural hearing loss: Prevalence, educational performance, and functional status. Ear and Hearing, 9, 339–354.
- Golub, J., Lin, F., Lustig, L., & Lalwani, A. (2018). Prevalence of adult unilateral hearing loss and hearing aid use in the United States. The Laryngoscope. 128 (7), 1681-1686Snapp H. A., Hoffer M. E., Liu X., Rajguru S. M. (2017a). Effectiveness in Rehabilitation of Current Wireless CROS Technology in Experienced Bone‐Anchored Implant Users. Otol Neurotol. 38 (10): 1397‐1404.
- Leterme G., Bernardeschi D., Bensemman A., Coudert C., Portal J.J., Ferrary E., Sterkers O., Vicaut E., Frachet B., Bozorg Grayeli A. (2015). Contralateral routing of signal hearing aid versus transcutaneous bone conduction in single-sided deafness. Audiology and Neurotology. 20 (4):251-60.
- Picou E. M., Davis H., Lewis D., Tharpe A.M. (2020). Contralateral Routing of Signal Systems Can Improve Speech Recognition and Comprehension in Dynamic Classrooms. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research. 63 (7) : 2468‐2482.
- Lieu J.E., Karzon R.K., Ead B., Tye-Murray N. (2013.) Do audiologic characteristics predict outcomes in children with unilateral hearing loss? Otol Neurotol 34:1703–1710.
- McKay, S. (2010). Audiological Management of children with single-sided deafness. Seminars in Hearing Vol. 31 (4).
- Lucas, L., Roulla, K. & Kitterick, P.D. (2017). The psychological and social consequences of single-sided deafness in adulthood. International Journal of Audiology. 1-9.
- Wie O.B., Pripp A.H., Tvete O. (2010). Unilateral deafness in adults: effects on communication and social interaction. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 119: 772–781.
- Pierzycki, R., Edmondson-Jones, M., Dawes, P., Munro, K. J., Moore, D. R., & Kitterick, P. T. (2020) Associations Between Hearing Health and Well-Being in Unilateral Hearing Impairment. Ear and Hearing.
- Stewart, E., Rakita, L., & Drexler, J. (2019) StereoZoom Part 1: The benefit of wirelessly connected narrow directionality in Phonak hearing aids for speech intelligibility. Phonak Compendium, retrieved from www.phonakpro.com/evidence, accessed December 15, 2021.
- Karawani, H., Jenkins, K., & Anderson, S. (2018). Restoration of sensory input may improve cognitive and neural function. Neuropsychologia, 114, 203–213.