Lumity CROS: New study reveals that hearing ‘from both sides’ has well-being benefits

BiCROS wearers shared their own perceptions on the benefits of using hearing aids in both ears. Their insights suggest that well-being is an important topic to address with your clients who have unaidable unilateral hearing loss.

As an Audiologist I must confess that I love a technological solution.

However, we all know that helping people hear better with technology is only one piece of the hearing care puzzle. This is why at Phonak we promote, Well-hearing is Well-being™, recognizing that being able to hear well has the potential to support one’s cognitive, socio-emotional and physical well-being.

When it comes to hearing loss in one ear, is well-being still a big deal?

Around three percent of the population have unaidable unilateral hearing loss (UUHL). This might or might not be accompanied by a hearing loss on the better ear.

Many years ago, the assumption was that if you have one ‘good ear’ you could get by in most situations, with the expectation that you could always ask people to sit on your good side.

Recent research has shown it is not straightforward and that having to cope with an unaidable hearing loss on one side at any age can have an impact on well-being.

How well-being is impacted by UUHL

It is important to make the connection between the technical solution and the audiological benefits it can bring, but also to the socio-emotional, cognitive and physical benefits being able to hear sounds from both sides of the head can provide.

People living with UUHL can experience:

  • Increased listening fatigue1
    • Children with unilateral hearing loss (UHL) who have the largest asymmetry between their ears report the most overall fatigue.
    • Adults with single-sided deafness (SSD) were 5 times more likely to report severe fatigue than adults with no hearing loss
  • Increased listening effort1

In fact, listening effort and listening fatigue are now known to affect people with UUHL as much and sometimes more than those with a mild-moderate hearing loss in both ears.2 The increased fatigue and effort can lead to other consequences such as poor selective attention, reduced work productivity and less socializing.3

How CROS systems can help

A recent study done with Phonak CROS Lumity hearing aids looked at listening effort and subjective quality in hearing with BiCROS hearing aid fittings.4 Results showed that listening effort decreased and subjective quality improved.

Subjects were also asked to provide their own perception of the BiCROS fitting in a session where they were prompted to complete the sentence “One benefit to using my hearing aids in both ears (CROS) rather than just one hearing aid on my better ear is……”

Some of my favorite responses were, “Social situations are less daunting” … “I feel less of a burden” … “I feel safer overall.”

I would like to end with one participant’s response that to me sums up what we are trying to achieve with our Phonak Lumity CROS system.

When asked, they simply said, “The world is brighter,” and who doesn’t want a little bit more brightness in their life?

 To learn more about Lumity CROS, we invite you to our product pages.

To learn about one person’s personal experience living with UUHL, I invite you to watch this vlog.


1. Snapp H.A., Ausili S.A. Hearing with One Ear: Consequences and Treatments for Profound Unilateral Hearing Loss. J Clin Med. 2020 Apr 3;9(4):1010. doi: 10.3390/jcm9041010. PMID: 32260087; PMCID: PMC7230949.

2. Alhanbali S., Dawes P., Lloyd S., et al. Self-reported listening-related effort and fatigue in hearing-impaired adults. Ear Hear, 2017). 38, e39–e48.

3, 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. J Speech Lang Hear Res, 63(7), 2468-2482.

4. Folkeard P., Saleh H., Kuehnel V., Voss S., Qian J., Scollie S. (April 2023). The BiCROS experience: A patient oriented approach to investigate subjective outcomes using questionnaires, and a patient perspective of BiCROS preference. Poster displayed at AAA publication pending.