Single-Sided Deafness and What You Can Do About It

September 25, 2022

People with Single-Sided Deafness (SSD) inhabit two worlds: the world of normal hearing when sounds originate on the healthy side, and the world of near deafness when sounds come from the impaired side. Although people with SSD may do quite well without help in most quiet indoor situations, they may struggle when the sound of interest is coming from the deaf side, especially in noisy situations.

Most people with SSD need situational help. The classical example is in a car when the impaired or deaf ear is one on the “inside side”. In such cases people with SSD experience serious difficulties communicating with other passengers. For drivers it may even be dangerous as they may turn their head away from the road to pick up passenger voices.

Overall hearing of individuals with SSD can be improved with CROS (Contralateral Routing of Sound) technology. This involves wearing a transmitter on the non-functioning ear that picks up sound from that side and relays it to a receiver worn on the normal/better hearing ear. If amplification is also needed on the better hearing ear (if it has a hearing loss), then the technology is known as BiCROS. Just as with CROS treatment, sound continues to be received and processed only by the better hearing ear.

The CROS/BiCROS function in BeHear ACCESS is fully controlled by the user through the application. This gives the user more flexibility and freedom to use this function or not, depending on the motivation and/or depending on the listening situation. This is the main advantage of the CROS function in BeHear. The user decides when and how to use it, if at all. When it’s not necessary, the BeHear ACCESS earbuds can be removed and fastened securely with their built-in magnets against the user’s chest. When CROS/BiCROS is activated, the user can also combine it with various features available in the app, such as noise reduction and directional microphones, to achieve the most comfortable/intelligible hearing possible.

When the CROS/BiCROS feature is activated, the function takes effect for all ACCESS hearing modes: Personal Hearing, Mobile Calls, and Audio Streaming. Sound from the non-functioning side is transferred to the speaker in the earphone of the hearing ear. Streamed stereo audio is mixed automatically down to mono and reproduced in the functioning ear, thus allowing people with unilateral hearing to enjoy the full sound spectrum without missing out on sounds that would have fallen on the damaged ear.