Using a Bi-Cros for Single-Sided Deafness (SSD), and Domino Pro Info

Posted by Editor Ed @editored, Apr 4, 2019

I have single-sided deafness, with my right ear totally deaf, and a significant loss in high frequencies in my left ear. For over 50 years, I’ve used a bi-cros system, in which a unit on my deaf side transmits sound from that side to a unit on my hearing ear, and a unit on that side amplifies high tones for that ear. The bi-cros is intended to help me hear sounds on my right, which I wouldn't be able to hear otherwise. And it has done a pretty good job of that, generally.

Lately though, I've sometimes found that I can hear better if I only use the aid on my hearing, left ear. I find that there is less of the distracting background noise that can make it so hard for somebody with single-sided deafness to understand what people are saying, because it all goes into one ear. And I saw a note on another hearing forum from an audiologist who said that only using one aid can be better than using a bi-cros for SSD (which is, I’ve found, a minority opinion).

My main hearing challenges have always been hearing my passenger when I drive with my deaf ear toward them, hearing in noisy restaurants, and hearing in meetings, which are often in large rooms, sometimes with a noisy fan or air conditioning. For those situations, I actually take off both aids, and I use an external unit called a Domino Pro, which has a transmitter unit that I can have my wife wear when we're in the car or in a restaurant, or that I can put on the other side of a table to hear other people; and a receiver unit, which receives sound from the transmitter, and also has microphones of its own, which I can point at a speaker who is far away from me. It has been a real godsend, and I often find that I hear close to 100% of what’s said (except when more than one person talks at the same time).

I'm going to be getting a new aid pretty soon, and I'm thinking of only getting a unit for my hearing ear, and not a bi-cros. I would then use only that unit for situations when I don't need the Domino Pro.

Have any other bi-cros users found that sometimes it's better to only use the aid on the hearing ear? I'd appreciate any feedback or experiences that you have.

Liked by capausz

My first hearing aid was a bi-cross system, fitted in the early 80s. I was resistant to wearing a hearing aid of any kind then, but I did find it helped. I used the bi-cross and it's next generation for about 15 years. It was fit to the 'better' ear. I learned, through testing, that I should have been fit with 2 hearing aids. I'm sure my resistance was the reason why the hearing professional promoted the bi-cross. In time, tests showed that I had sensory deprivation in the unaided ear. At that time, I learned about direct audio input (DIA) microphones, and graduated to a single hearing aid that allowed me to use that hard wired mike when I needed directionality. (Think streamers today.) In 2005 I decided to consider a cochlear implant, and learned I was a candidate. The surgeons wanted to implant the ear where I had worn hearing aids for so long, but I balked because I didn't want to lose what little hearing I knew I had with a hearing aid. (I was hearing quite well when using hearing assistive technology; think FM systems.) At my insistence, the ear that had been deprived of sound was implanted. I've had incredible success with the CI. I'm so glad I did it when I did. At this point I should be a candidate for a second CI, but because the two technologies work so well together for me, I don't qualify according to Medicare. It's amazing though, because if one of the two technologies are not working, my hearing ability drops like a rock. My brain has rewired itself to be bimodal. I encourage anyone whose hearing is getting worse and worse to consider a cochlear implant.

Liked by bobbiefriend

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@julieo4

My first hearing aid was a bi-cross system, fitted in the early 80s. I was resistant to wearing a hearing aid of any kind then, but I did find it helped. I used the bi-cross and it's next generation for about 15 years. It was fit to the 'better' ear. I learned, through testing, that I should have been fit with 2 hearing aids. I'm sure my resistance was the reason why the hearing professional promoted the bi-cross. In time, tests showed that I had sensory deprivation in the unaided ear. At that time, I learned about direct audio input (DIA) microphones, and graduated to a single hearing aid that allowed me to use that hard wired mike when I needed directionality. (Think streamers today.) In 2005 I decided to consider a cochlear implant, and learned I was a candidate. The surgeons wanted to implant the ear where I had worn hearing aids for so long, but I balked because I didn't want to lose what little hearing I knew I had with a hearing aid. (I was hearing quite well when using hearing assistive technology; think FM systems.) At my insistence, the ear that had been deprived of sound was implanted. I've had incredible success with the CI. I'm so glad I did it when I did. At this point I should be a candidate for a second CI, but because the two technologies work so well together for me, I don't qualify according to Medicare. It's amazing though, because if one of the two technologies are not working, my hearing ability drops like a rock. My brain has rewired itself to be bimodal. I encourage anyone whose hearing is getting worse and worse to consider a cochlear implant.

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Hi @julieo4, since your worse ear had sound deprivation for so long (15+ years) , how long did it take for your brain to recognize sound and speech after the implant? My audiologist told me that the success of CI highly depends on how long that ear has been "not used".

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I know someone who flew through a windshield when he was only months old and had not heard from that ear all his life. He had a CI several years ago in his late 50s (i.e., he hadn't heard anything with that ear for almost 60 years). As soon as they turned the CI on, he was able to hear and understand some things. It was only a short time until he was hearing well with the damaged ear and CI.
I also know a lady who had suffered from age-related deafness for around 20 years, then had a stroke which left her functionally deaf. At age 76 she had a CI implanted. Her husband learned almost immediately that she could hear well enough to know how much he lost at poker and that he, OMG, cursed!
I believe it's like someone in their 40s having a hard time learning to use bifocals: there isn't a huge improvement involved, so the glasses are annoying rather than a small miracle. The more you have to gain, the more you're likely to benefit from any enhancement.
From the time I was 15, I was so near-sighted that I was close to legally blind. Over 10 years ago, I had cataract surgery and, initially, 20/20 vision for the first time in my life. Although my vision wound up being 20/40 and 20/60, that's far better than the correction I had been able to obtain from glasses from age 15-65, and every day I'm still thankful and amazed at the things that I can see. My sister has always had great vision, never wore glasses except for reading glasses starting in her 50s. She had cataract surgery and complains about one problem after another. It's all relative.

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