Best Practices Checklist

Alternative Treatment for Single Sided Deafness (SSD) | AmpCROS vs CROS, BiCROS, & BAHA Hearing Aids

By: Dr Cliff Olson
January 11, 2019
Video Transcript

There are several different treatment options when it comes to Single Sided Deafness (SSD).  You have bone anchored hearing aids like the BAHA Attract & Connect, or even the ADHEAR system.  Each of these systems work in a similar way.  They take sound from your deaf side and send it to your better ear.  This helps you overcome the Head Shadow Effect which is a phenomenon that occurs when sound loses volume when it passes from one side of your head to the other.  

This often results in a 6-7 dB reduction in volume which can significantly reduce your speech understanding.In the case that you also have a hearing loss in the opposite ear, these devices can be programmed to amplify that sound as well.However, each of these treatment options ignore your bad ear, but what if you still have some residual hearing in your bad ear that you want to use?  

In some cases of Single Sided Deafness you can be left with some measurable hearing thresholds, or some small percentage of word recognition, or even some tinnitus.  In these cases, it may also be beneficial to stimulate your bad ear while sending this sound to your better ear at the same time.This type of treatment is called AmpCROS.  Ampcros is when you stimulate the deaf ear with sound while also transmitting this sound to the better ear.  This overcomes the Head Shadow Effect, optimizes your speech understanding,  and still provides aided benefit or tinnitus masking to your deaf ear.  AmpCROS makes sense for 3 reasons:1. Binaural Summation - This is the increase in volume you receive by stimulating both of your ears at the same time.  This can improve how well your better ear performs on its own.2. Possible Tinnitus Reduction - Amplifying an ear with tinnitus may reduce your perception of that annoying ringing or buzzing.  

Even when your hearing is REALLY bad in that ear.3. Possible Reduction of Cognitive Decline Risk - Hearing loss increases your risk of cognitive decline.  Providing stimulation to your brain from the bad ear may reduce your risk of cognitive decline down the road.It is important to note that AmpCROS is not an actual product.  It is a way to program a set of hearing aids with a binaural phone feature.  Binaural phone features were designed to transmit phone calls from one hearing aid to another hearing aid so the user could experience the benefits of binaural hearing  while using the phone. However, this feature can also be used to transmit speech from one aid to another without using the telephone.  

This means that you can use this feature to amplify sound on your deaf ear and also send it to your better ear so you can overcome the Head Shadow Effect for your better ear.  Even though AmpCROS can be a terrific treatment option, it does have a shortcoming.  When you setup hearing aids for AmpCROS, you must keep them in a Phone program which means that you lose some automatic features of the hearing aids.  

This can reduce  your overall performance with those devices.  I would venture to say that there are many BAHA, CROS, and BiCROS wearers out there that would obtain significant benefit from using AmpCROS instead.  So if you have some residual hearing in your deaf ear and want to receive some benefit by stimulating that ear, AmpCROS may be right for you.Quick shout out to Dr. Scot Frink who provided some of the content for this video.  If you are someone with SSD up in the Salem Oregon area, Dr. Frink is widely considered one of the foremost experts of CROS, BiCROS, and AMPCROS in the field.

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