Since this was my first exposure to this technology, I'm going to do a little recap information in addition to my actual demo review.
A little bit of information about the theory behind Cros hearing aids.
There are 3 kinds of Cros Aids:
1. Wired CROS -- hard wire from transmitter microphone to hearing aid on other ear
2. Transcranial CROS -- This is only possible in people with one entirely dead ear
3. Wireless CROS - Use of wireless frequency to send sound from transmitter microphone to hearing aid
There are currently 2 manufacturers producing Cros aids and transmitters, that I could identify. For my source, click below:
I tested the Phonak model... so the rest of my demo review will be off of Phonak's CROS. For more info from Phonak click here:
Most of my hearing aids have been Phonak models. The first thing that was pointed out to me was that my current Perseo model was not compatible. So, in order for me to take advantage of this technology I would have to get a new aid AND the transmitter.
Anyone familiar with digital hearing aids will not be shocked that the sticker price for the aid is several thousand dollars, and the transmitter is about half of that.
The Phonak rep was upfront about the battery life. Currently, I can get 10-14 days out of my batteries depending on whether I am sleeping with them in or having them out for extended periods of time. Both the transmitter mic and the aid use batteries, and their average battery life for each is 3-4 days. An 8 pack of hearing aid batteries averages about $10 so $260 per year (average of 1 battery every 2 weeks x 52 weeks) will now be $1,040 (2 batteries per week x 52 weeks) which is a quadruple increase in battery cost.
Based on my demo fit experience... it is worth the cost, both in aid and in battery cost. I had the baseline with the hearing on and the transmitter off. When the transmitter is turned on, there's a signal beep to let you know. Sound localization isn't at all trustworthy on just 20 minutes exposure. However.. sound on my left side where I am 100% deaf, was picked up and sounded quality wise as if someone was standing a comfortable near distance to me on my right side.
My doctor and the rep went outside the building where there was a construction site nearby, road traffic, and wind. The rep walked on my left side the entire way out of the office and it felt completely comfortable after I stopped trying to turn myself so that he was on my right side. The sound filter is a little more advanced in this aid, and if the noise was behind me it was filted our significantly more than if I was facing the sound.
Using this setup will be a retraining both of my ears, as well as my habits and way of interacting with the world. Now to start saving...