Simon’s CROS system


I’m deaf. Now what?

By Simon Schofield, Journalist

“...Rob was very patient – and explained that my dream scenario, a hearing aid that would be invisible, have eternal battery life and would restore my hearing to 20/20, was probably not going to happen. He took me through the options and guided me towards a Behind-The-Ear (BTE) CROS system. The system would place a tiny box of tricks, nestling just behind the ear, on my bad side. In it – a microphone which would gather sound and send it, via Bluetooth, to a second box of tricks on my good side. All the sound would be channeled into my good ear – with some impressive electronics mixing it and processing it to make it sound as natural as possible and to fool the brain that the bad ear was working. There was an inevitable period of adjustment. No matter how good the electronics, the new sound is different. I now know that it’s called “processed” sound. It sounded artificial and a bit weird. But gradually, I became accustomed to it.

...My latest Phonak system is much better than anything I’ve had before – the sound is very natural and the ability of the software to learn from the various sound environments I encounter is incredibly clever. Of course, it’s not been cheap. Rob does price keenly and he has given me good deals. But I have spent thousands of pounds trying to defeat my disability. Three years on, my life has changed. Some of it was going to happen anyway, and some of it was a consequence of being deaf. I am reluctant to do some things that I used to do. But my main interests remain the same, I still greatly enjoy life, I still ride my bike up mountains, and nowadays I just try to see deafness as part of life’s rich tapestry. It could be a lot worse . . . . . and every few weeks I get to have a good moan at Rob.

In conclusion – if you find yourself in my position, I’d give the following advice: Don’t think that a hearing aid will restore your hearing to perfection. It might, but it’s unlikely. You have to learn to deal with being a bit deaf and you will work out strategies that help. As in many areas of life, you get what you pay for. The more expensive hearing aids do produce better results. Tell people that you’re a bit deaf. It removes embarrassment and everybody I’ve ever told has reacted positively.

And be nice to Rob – it’s not his fault you’re deaf!”


Simon Schofield, 2016

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