Friday 6 May 2011

April's gone: in a blur, but with the odd CROS word.

All a bit mental over the last few weeks so no opportunity to update this:

However, despite adverse trading conditions, there was some success in fitting the Phonak CROS system which has the superb advantage of just being an add-on to the existing wireles BTE (usually the Micro M model). Yes: it eats batteries, Yes: the puny ear-hook supplied with it is next to useless, and Yes: it's a faff to program as the programming steps cannot be completed with the mic 'live', but, what a step forward for users.

The improvement over what previous CROS wearers had been expected to up with is immense, and the fitting capability for those with significant asymmetry is huge.

An Example: Mr PH, retired from a successful business, still active and enjoys touring around the country in his motor-home. Mr PH  has struggled for years with various high power aids on the poorer right ear (70-80-90-90-100-off), usually the results have lacked clarity, given masses of feedback and caused problems with the skin fauna of the right EAM. More specifically, the good low frequency results from his Left ear (10-10-20-25-40-55) probably have resulted in a great deal of transcranial performance with an element of masking as the receiver distorted to produce the higher output levels.  

Mr PH was advised to try the Solana Micro M as he needed a reasonable level of processing in the better ear. The fitting was completed through Target, despite being a bit lumpy in application seems to suit the user well. From past experience of Target it was noted that the appropriate acoustic coupling was selected prior to running the Feedback/Gain Modeller part of the program. Once this was completed the gain was re-established using the canal impedance measures obtained by the system.

The remote mic was duly fitted with the only limiting factor being the issue that the programming steps to balance the mic are not completed while the mic is 'live' : it's a more 'try this/try that' approach, which has the slightly dubious benefit of regularly muting the remote side in a 'now you see it, now you don't' effect on the customer: who may already be going through a bit of a head-spin by hearing sounds from all around for the first time in a while.

Physically the only complaint about the system is that the Mini shell used for the remote mic will not take a standard thin tube as a safer locating device, with the canal lock attached. It will take a receiver, but unless you're in a habit of throwing them away as a redundant bit of kit, it may be preferable to use one of Resound's older thin tubes, with an externally threaded coupling, which seems to sit in the hole quite happily.

More adjustments to follow, but the customer still says it's the clearest he's heard since wearing an aid on day one. More importantly, he paid without hesitation, which says a lot for the performance of the system. Now, where are are those extra batteries he's going to need ?

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