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Upgrading my hearing aids to Phonak CROS II

The day had arrived.  We were off on holiday and, en route, we were stopping off somewhere rather special: my audiologist’s office so I could be fitted with the new Phonak CROS II and Phonak Audéo V hearing aids.

I was very excited to see my tiny champagne-coloured hearing aids. I’d chosen ‘behind the ear’ hearing aids because the BTE CROS meant I would’t have anything going into my deaf ear. I also decided not to have the hair-matching chestnut brown colour again, but I’d opted for champagne! It just appealed to me: the metallic finish looks modern and is a far cry from the all-too familiar ‘NHS beige’ we see in the UK.

The fitting was quick and straightforward, as my audiologist already had my current audiogram and had programmed the devices in advance. Anyone who has ever upgraded devices will know that there is usually a period of adjustment – and that sometimes, it’s tempting to return to the old, familiar hearing aids in much the same way one might slip on comfy shoes in preference to breaking in a stiff new pair – and so, there was some trepidation on my part. I need not have worried, however, as the new sound was instantly comfortable and I liked the new gentle ‘tinkling sound,’ which had replaced the old ‘chime’ signal upon activation.

Audéo V RIC in champaign

The office was quiet, so I wandered off with my husband, Richard for a few minutes to see how my new hearing aids coped with some background noise. I also did a test in the ladies’ restroom to listen to the sound of flushing and hand-dryers. I noticed an immediate improvement over the old CROS.  With the new CROS II, the background noise was much more in the background. This bode very well for the rest of my time using CROS II.

As we were exploring the environment and testing the devices, I noticed that if my husband was on my right side, his voice was louder than if he was on my left. So, we returned to the office for a slight volume adjustment. Then, we said our goodbyes and set off with my new aids in place and my old ones stashed away in the glove box.

The journey to our English holiday cottage at Combermere Abbey was very pleasurable – not just because of the scenery or the company, both of which were delightful, but because of the ‘in car’ programme on the CROS II and Audéo V hearing aids.

Ordinarily, if Richard had his window down, the environmental noise would make it very difficult for me to hear what he was saying, or hear the car radio. However, with the new Phonak CROS II, there was such a distinguished improvement in my ability to hear both! With the car windows closed, the sound was even more comfortable and conversation was easy to follow.

The CROS II and Audéo V  has around 200,000 variations of settings, which seamlessly switches from programme to programme to give the best listening experience based on the situation you’re in and the environmental factors it picks up.

As a four-year CROS (Mark I) wearer, I mainly used the ‘speech in noise’ programme to minimise ‘noise,’ so letting the new device determine my audio settings was a big adjustment for me. Staying in a peaceful country cottage was a great place for me to make the adjustment from ‘speech in noise’ to auto settings, and gradually my brain started to get used to the new sounds.

As guests of Stone Lodge we had access to the grounds at Combermere Abbey and we enjoyed taking our hearing dog Westie, named Tilly, for a walk to the lake. I noticed immediately the sound of the leaves rusting in the wind. In the past, I would have shied away from this type of ‘noise’ in favour of being able to focus on my husband’s voice, and would have had my old devices switched to ‘speech in noise.’ But, with my new CROS II and the fully automated settings, I was experiencing all of nature’s sounds as well! It made me think, “Ahh, this is what ‘leaves rustling’ sounds like to other people.” It was a natural sounding ‘rustle’ and was very much in the background and not too intrusive for me to also be able to follow speech.

…with my new CROS II and the fully automated settings, I was experiencing all of nature’s sounds as well! It made me think, “Ahh, this is what ‘leaves rustling’ sounds like to other people.”

Throughout the trip I managed really well in various situations. I was able to order drinks at a lovely country pub, and I could clearly hear the waitress list the mouth-watering daily specials. However, I did have some challenges when we met someone who struck up a conversation with us. I couldn’t hear what she was saying because she was quietly spoken. Ordinarily, I would press the control on my (old) hearing aid to take me onto pre-set louder programme for this situation, but with the new aid being fully automated I didn’t have that option – nor did I have any volume control.

During that first week, I also noticed I was having to ask Richard to repeat himself when he was walking on my left side, but I could hear him well on my right. So, I booked a visit to with my audiologist on my return so she could make the small adjustment.

Do you have a story to share about getting new hearing aids? I’d love to read about it, in the comments!

Author Details
Phonak hEARo, Angie is a freelance journalist and content writer. Angie was diagnosed with Otosclerosis in her right ear at the age of 30. In 2011, she suffered sudden profound hearing loss in her left ear. She uses a Phonak CROS II with a Phonak Audéo V hearing aid. You can follow Angie on Twitter @hearinglosshour and join in #HearingLossHour on the first Tuesday of the month.