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Frequently Asked Questions



What exactly is TransEar
?
How does TransEar work?
Will TransEar work for me?
How well will I hear on my deaf side?
Will I feel the vibrations in my ear?
Will TransEar be comfortable?
What does TransEar look like?
Why does TransEar have both a BTE part and an In-the-ear shell? Why can't it all be in the ear?
Is TransEar appropriate for children?
But my child's ears will grow. What then?
How about microtia and atresia?
My audiologist has mentioned CROS hearing aids. Should I consider TransEar instead?
How does TransEar compare to CROS or BICROS hearing aids?
Is this device based on the power ITE transcranial CROS idea?
I wear an open-canal hearing aid on my "good" ear because of my high-frequency hearing loss. Does this mean I'm not a candidate for TransEar on the deaf side?
Will TransEar be visible in my ear?
What does it cost?
How do I get a TransEar?
I don't live in the United States. Can I get a TransEar?


What exactly is TransEar?


TransEar is a bone conduction hearing instrument designed specifically for unilateral hearing loss, often called single-sided-deafness (SSD). It consists of three parts:
  • a small, but sophisticated behind-the-ear digital hearing aid, which is joined by...
  • a thin flexible connector wire to...
  • a "transfer unit" - a small custom acrylic half-shell which contains a miniature oscillator.
  • These components are fit on and in the ear that has no hearing. Using bone conduction, the oscillator conducts vibrations across the skull to the good cochlea on the other side.

    October 2008 marked the introduction of TransEar 380-HF, a major breakthrough in bone conduction technology. (The "HF" stands for High Frequency.) This revolutionary product uses a newly developed high frequency bone vibrator, which has its peak energy at 2300 Hz. (For comparison purposes, all other bone conduction devices peak around 700 Hz or less.) What does this mean to the user? It means that the key consonant sounds so important to understanding speech are emphasized - a true first in bone conduction products. In field trials, users of the previous TransEar had on average almost double the word recognition when they switched to TransEar 380-HF, and they understood speech at a volume 11 dB lower than before. Both represent huge advancements in audiological science.

    TransEar 380-HF will also provide a high level of reliability, because the new vibration transducer is very shock-resistant.
    Click here for field test results and testimonials.
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    How does TransEar work?


    Sounds from the non-hearing side are picked up by the microphone of TransEar's processor. Unlike a traditional hearing aid (which amplifies sound and passes it to a small speaker), TransEar's processor converts sound into electrical energy, which drives a small electro-mechanical oscillator which is placed near the canal tip of a small acrylic shell (referred to as a half-shell in the hearing healthcare industry). The transfer unit is custom made by laser to exactly fit the user's ear.

    The oscillations are transferred by the bony portion of the ear canal, through the bones of the skull to the good ear, where the cochlea processes the energy which the brain interprets as sound.
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    Will TransEar work for me?


    If you have a normal, non-draining ear canal on the deaf side and good hearing on the other side, TransEar should work well for you. The "good ear" should show no greater than 30 dB of sensorineural loss through 2000 Hz. (See Indications for Use for full details.)

    Your hearing healthcare professional will evaluate your hearing in both ears and will compare that against TransEar's fitting range. Each patient's physiology and medical conditions may also be factors in the fitting.

    Important note: Because there may be an underlying condition requiring medical treatment, it's important to report the onset of SSD to a medical professional such as an ENT doctor or otologist for a thorough examination. Your doctor may in turn work with a hearing healthcare professional to determine if TransEar is appropriate for your type of hearing loss and medical considerations.
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    How well will I hear on my deaf side?


    Every user's experience is different, but many report that they are able to locate the direction sounds are coming from, and almost all can put a telephone to the dead ear and hear the dial tone. In quiet conditions, most can carry on a phone conversation using the aided ear, and whispers can usually be heard from the TransEar side. Some users experience these benefits immediately, while others go through a period of gradual improvement as the brain learns what it is like to receive input from both sides once again.

    Over time, you will likely notice many situations where your hearing loss would have created problems for you before you received your TransEar, and those around you will notice even more!
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    Will I feel the vibrations in my ear?


    With a properly fitting transfer unit, no. The 380-HF oscillator is so efficient that the vibrations usually can't be felt, even when held in your hand. But those "invisible" oscillations speed through the bones of your skull faster than sound can travel through the air, sending the information you've been missing to the good ear for processing.
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    Will TransEar be comfortable?


    Yes, but some adjustment might be needed. Although custom fit to your ear, a typical ear canal can change shape due to movement of the jaw when chewing, yawning, or talking, and this movement can cause discomfort in some people. If you are one of them, your provider will modify the shell to remove the pressure point, and in some cases this might take more than one visit. Such modifications can be done quickly, while you wait. Once modified, most users forget TransEar is even there.

    TransEar offers several sophisticated features, including advanced feedback cancellation and adaptive noise reduction for use in places such as restaurants. Our new miniature oscillator - a TransEar exclusive - can be placed deep in the shell in order to make contact with the boney portion of the ear canal where TransEar does its work. Because it is a high-level digital product, your provider has great control of TransEar through its programming interface, ensuring an effective and comfortable fit for you.
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    What does TransEar look like?


    See photos below.
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    Why does TransEar have both a BTE part and an In-the-ear shell? Why can't it all be in the ear?


    With a typical hearing aid, the electronics and battery are encased in the shell that fits in the ear, or else they're in the Behind-the-Ear component, but not both. With TransEar, however, the space in the shell is taken up by a vibration transducer.

    TransEar creates high levels of mechanical energy when it changes - or "transduces" - first, acoustic signals (sound) into electrical signals, and then electrical signals into vibrations. The components that are needed to do all of this work would be difficult to fit into a smaller ITE shell, so they are assembled in the processor that sits behind the ear. It is also important to isolate the mechanical vibrations from the microphone (on the BTE processor) in order to avoid feedback. The only way to do that is with a two-piece assembly joined by a soft, vibration-absorbing connecting wire.
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    Is TransEar appropriate for children?


    It depends on the size of the ear canal and the maturity of the child being fitted. TransEar's transfer unit must reach past the second bend in the ear canal, so the child must be able to tolerate a deep-canal impression and accept the presence of a hard plastic shell in the ear. Some large children have small ear canals, and the opposite is also true, so there is no "one-size-fits-all" answer. Once we receive the required impressions, we can easily determine who is not a candidate. TransEar is not indicated for infants, but there have been many very successful fittings of school-age children.
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    But my childís ears will grow. What then?


    As a child grows, the transfer unit and connecting wire will eventually become too small, and replacements will be required. Ear Technology's philosophy is to provide re-sized transfer units to children at only modest cost.
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    How about microtia and atresia?


    Because a normal ear canal and pinna are required, TransEar is usually not indicated for these conditions.
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    My audiologist has mentioned CROS hearing aids. Should I consider TransEar instead?


    If your hearing healthcare provider has mentioned CROS aids, you are probably a good candidate for TransEar. However, if BI-CROS aids are recommended (in order to amplify the better ear), you may be out of the fitting range for TransEar. Ask your provider about TransEar, and he or she will be able to determine if TransEar is a viable option for you. (We'll be happy to send your provider complete fitting information in order to help him/her make that determination.)
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    How does TransEar compare to CROS or BICROS hearing aids?


    A CROS is used when when an individual has a severe or profound loss in one ear, and the other side has such good hearing that it doesn't require amplification. An ear mold containing a microphone is positioned in the dead ear in order to receive sound on that side. Sound is transferred either via a wire, or wirelessly, to a hearing instrument in the better ear. So even though it doesn't need amplification, the good ear is still occluded.

    BiCROS is used when an individual has a severe or profound loss in one ear, but even the *better* ear requires amplification. (So a BiCROS affects both ears.) An ear mold containing a microphone is positioned in the dead ear in order to receive sound on that side. Sound is transferred either via a wire, or wirelessly, to a hearing instrument in the better ear in order to take advantage of that cochlea. The hearing instrument in the better ear now has two functions: it receives the sound from the deaf side, and it also amplifies the sound.

    So in both cases, the CROS and BICROS, an ear mold or shell is positioned in both ears. Statistically, CROS hearing aids have a high user rejection rate because a device on each ear is required, one of which can impede normal sounds entering the good ear. Wireless CROS systems are also prone to electrical interference. TransEar is worn only on the dead ear, and sound reaches the cochlea of the good ear via the bones of the skull by making contact via the boney portion of the ear canal.
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    Is this device based on the power ITE transcranial CROS idea?


    No. A power ITE (or BTE) is inherently inefficient for bone conduction, because much of the energy from the high sound pressure levels is lost during the conversion of acoustic energy to force energy. There are a number of potential side effects from using air conduction aids for bone conduction, among which are feedback and vestibular issues in some patients. By utilizing direct bone conduction, TransEar is a more efficient instrument.

    The primary difference from other such direct bone conduction devices, including headbands and the surgical BAHA procedure, is that TransEar uses the osseous portion of the ear canal to directly conduct oscillations from its vibration transducer through the skull to the good ear. The distance is therefore shorter, and the efficiency of the force transfer is limited only by the very thin (0.2 mm) layer of skin in the portion of the canal just past the second bend. This 3/8" is TransEar's "sweet spot," and that is why we require impressions that extend as far past the second bend as possible.
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    I wear an open-canal hearing aid on my "good" ear because of my high-frequency hearing loss. Does this mean Iím not a candidate for TransEar on the deaf side?


    A loss of high-frequency hearing in the "good" ear is usually not a problem.
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    Will TransEar be visible in my ear?


    Barely. The original version of TransEar used a larger oscillator in a full shell, but later versions of TransEar (the 270 and the 380-HF) are much smaller and is almost invisible from most angles. The faceplate - the visible portion in the ear - has a flat, non-reflective finish and does not have the controls and knobs that can make a traditional hearing aid noticeable. It is available in three colors: tan, pink/chameleon (ideal for pink or ruddy complexions), and medium brown. The new small, clear, soft connector wire is barely visible.
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    What does it cost?


    Ask your hearing healthcare provider. TransEar is usually priced at the same level as a sophisticated, full-featured digital hearing instrument. Ear Technology does not set the "retail" price, because providers may include a variety of services in the patient's cost.
    If you choose TransEar, you will have a trial period to help determine if it provides the benefits you desire. (Terms and conditions of trial periods vary from state to state according to state laws. You may still be responsible for certain costs associated with the evaluation. This is a question best answered by your provider.)
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    How do I get a TransEar?

    TransEar is available through hearing healthcare professionals. If your provider is not familiar with TransEar, we'll be happy to send him/her a complete fitting packet. (TransEar has not been available for long, so it is not surprising that many providers are just now hearing about it.)

    If you do not have a hearing healthcare provider and need a referral, contact Ear Technology by email at info@transear.com or by phone at 1-888-ETC-XEAR (1-888-382-9327), and we may be able to assist you in finding a provider in your area.
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    I don't live in the United States. Can I get a TransEar?

    TransEar is presently available only in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Colombia, and Costa Rica.

    UK & Ireland: Puretone, Ltd. (http://www.puretone.net) is the TransEar distributor for the UK and Ireland. Enquiries may be sent to info@puretone.net or phone 1634 719427.

    Colombia: Audios Equipos (http://www.audioequipos.com) is the TransEar distributor for Colombia. Inquiries may be sent to gerencia@audioequipos.com or phone 571-621-0478.

    Costa Rica: Clinicas de la Audicion (http://www.clinicasdeaudicion.com/espanol/index.htm) is the TransEar distributor for Costa Rica. Inquiries may be sent to info@clinicasdeaudicion.com or phone (506)2290-5239.

    We receive inquiries from around the world, but we do not have programs in place for other regions at this time. Please check back on our website every few months for updates. Alternatively, you may direct an email to info@transear.com, and we can notify you of distribution in your region once established. Please put the name of your country in the subject line.
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    1-888-382-9327 or
    send us an email.
    Fax 423-928-0515 Outside North America phone +423-928-9060
    P.O. Box 1516 Johnson City, TN 37605


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