The one with the Widex Bi-CROS System, the latest Compass Software and the perplexed Patient
Interesting problem today, I was demonstrating a Widex Bi-CROS system to a prospective customer and it failed spectacularly, leaving me a little red-faced. Let me explain, first, some background.
Set Them Up & Disconnect
So, whenever I am demonstrating hearing aids, or in this case a Bi-CROS system, I tend to set them up, reduce the amplification, deal with the own voice problem and save the fitting. I then disconnect from them and take the ridiculous wireless programmer off the Patient.
It makes sense to me to allow them freedom without the damned tether, especially with the Widex neck loop affair. It just leads to a more relaxed conversation around the benefit of the hearing aids and it helps to normalise an already abnormal situation.
Widex Bi-CROS Demo
Today I had a chap in who was an ideal candidate for a Bi-CROS setup, one ear is nearly off the scale via air and the other is basically a flatish 60 to 70 sensorineural hearing loss. He has used Widex hearing aids in the past, in fact, somebody fitted him with a BV 38 several years ago on his better ear. Although why they picked that I have no idea?
I use Widex for my CROS / Bi-CROS needs because I have had outstanding results with them. I also like the fact that the Fashion CROS has a volume control. So, I took out a Fusion with a Power receiver for the better ear and a Fusion CROS transmitter for the worse ear. Set it up, eased back a little on the amplification on the hearing aid and demoed the transmitter in the software.
So far, so good
The Patient was blown away, as they always are when I demo the Widex CROS / Bi-CROS set-up. So I programmed up, disconnected the aids, restarted them and pressed the button on the transmitter to begin transmission. Sat down, expecting to have a relaxed conversation about the benefits and the Patient just looked at me askance.
Total silence was not what I was expecting
Okay, so I restarted the transmitter and as I did it, the Patient said “Oh, I can hear again”. I pressed the button on the transmitter to begin transmitting and then he said “It’s gone quiet again!”. Cue, perplexed Fat Lad! I quickly worked out that when you pressed the transmitter button, it was turning the microphones off on the hearing aid?????
So basically, I turned the transmitter off, connected to the aid with the damn stupid neck loop tether, (I always joke it is so they don’t run away) and then demoed the system via the demo portion of the software. Cue happy Patient, stunned by the ability to hear clearly from their bad side. Much more familiar territory.
Reporting the problem
So later in the day I rang into tech support and reported this issue, basically and to be honest with you I thought I had a bad Transmitter or a faulty aid, however, I really couldn’t work out why the software demo would work, but not the system.
Yes we know about that
So, they know about the problem, apparently, it is a glitch in the very latest version of Compass. It programmes the hearing aid to turn off its microphones when there is streaming from a transmitter, even if it is set up as a Bi-CROS. I was told that they are working on an update to sort it out, but for now, uninstall the latest Compass and install an older version. I started to get a little hinky then, as is my want when I am met with abject stupidity, and I asked why they hadn’t kind of like told us about it? Anyway, best not to dwell, take this as a warning.
If you have existing Patients with Widex Bi-CROS systems, or if you, like me, like to demonstrate untethered, don’t do it, nope, nope, nope, especially, don’t connect and fine tune an existing Widex Bi-CROS System on a Patient on the latest Compass update, it may lead to some interesting conversations about why their system isn’t working after they left you.
Thank you for that Geoffrey!! A bit scary that no warning was given. With the challenges of competition out there, that’s the last thing you need to demo and fall flat on your red face!!
Since you’re on the topic of demo’ing a CROS system, I thought I’d throw a tip in here related to demo’ing.
For whatever reason, we have a high population of patients with Single-Sided Deafness (SDD) in our area, and fit approximately 3-5 patients per month (our clinic has six practitioners, to give you an idea of proportion). One of the best ways to demo a CROS system is the telephone: Ask the patient how it has been since they’ve used the telephone on their bad ear, then have them hold the telephone to the transmitter side. They should be able to hear the telephone receiver humming, which should give them an initial “Wow!” impression. Then call your receptionist and have the patient listen to him or her talk to you–on their bad side.
There’s nothing more convincing to having them use their bad ear to hear on the telephone to illustrate just exactly how the CROS system works.
HI, we are aware of the potential conflict with the recent Compass GPS 2.5 software release and BiCROS fittings. We are working on a long-term fix but wanted to provide guidance for an interim solution. The current solution for this is to uninstall Compass GPS 2.5 and re-install Compass GPS 2.4 SP1.1, which can be downloaded online at http://www.widexpro.com. Please note that it is only necessary to uninstall Compass GPS 2.5 if you will be programming a BiCROS.
Surely you have known about the problem for over a month, yet, Widex in its infinite wisdom did not see fit to contact its customers to tell them. It is very discouraging to suddenly have a very happy Patient heretofore become a very annoyed Patient who is beginning to doubt your ability. If in fact Widex has known there was a problem, why did they neither advice their customers, or pull the update and overwrite 2.5 with a newly pushed out 2.4.1?
Was it perchance a commercial decision? Too important to get Custom fitting ability out to the market to worry about a small niche? If so, you could have least passed on the information to your customers who have purchased CROS transmitters, or perhaps you see value in making them look stupid?