Bone Anchored Hearing Aid

A bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA) is a surgically implanted device that transmits sound vibrations by direct bone conduction to the inner ear. The titanium prosthesis is embedded into the skull with a small support on the skin and functions as a bypass to the external auditory canal and middle ear.

A bone anchored hearing aid is an alternative to a regular hearing aid for people with conductive or unilateral hearing losses or single-sided deafness. Some people with mixed hearing losses cannot wear hearing aids in or behind the ear.

How a bone anchored hearing device works is through the use of two parts: a titanium bone implant and an external sound processor, which gathers sounds and converts them into vibrations to the embedded implant that can then vibrate the surrounding bone setting up sound waves in the inner ear resulting in the firing of the auditory nerve.

Who can benefit?

A bone anchored hearing aid is best suited for people who have at least one inner ear that works normally.

Single-sided deafness

Single-sided deafness (SSD) refers to a person who has lost all hearing in one ear and has normal or profound hearing loss in the other ear.

With this condition, it can be difficult to detect which direction sound is coming from and to understand speech in a noisy environment. A couple of solutions involve wearing a CROS device that directs sound from the weaker hearing side to the better and stronger hearing side or a bone anchored hearing aid that uses one discreet device.

Malformations of the outer or middle ear

The narrowing of the ear canal or the absence of an external ear are some of the malformations of the ear canal or middle ear that leads to conductive hearing loss, which can be present at birth. A BAHA device can deliver sound vibrations directly to the inner ear.

Allergies & Infections

There are other conditions that can benefit from a BAHA device. Anyone who is allergic to the material that is used to make custom hearing aids might choose a bone anchored device. Someone who suffers from chronic ear infection can experience drainage of fluids from the middle ear into the ear canal making it problematic to wear a typical traditional hearing aid. These people can benefit from wearing a BAHA device that does not block the ear canal.

Are you a good candidate for a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid?

You are a good candidate if you have single-sided deafness (complete hearing loss in one ear) or have conductive hearing loss (your outer or middle ears do not transmit sound correctly). If you suffer from any of the following conditions, you can benefit from a BAHA device:

  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Cholesteatoma
  • Chronic otitis media
  • Congenital atresia
  • Hearing loss
  • Infection of the ear canal
  • Malformation of the ear canal or middle ear
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Middle ear dysfunction

Procedure of a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid

The procedure for a bone anchored hearing device is safe, straightforward, and completed as an outpatient surgery. The doctor will place the small titanium implant, usually 3-4 mm, into your mastoid bone behind your non-functioning ear.

The implant might have a small piece that sticks out where you will attach a removable microphone and sound processor. You can clip onto the support or attach it with a built-in magnet. As time passes, the implant will integrate with your bone. The doctor will make it all fit snugly together to allow the implant to deliver vibrations through the bone.

How soon will you be able to hear after your surgery is over? It takes between three weeks to three months for your skull and skin to heal before you will be allowed to connect an external device, which can then be programmed for your specific hearing needs. There will be some adjustments as you get used to wearing an implant and hearing and listening to amplified sounds.

Benefits of Pronto System

We use the Ponto System by Oticon Medical that places a bone-anchored hearing system that fits behind your ear and transfers sound through bone conduction. Here are some of the benefits you will receive from a Ponto System:

  • Better sound quality when compared to a traditional bone conduction hearing aid
  • Comfortable
  • Easy to understand when people talk to you, even in a noisy environment
  • Full wireless connectivity
  • No pressure against the skin and the skull
  • Ponto 4 is the smallest bone anchored sound processors available
  • Reliability and performance with an open sound experience
  • Same advanced technology as in a premium hearing instrument
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