Your physician can help you determine if you are a candidate for a bone anchored hearing aid.
Although not everyone is a candidate for a bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA), they can be a preferable option for many patients. These aids can be appropriate for both children and adults that suffer from hearing loss.
There are two parts to a BAHA. First, the hearing device itself is surgically inserted into the skull. A titanium magnet or screw remains outside of the skull.
Between three and six months post-surgery, the internal hearing aid integrates with the bone.
At this point, an external sound processor is attached to the screw or magnet. The external piece can be taken on and off as the patient desires.
An atypical formation of the ear or ear canal can make the use of traditional hearing aids difficult for those patients. Some patients are prone to chronic ear infections, and putting something inside the ear every day can exacerbate the problem. Also, those patients with one-sided hearing loss, conductive or mixed hearing loss may find that a BAHA provides better hearing assistance than traditional devices. A BAHA can be placed on only one side of the ear, instead of having to have a device for each ear.
The surgery is an outpatient procedure. If you decide in the future that the BAHA is not desirable, the internal piece can be surgically removed. A small number of patients may not be candidates for a BAHA, but the majority of patients who suffer from hearing loss are able to receive one of these devices.
BAHA vs. Traditional Hearing Aids
When the bone behind the ear is stimulated, this transmits a sound signal to the inner ear. This process is called bone conduction. There are bone conduction hearing devices that are not surgically placed. However, these devices are sometimes put in the wrong place, causing difficulties. Using a headband or similar device to anchor the hearing aid can cause uncomfortable pressure and does not always prevent the device from sliding around. Patients who suffer from chronic ear infections appreciate a device that does not need to be placed into the ear canal.
A BAHA can receive sound signals from both ears, even though only one device is placed. This is a benefit for those patients who suffer from one-sided hearing loss but were forced to use two traditional hearing aids in the past. Two-sided hearing is important for being able to respond appropriately to those around us, as well as determining where sounds are coming from. Hearing from both sides also helps to hear more clearly when there is a lot of external noise.
A BAHA is less noticeable than traditional devices and is often covered partially or wholly by the patient’s hair. Users of BAHAs also feel like the sound quality is improved over traditional devices, even other bone conductive aids.