Bone Anchored Hearing Aid
What is a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA)?
A Bone Anchored Hearing Aid is a surgically implanted device that helps individuals who have hearing problems. Since the 1970’s, when bone anchored hearing aids were first developed, bone-conduction technology has advanced dramatically. Today’s bone anchored hearing aids combine the most modern features of bone-integration discoveries with advances made in transmitter miniaturization to make them smaller, better and even more comfortable.
Our ears are able to process sound vibrations by two pathways simultaneously, conductively (by bone) and sensorineurally (by nerves). For some individuals, sound transmission processes in the outer, middle and inner ear may be impaired. For these individuals, the best option may be a bone anchored hearing aid. Your ENT & AA team can provide the professional assessment that is essential to make the best choice.
Who can benefit from a BAHA system?
- Conductive hearing loss: If your hearing loss is caused by conductive problems in the outer or middle ear, a bone anchored hearing aid may be one of the treatment options to consider.
- Mixed hearing loss: A bone anchored hearing aid could be the best option for the type of hearing loss that has a combination of sensorineural (nerve) and conductive causes, which may indicate problems in both the middle and inner ear.
- Single-sided deafness: A bone anchored hearing aid can help individuals who have little or no hearing in one ear and quite normal hearing in the other ear.
How does a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid work?
A typical system has three components: a sound processor, an abutment and a titanium implant. A small sound processor on the outside of the head picks up sounds from the environment. The processor transmits the sound vibration through an abutment to a small titanium implant that is inserted in the bone behind the ear. Sound vibrations are conducted through the bone to the inner ear (cochlea) where they are naturally processed by tiny hair cells inside the cochlea and then sent to the brain, allowing individuals to hear sound naturally. Some systems feature magnets and other transmission systems. Your ENT & AA clinician can help you choose the best model for your specific hearing needs.
What are the advantages of a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid?
- Elimination of the feeling of pressure from the vibrator used in a standard bone conduction hearing aid
- Better sound quality and improved audibility due to the direct bond between the sound processor and the temporal bone
- Precise and stable positioning, supporting the quality of transduction
- Better looking designs, smaller electronic components
- Some units are compatible with assistive listening devices