A bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA) may be used in the treatment of certain types of severe conductive hearing loss. This is possible because bone, like air, can conduct sound vibrations.
A bone anchored hearing aid consists of an external sound processor and a 3-4 mm titanium implant placed in the skull behind the ear. After approximately three months, or six months for children, the implant has fused with the living bone. This process is called osseointegration. Once the bone anchored hearing aid has osseointegrated, the sound processor is attached to the implant which conducts sounds to the inner ear via the bones. In this way the sound travels to the inner ear without involving the ear canal or the middle ear.
Some bone achored hearing aids have an electrical input designed for connecting external equipment, such as FM hearing systems, IR systems, MP3 players, and televisions and are compatible with mobile phones.
Users of bone anchored hearing aids
The largest group of bone anchored hearing aid users are patients with chronic suppurative otitis media, a chronic infection of the middle ear with frequent eardrum perforations. However, the implant can also be used to treat mixed hearing loss and sometimes unilateral sensorineural hearing loss. Prior to the implantation procedure, a test is carried out during which the patient bites a test rod attached to a sound processor. If you can hear the sound clearly that way, a bone anchored hearing aid is likely to work well for you.
Bone-anchored hearing aids can be difficult to use in young children, but some hearing aids are cleared for pediatric use.
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