What is a Bone-Anchored Hearing Aid?

Maybe you have heard about bone-anchored hearing aids (or BAHA as it’s affectionately known as).  Your otorhinolaryngologist (ENT specialist) or audiologist may have mentioned it to you? Well, I am about to give you the low-down on BAHA.  It may sound like a mouthful but it’s a great solution for those who need it but might not know it yet.

BAHA is an implantable hearing device designed specifically for three types of hearing loss.

  • Conductive hearing loss (read more here).
  • Mixed hearing loss (read more here).
  • Single-sided deafness (read more here).
schematic_baha
Source:  www.oticonmedical.com

The BAHA is made up of the abutment and the processor.  The abutment is fixed behind the ear (surgically implanted) and the processor fits onto the abutment and does exactly that!  It process the sound and sends it directly to the bone.

Step one

The first step is to get an assessment by your audiologist/surgeon to find out whether a BAHA is an option for you.  A trial of the instrument is always recommended.  Just remember that your BAHA will sound much better once it’s connected to the abutment.

Step two

The surgical procedure is quick and simple and is often performed under local anesthesia in an out-patient clinic.  Your surgeon will place a small titanium implant and abutment in the bone behind your ear.  The implant will fuse with the bone and the abutment will protrude out of the skin and provide an attachment for the sound processor.  After the surgery, the area will be covered with a dressing.

Step three

After 10-14 days your skin will have healed sufficiently to allow the stitches to be removed at your clinic.  You implant will need more time to merge with your bone.

Step four

The final step is to have you sound processor fitted by your audiologist.  They will programme it so it is customised for your hearing loss and show you how easy it is to use!

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