Michigan Ear Institute

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Bone Conduction Devices: Implantable and Non-Implantable Options

Bone Conduction Hearing Devices: Implantable

What is the Baha® system?

The Baha Auditory Osseointegrated Implant System is an alternative hearing instrument for those who can benefit and when there is no other suitable aid. The device, originally called the Bone Anchored Hearing Aid, is implanted in the temporal bone behind the ear and actually fuses (osseointegrates) with human bone behind the ear to provide transmission of sound via direct bone conduction. The Baha implant has been used successfully for more than 30 years and has become a treatment of choice for tens of thousands of hearing impaired people worldwide, and the numbers of Baha users are increasing rapidly.

How does Baha system work?

The Baha processor’s job is to convert sound waves from the surrounding air into vibrations. The vibrations are carried via the implant and the abutment to the bony portion of the skull and then directly to the healthy functioning inner ear(s), where they are converted into nerve impulses and carried on the auditory nerve (hearing nerve) to the brain.

Who can benefit?

To benefit from the Baha a person needs sufficient hearing function in at least one inner ear. There several options available for these type of implantable devices: one from the Cochlear Corporation (BAHA) and one from Oticon Medical (called the Ponto.) The instruments vary in size, shape, and color.They are selected according to the needs of the user and the features desired. Simulations will be performed with the options available.

The devices are FDA approved for treatment of conductive or mixed hearing loss and single sided deafness (SSD). The Baha is cleared for use in children over 5 years of age. However, the only way to know if a person is actually meeting the candidacy criteria is for them to have a thorough assessment by an audiologist and an otolaryngologist who fit the Baha.

Where to start?

The Baha can be demonstrated to you in our office. The simulation takes only a few minutes. The device is connected to a test rod or softband that allows you to experience the processor’s sound quality.

Surgical procedure

The surgery for Baha is usually a simple outpatient procedure and, after a 3 month period during which the titanium implant gets integrated into the bone, the connecting abutment and the sound processor are fitted on the patient and adjusted for appropriate amplification parameters. Most people can resume normal activity within a few days. The surgery is easily reversible, such that patients, who change their mind, can have the titanium attachment removed if needed in the future. Since the BAHA sound processor produces such great quality sound, it is very rare for patients to want the procedure reversed.

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