Bone conduction hearing aids (Baha)
Bone conduction hearing aids - the Solution for middle ear hearing loss, malformed or absent ear canal or auricle
Do you or someone you know struggle with middle ear hearing loss, a malformed or missing ear canal or auricle? If so, then you’re not alone. These conditions can significantly affect the quality of life by making everyday activities difficult and making communication difficult. But fear not, there’s a solution that can change everything: bone conduction hearing aids.
These innovative devices are designed to bypass the damaged middle ear and directly stimulate the inner ear, allowing sufferers to maintain or even regain their sense of hearing. With their advanced technology and discreet design, bone conduction hearing aids are a lifeline for anyone who has lived in silence until now.
In this article, you’ll learn about the benefits of these implants, how they work, and why they’re the ultimate solution for anyone looking to improve their hearing and reclaim their lives.
So, dive in and discover the transformative power of bone conduction hearing aids.
What is middle ear hearing loss?
Middle ear hearing loss, also known as conductive hearing loss, is a form of hearing loss that results from problems in the middle ear. The middle ear consists of the eardrum and the three ossicles – the hammer, the anvil and the stirrup.
These ossicles are usually responsible for transmitting sound waves from the outer ear to the inner ear. However, if one or more of these ossicles are damaged or not functioning properly, it can cause hearing problems. Middle ear hearing loss can be congenital or caused by injury, infection, or other medical conditions.
People with middle ear hearing loss often have difficulty hearing certain sounds, especially soft sounds or high frequencies. They may also have trouble understanding conversations in noisy environments or developing directional hearing. These limitations can significantly improve the quality of life
and lead to social isolation, depression and anxiety.
What are bone conduction hearing aids (BAHA)?
Bone conduction hearing aids, are a breakthrough technology that can help people with middle ear hearing loss, a malformed or missing ear canal or auricle. Unlike traditional hearing aids, which amplify sound waves and pass through the damaged part of the
In the middle ear to reach the inner ear, bone conduction hearing aids completely bypass the middle ear and stimulate the inner ear directly.
This works through a combination of an implant and an external audio processor. The implant consists of a titanium screw that is inserted into the skull bone behind the ear. The external audio processor is attached to the implant magnetically or with a precision mechanical snap coupling and transmits sound signals directly to the implant.
Bone. The bone then transmits the sonic vibrations to the inner ear, where they are converted into nerve impulses and sent to the brain.
The frequently used abbreviation “BAHA” stands for the English-language name: Bone A ncored Hearing Aid, to German bone-anchored hearing aid.
Benefits of Bone Conduction Hearing Aids
Bone conduction hearing aids offer a variety of advantages over traditional hearing aids and other hearing solutions. Here are some of the key benefits:
1. Improved sound quality and speech intelligibility
By bypassing the damaged middle ear and directly stimulating the inner ear, bone conduction hearing aids can provide improved sound quality and speech intelligibility. This will greatly improve the hearing experience for people with middle ear hearing loss, and they will be able to perceive conversations and other sounds more clearly and distinctly.
2. Better localization of sounds
One of the challenges with middle ear hearing loss is the difficulty of locating sounds correctly. However, with bone conduction hearing aids, people can develop better directional hearing again. By transmitting sound signals directly to the bone, these implants allow for a more precise perception of the sound source and make it easier for wearers to determine the direction of a sound.
3. No impairment of the external auditory canal
Unlike traditional hearing aids, which are worn in the external auditory canal, bone conduction hearing aids do not affect the external auditory canal. This provides greater comfort and prevents problems such as earwax buildup, infections or skin irritation. In addition, it allows wearers to use headphones or earplugs without affecting the function of the implant.
Who can benefit from bone conduction hearing aids?
Bone conduction hearing aids are an ideal solution for people with middle ear hearing loss, malformed or missing ear canal or auricle. Here are some of the possible indications for these implants:
1. Middle ear hearing loss
Bone conduction hearing aids are an excellent option for people with middle ear hearing loss where traditional hearing aids are not sufficient. This can be due to various reasons such as ossicle loss, chronic otitis media, or other structural abnormalities in the middle ear.
2. Deformed or missing ear canal
A malformed or missing ear canal can make it difficult or impossible to wear traditional hearing aids. In such cases, bone conduction hearing aids can be an effective solution. Since these implants do not affect the external auditory canal, they can also be used in case of malformations of the ear canal.
3. Missing or underdeveloped auricle
People with a missing or underdeveloped auricle may benefit from bone conduction hearing aids. Since these implants are placed directly on the skull bone behind the ear, an auricle is not required. This allows people with congenital anomalies to improve their hearing while maintaining an aesthetically pleasing appearance.
However, the final decision on whether bone conduction hearing aids are suitable for a person should be made by a qualified otolaryngologist. A thorough medical examination and assessment of individual needs are essential to determine the best treatment option.
Surgical procedure for bone conduction hearing aids
The surgical procedure to place bone conduction hearing aids consists of several steps. Here’s an overview of the process:
1. Preliminary investigation and planning
Before the procedure, a comprehensive preliminary examination is carried out to determine the patient’s suitability for the implant. This includes audiometry, imaging of the head, and possibly other tests. Based on the results, the implant position and other surgical details are planned.
2. Preparation of the implant bed
During the procedure, a small incision in the skin is made behind the ear to prepare the implant bed. This incision allows access to the skull bone where the titanium screw is inserted.
3. Placement of the implant
The titanium screw is carefully inserted into the skull bone and firmly anchored. This process is usually performed under local anesthesia and is usually painless.
4. Healing process
After implantation, it takes a few weeks for the implant to firmly fuse with the bone. During this period, it is important to strictly follow the surgeon’s postoperative instructions to ensure proper healing.
5. Customization of the external audio processor
Once the implant has fully healed, the external audio processor is adjusted. This process involves fine-tuning the device to meet the patient’s individual hearing needs.
Risks and Complications of Bone Conduction Hearing Aids
As with any surgical procedure, there can be risks and complications associated with the placement of bone conduction hearing aids. Possible risks include infections, wound healing disorders, damage to surrounding tissues or nerves, and allergic reactions to the implant material. It is important that the procedure is performed by an experienced and qualified otolaryngologist to minimize the risk of complications.
Rehabilitation and adaptation to bone conduction hearing aids
After the implantation of bone conduction hearing aids, rehabilitation and adaptation period is required. During this phase, the patient works closely with us as a hearing care professional and, if necessary, speech therapist to make the most of the implant and improve speech intelligibility. This may include listening exercises, speech therapy, and regular follow-up checkups.
It is important to note that the adaptation to bone conduction hearing aids may be different for each patient. Some people may have a quick adjustment and immediately reap the benefits of the implant, while others may take longer to get used to the new listening experience.
Common misconceptions about bone conduction hearing aids
Although bone conduction hearing aids are a proven technology, there are still some misconceptions and misconceptions about them. Here are some of the most common misconceptions and the truth behind them:
1. Bone conduction hearing aids are uncomfortable or painful.
Fact: Bone conduction hearing aids are usually comfortable and don’t cause pain. Surgical intervention is performed under local anesthesia, and many patients report a speedy recovery and minimal discomfort.
2. Bone conduction hearing aids are visible and unattractive.
Fact: Modern bone conduction hearing aids are discreet and aesthetically pleasing. The external audio processor can often be hidden behind the hair or covered with special hairpieces for a more natural look.
The housing of the audio processor can be adjusted to the hair color. For children there are bright colors.
What alternatives are there if even a bone conduction hearing aid can no longer help?
If the middle ear is damaged or completely defective, there are other hearing implant solutions.
One option is the cochlear implant.