There are scenarios when traditional hearing aids are not the best treatment for hearing loss. Bone anchored hearing systems (BAHS) offer an alternative method for acoustic enhancement.
What is a Bone Anchored Hearing System?More commonly referred to as bone anchored hearing aids (BAHA), these surgically implanted hearing systems include hearing devices and processors that attach to the mastoid bone behind your ear. The titanium implant has an abutment or magnetic plant that attaches to an external processor and microphone. The processor picks up sounds and sends them to the implant, converting the sound into vibrations that travel through your skull bone to stimulate your inner ear.
Who’s a Candidate for a BAHA?These hearing devices are well-suited for children and adults with conductive hearing loss caused by malformed or narrow ear canals. Children with microtia can benefit from wearing a BAHA too. A hearing specialist or audiologist will determine if you’re a candidate for a BAHA. They will look for signs and symptoms, including:
- Middle and outer ear problems
- Chronic ear infections
- Extreme allergic reactions that block the ear canal
- Single-sided deafness
How Are BAHAs Implanted?BAHAs require a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that lasts 30 to 60 minutes. You’ll receive local or general anesthesia before a small incision is made in the skin behind your ear. A three- to four-millimeter hole is drilled into the bone to make room for the abutment. The incision is closed and will require three to six weeks to heal before the external processor is attached. Your audiologist will then adjust the processor settings to your unique specifications.
Advantages of Wearing a BAHAs
- Bone-anchored devices bypass damage or blocked outer and middle ears to stimulate the auditory nerve of your inner ear.
- BAHAs keep your ear canal open, which is important for chronic ear infections.
- The surgery is not invasive and is completely reversible.
- BAHAs are pairable with hearing accessories such as TV streamers, audio streamers and FM receivers.
- Most patients who wear BAHAs don’t feel the devices after the incision is healed and the processor is attached.
- The external processors are compact and come in various colors to match different skin tones.