LAST UPDATED: October 19th, 2022 | BY:
Bone-anchored hearing systems are surgically implanted devices, unlike hearing aids. In contrast to typical hearing aids, which enhance acoustic signals that enter the ear canal, they manage hearing loss by bone conduction of acoustic energy to the inner ear. Bone-anchored hearing systems are therefore regarded as specialized devices for those with issues with their outer or middle ear but at least one functional inner ear (cochlea).
The BAHA provides a different approach using bone conduction to achieve sensitive hearing. The BAHA technology involves implanting a small titanium device behind the ear and a sound processor. Direct bone conduction, a mechanism made possible by this special arrangement, enables the bone to transmit sound directly to a functioning cochlea rather than through the middle ear.
The system converts sound waves into bone vibrations at the implant site. After that, vibration is transmitted via bone to activate the cochlea, directly omitting the middle ear. The BAHA is a bone conduction hearing device that consists of an external percutaneous sound processor and a titanium fixture that is surgically inserted into the mastoid bone of the skull. A skin-penetrating abutment secures the sound processor to the fixture.
In some cases, bone-anchored hearing systems are recommended as a better alternative to hearing aids for those with hearing loss. However, many individuals don’t know what they are or how they operate. An implanted titanium screw inserted behind the ear, an abutment connected to the screw and visible on the skin’s surface, and an external sound processor make up a bone-anchored hearing device, an implantable hearing aid. The Food and Drug Administration has passed the bone-anchored hearing aids system its seal of approval as an advanced hearing aid for the treatment of hearing loss.
People with congenital EAC atresia, chronic otitis externa or otitis media, or those who cannot tolerate traditional hearing aids can all benefit from the BAHA because it is attached to an abutment behind the ear and does not contain any component inside the EAC. In addition, in patients with unilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss, the BAHA placed behind the damaged ear causes bone vibrations that are conveyed to the cochlea of the opposite ear, allowing the patient to experience sound coming from the side of the head with the dead ear.
Although children under five cannot have a bone-anchored hearing aid surgically implanted, they can wear an external BAHA, such as a headband. Additionally, the implant site, which is immediately behind the ear, is fairly variable. As a result, folks who wear glasses can use them. To avoid an accumulation of debris, it’s crucial to clean the area around the BAHA abutment routinely. The internal CPU is surgically installed beneath the skin, making it waterproof. Traditionally, the external processor is not waterproof and needs to be removed like a hearing aid. There are currently certain external processor models with waterproofing features that may be used in the shower, bath, or pool.
The treatment is frequently carried out as an outpatient operation using a local anesthetic. Patients must know that removing the implant is simple if they are unhappy with the BAHA treatment. This is the only ear surgery technique that can be reversed. BAHA can improve hearing in loud environments and aid in the localization of sounds by cutting out the outer or middle ear.
Compared to conventional hearing aids, it produces a natural sound with less distortion and feedback and better speech understanding. A bone-anchored hearing aid is extremely challenging to remove since the titanium is intended to bond with the bone. The external component, however, is easy to remove. The operation for BAHA does not harm or impact the structures in your auditory system, unlike those undergoing cochlear implant surgery. Additionally, a BAHA can be tried out on a headband before surgery.
Proper hygiene is necessary to reduce the risk of infection around the abutment area. For the sound processor to adhere to it through magnetic attraction and keep intact skin with a lesser chance of infection, a magnet needs to be put under the skin. It might be more aesthetically pleasing and discrete.
The BAHA products provide coverage for all acceptable types of hearing losses by allowing the transcutaneous options to be switched to a percutaneous version if the hearing loss develops to the point where it requires maximum gain and performance, offering utmost comfort to users.