BAHA, short for Bone Anchored Hearing Aid, is a remarkable innovation designed for people whose hearing loss is caused by sound being unable to reach the inner ear. The BAHA is unique in that it replaces the ear’s normal function by using the bone of the skull for sound conduction, rather than
Let’s take a look at how the system functions. The figure below shows the three components that make up the system: a titanium fixture, an ‘abutment’ or connecting element and an external sound processor.
Unlike most other hearing aids, the BAHA functions by using bone to transfer sound to the cochlea rather than through the middle ear, a process also known as direct bone conduction. Other types of hearing aid tend to use what we call ‘air conduction’, which captures sound waves and transmits them to the eardrum. Naturally, for people with non-functional or damaged eardrums, it can be extremely useful to bypass this process and opt for bone conduction instead. The BAHA differs from the Cochlear Implant in that it requires a working cochlear in order to function and does not serve as a replacement.
The device is installed through a minor operation behind your non-functional ear. A BAHA can be clipped on or off, and plenty of people use them during the day and then take them off at night or when taking a shower.
What’s more, some newer versions are held onto the head with magnets instead of a connector through the skin.
At Hear4U we offer a non-surgical option, the Starkey F228D Bone Conduction Spectacles, which look exactly like a normal pair of eyeglasses yet allow for enhanced hearing much like a pair of regular hearing aids, making them a perfect option for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.
To see if you’re a candidate for Bone Conduction solutions, it is always advised that you check with your doctor or one of our Hear4U specialists.
However, the most common candidates for BAHA-style aids are those who have one or more of the following conditions:
- Aural Atresia – The absence of an ear canal
- Injury affecting the canal volume of middle ear structure
- Ossicular Disease (Otosclerosis) – A disease of the bones of the middle and inner ear
- Microtia – The underdevelopment or malformation of the pinna or outer ear
- Chronic Otitis Media – A chronic infection that causes continuous drainage of fluid into the ear canal
- Severe allergies to ear moulds/domes in normal hearing aids
- Skin Sensitivities i.e. Eczema
- Cholesteatoma – An abnormal collection of skin cells deep within the ear
So, if you are a candidate, what are the advantages over an air-conduction hearing device?
- No need for an earmold or custom in-ear shaping
- No visible tubing or wires
- No irritation of the ear canal
- Less distortion of sound – traditional hearing aids need to deliver more sound to compensate for the ‘air-bone gap’. This is because sound conducts better through solids than gases, like the air. With bone conduction hearing devices, less overall gain is required as the sound is delivered via a different pathway. This also reduces feedback issues.
- No occlusion effect – This tends to occur when vibrations bounce from the object to the outer ear and/or canal and causes a ‘full head’ feeling.
To make an appointment to see if BAHA devices are right for you, why not book a free appointment with our specialist Hear4U team here: