Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (Baha®)

A bone anchored hearing aid (Baha®) is a special type of bone conduction hearing aid.  Baha® is different in that it consists of a permanent titanium fixture that is surgically inserted into the mastoid bone – the part of the skull bone behind your ear. An attachment (called a ‘percutaneous abutment’) is then fitted into the implanted fixture. This attachment contains a small sound processor that converts incoming sounds into vibrations. The aid then vibrates and transmits the sound directly through the mastoid bone to the cochlea – completely by-passing the outer and middle ears. 
 
Baha® is not suitable for everyone. You will usually only be advised to have one if you:
  • have abnormalities of the outer or middle parts of your ear, which means that you are unable to wear conventional hearing aids.
  • have a chronic ear infection or inflammation, which makes wearing a conventional hearing aid difficult or impossible.
  • have a hearing loss in both ears that cannot be operated on, and for which conventional hearing aids are not suitable.
  • can hear sounds well via bone conduction (this is tested as part of the assessment for a Baha®).
  • can understand 60% or more of speech on a standard test, using bone conduction.
  • will be able to keep the area around the fixture clean, either on your own or with help from other people.
Advantages:
 
• Suitable for those who are unable to wear conventional air conduction hearing aids.
 
Disadvantages:

• Risk of infection due to the open wound created by implanting the titanium fixture. This requires requires daily care to minimise the risk of infection.
• Because this type of aid is very specialised, it needs to be sent away in the event that it requires repair. Obviously this may take some time, depending on the nature of the repairs that need to be carried out, but the company (Cochlear Limited) will usually provide temporary replacement units during the repair period.

 

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