Baha Implantable Hearing Device
The Baha® System allows direct bone conduction through a titanium fixture or implant and is an acceptable alternative if an air-conduction hearing aid is contraindicated. The principle of the Baha® System is simple: sound vibrations are directly transmitted through the skull via a skin-penetrating titanium implant to the cochlea, bypassing the external ear canal, eardrum and middle ear. Clinical trials have shown its efficacy in patients with a conductive or mixed hearing loss and in those with single-sided profound sensorineural hearing loss.
The BAHA consists of three parts: 1) The titanium implanted portion (small screw in the bone in picture to the right), which is similar to a dental implant, 2) An external abutment (the cone-shaped part that connects with the screw), and 3) The sound processor (hearing device) that clips onto the abutment.
INDICATIONS FOR SURGERY
Indications for the Baha® System include hearing loss from congenital ear problems and chronic otitis media. In some cases it is a treatment option for patients with otosclerosis who cannot or will not undergo stapedotomy.
A second group of potential candidates are patients who suffer from an almost instantaneous skin reaction to any kind of earmold in the ear canal. The Baha® System implant sits behind the ear, which means there is no direct contact in the ear canal.
A third group of patients who could benefit from the Baha® System are those with a single-sided profound sensorineural hearing loss. Due to viral infections of the ear, Meniere’s disease, trauma or surgery for acoustic neuroma removal, thousands of individuals lose hearing in one ear. The effect is very overwhelming for many people – the ability to localize sound is lost and hearing in noise becomes much more challenging. As a result, the individual has to rely more heavily on vision to provide information regarding their surroundings. The Baha® System, placed on the side without hearing, provides sound input from that side, improving sound awareness and communication abilities.
Preoperative assessment of the size of the air-bone gap for conductive or mixed losses and assessment of the non-deaf ear in single-sided profound sensorineural hearing loss are necessary to determine benefit with the Baha® System. Surgery can be performed under either a local or general anesthetic and is often covered by insurance. Surgery is performed on an outpatient basis.
If you are interested in exploring your options for advanced hearing devices, please contact us today to schedule an initial hearing test and consultation.