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Overview of Bone Anchored Hearing Aids (BAHA)

What is a Bone-Anchored Hearing Aid or BAHA?
A bone anchored hearing aid, or BAHA for short, requires surgery and is recommended to candidates with specific hearing losses. During the outpatient procedure, a titanium prosthesis in implanted into the skull with a small portion exposed outside of the skin or a magnet is place just under the skin. This abutment transmits sounds via conduction through the bone directly to the inner ear. After allowing the surgical spot to heal a sound processor is then attached to the abutment and transmits sound vibrations to the titanium implant. The implant vibrates the skill and inner ear, with these vibrations the nerve fibers in the inner ear send signals to the brain and allow hearing.

Who would be a candidate for a BAHA?
The most common condition is often someone with chronic ear disease. This is associated with continuous or intermittent drainage from the ear canal. A conventional hearing aid may not be appropriate due to the drainage. The ear canal is left open for comfort and helps to reduce any problems caused by chronic ear infections or allergies.

An individual with single sided deafness and perceives difficulty hearing even when the other ear has normal hearing is also considered a candidate. In these patients, BAHA sends the sound by the skull bone from the deaf side to the inner ear of the hearing side.

Individuals with malformations of the ear such: microtia, a malformed ear, anotia, a missing ear, or atresia, a narrowing or absent ear canal are candidates as well. By bypassing the outer or middle ear, BAHA can increase hearing in noisy situations and help localize sounds. In addition to improved speech understanding, it results in a natural sound with less distortion and feedback compared with conventional hearing aids.

Required testing
A comprehensive audiometric evaluation is required. This appointment will start off with a conversation with your Audiologist. This allows them to get to know your hearing health on an in-depth level. Following this conversation, the Audiologist will inspect your ears as they are looking for specific landmarks and/or abnormalities on the ear canal and eardrum. As for the testing, a comprehensive evaluation is completed. Speech testing is also completed to determine your word recognition ability. The Audiologist may add additional testing such to assess your middle and inner ear. Once testing is completed the Audiologist will review the results and discuss recommendations specific to your concerns.

Insurance coverage
Each manufacture that creates a BAHA has a team of specialists that will assist in answering any additional questions you have as well as addressing coverage for the surgery and bone anchored hearing instrument.

Our team of Audiologist are here to help answer questions you may have about BAHAs. Please contact Gardner Audiology at 1-800-277-1182 or email info@gardneraudiology.com and we can guide you through the process.

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Megan Labbe, B.S., Gardner Audiology Doctoral Extern

Megan Labbe, B.S., Gardner Audiology Doctoral Extern