Bone Anchored Hearing Aid placement

What is a BAHA?

BAHA stands for “bone anchored hearing aid.” A bone anchored hearing aid surgically implantable system for treatment of hearing loss. BAHA is used to help people with chronic ear infections, malformations of the outer and middle ear and single sided deafness who cannot benefit from traditional hearing aids. The system is surgically implanted and allows sound to be conducted through the bone, rather than the middle ear.

The bone anchored hearing aid consists of three parts: a titanium implant, an external abutment, and a sound processor. The system works by enhancing natural bone transmission as a pathway for sound to travel to the inner ear, bypassing the external and middle ear. The titanium implant is placed during a short surgical procedure and over time naturally integrates with the skull bone. The sound processor transmits sound vibrations through direct contact within the skull and sends vibration to the inner ear where the nerve fibers of the inner ear are activated, allowing hearing.

Who is a Candidate for a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid?

The bone anchored hearing aid is used to rehabilitate people with single sided deafness, as well as conductive and mixed hearing impairment. This includes people with chronic ear infection of the ear canal, and people with absence of or a very narrow ear canal.

Chronic Ear Infections

Treatment for hearing losses with the bone anchored hearing aid is suitable for people with a conductive or mixed hearing impairment caused by chronic infection of the middle or outer ear that results in a persistent and unpleasant discharge. The first goal is to manage the infection. In rare cases, chronic infections fail to respond to treatment, but are determined to be non-threatening. In other cases, infections respond to treatment, but recur with the use of a conventional in-the-canal hearing aid. When a hearing aid is placed in a susceptible ear canal, a chronic or recurrent infection may be aggravated by the obstruction of the canal and the resulting excessive humidity and lack of drainage. In these cases, the BAHA may be a good solution for hearing rehabilitation.

Malformation of the Middle or External Ear

While traditional hearing aids require sound to enter the ear canal and pass through the middle ear, BAHA bypasses the outer and middle ear system, transmitting sound through the skull directly to the inner ear.

BAHA for Single Sided Deafness

Patients with profound hearing loss in one ear and normal to near normal hearing in the other ear may have difficulty understanding speech in the presence of background noise. Common scenarios such as restaurants and group conversations tend to be situations where hearing is difficult in patients with single sided deafness.

Non-surgical treatment for this condition includes the use of a CROS (contralateral routing of signal) hearing aid. The CROS system utilizes a transmitter that is worn on the ear that cannot benefit from a hearing aid, and a receiver that is worn on the normal hearing ear. The transmitter picks up sound and transfers it wirelessly to the normal hearing ear. The BAHA is an alternative to the CROS hearing aid. Advantages of the BAHA include the ability to keep the external ear canal open, and not have to wear a device on the unaffected side.

Selecting the Appropriate Device

If you are a candidate and are interested in proceeding with the BAHA, please let your physician know. We will schedule a meeting with an audiologist for an in-office demonstration to simulate what the device will sound like. This appointment is free of charge.

Please contact our office at (847) 674-5585 for any emergencies, surgical problems, questions or concerns.

Post op Information – BAHA

Post-operative care after placement of an osseointegrated implant:

  1. You will be seen in our office 10-14 days after the procedure and again at 6 weeks after the procedure. If these visits are not already scheduled, please call our office to make these post-operative appointments. During your first post-operative visit the sutures will be removed.
  2. You may take the prescribed pain medicines after surgery, or you can try Ibuprofen and/or Tylenol. Usually pain is only mild at worst after this procedure. If the pain is severe, please let us know.
  3. Avoid vigorous exercise or participating in any activities that would cause you to increase your heart rate until seen in the office for your first post-operative visit.
  4. After surgery, a healing cap will be placed on the implant. This will snap into place with gentle pressure and can be removed as needed to clean around the device. Please keep the healing cap in place until your first follow up visit. This prevents skin overgrowth that would prevent attaching the sound processor following full osseointegration. If swelling of the skin prevents placement of the healing cap, please contact our office.
  5. It typically takes 6 weeks for the implant to osseointegrate completely. You will be seen in the office at this time to evaluate the implant for successful osseointegration. Once the osseointegration is complete, the audiologist will fit you with the sound processor and activate it.
  6. After your first post-operative visit, you may start to clean your device with the cleaning brush provided. Clean in a gentle fashion as to not disrupt the osseointegration process at the base of the device. Should skin start to overgrow the abutment, please notify us immediately.

Please contact our office at (847) 674-5585 for any emergencies, surgical problems, questions or concerns.