Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA), also known as an osseointegrated implant, is a hearing device that relies on direct bone conduction to transmit sound. This surgically implanted device bypasses the auditory canal and middle ear, utilizing bones as a pathway for sound to reach the cochlea of the inner ear. It’s often an alternative for people with chronic ear infections, congenital external auditory canal atresia and single-sided deafness.
In a person with normal hearing, sound enters the external ear and travels down the ear canal through the middle ear to the cochlea of the inner ear. This pathway is called air conduction. The BAHA system takes advantage of the bones’ natural conductive abilities by sending sound vibrations directly to your inner ear, bypassing the auditory canal and middle ear completely.
The BAHA device is made up of three components: a titanium implant, an external abutment or magnet and a sound processor. Once the surgical implant is in place, it gradually fuses with the skull over a period of several months in a process known as osseointegration. The BAHA unit is then ready to be fit and programmed. The sound processor transmits vibrations through the external abutment or magnet to the implant, where vibrations in the skull and inner ear stimulate the nerve fibers responsible for hearing.
BAHA is a safe and effective FDA-approved treatment alternative that enables many hearing-impaired individuals to communicate more effectively. It has been available in the U.S. since 1977.
Candidates for BAHA are typically patients with conductive and mixed hearing losses, or those with unilateral (single-sided) hearing loss.
If you experience chronic ear infections that do not respond to treatment, you may find the BAHA system particularly beneficial. Conventional hearing aids can aggravate the condition due to humidity and moisture building up in the ear canals. Those with congenital ear defects (such as ear canals that are narrow or absent) are good candidates, as well.
Call Watauga Hearing at (423) 928-1901 for more information or to schedule an appointment.