The advantage of BAHA®
BAHA®, now an FDA cleared solution for Single Sided Defness (SSD), provides a completely unique benefit. The BAHA device is placed on the deaf ear side behind the ear, and transfers sound through bone conduction, stimulating the cochlea from the normal hearing ear. BAHA gives the possibility to hear and understand sounds from both sides of the head where previously the head shadow effect totally masked certain sounds. This ultimately results in the sensation of hearing sound from the deaf side.
If you think you may be a candidate for BAHA® you can contact your local ENT Doctor or Audiology Clinic. Or use the Clinic Search facility in the Members Area of this site to get details of your nearest BAHA clinic.
Direct Bone Conduction
The BAHA® sound processor is based on the principle of Direct Bone Conduction (DBC). It is this principle that allows the BAHA device to overcome many of the drawbacks of both conventional air conduction (AC) and bone conduction (BC) hearing aids.
The principle of Direct Bone Conduction is what makes BAHA unique. The BAHA system is a combination of a sound processor attached to an osseointegrated fixture. The vibrating BAHA transducer is directly connected to the skull bone of which the cochlea is an integrated part. This principle of DBC provides a more or less direct and clear transmission pathway to the cochlea. In contrast, the vibrating transducer of a conventional BC device acts against the skin, not the bone, resulting in fairly poor sound quality
Congenital Hearing Loss
BAHA® is suitable for people with a conductive or mixed hearing impairment. The conductive loss may be caused by a congenital or other acquired malformation of the middle or external ear resulting in a missing or incomplete ear canal (atresia).
Traditionally people with this type of hearing loss have been offered an old-fashioned bone conducting hearing aid. These are either held on the head using a steel spring headband, or included in the frame of a pair of glasses. Traditional bone conductors have several disadvantages. The sound quality is poor as the skin acts as a barrier for the sound to travel to the inner ear. They are uncomfortable, causing pain and headaches due to the constant pressure of the headband. They are also cumbersome, obtrusive and insecure
Chronic Ear Infection
BAHA® is suitable for people with a conductive or mixed hearing impairment. Some cases of conductive hearing loss are caused by a chronic infection of the middle or outer ear that results in a persistent and unpleasant discharge.
Conventional treatment, with or without radical mastoid cavity surgery, has been to fit an air conduction (AC) hearing aid in the affected ear canal. But when an AC device is fitted the ear canal is closed. The possibility of drainage is compromised and the infection can be severely aggravated. In addition the AC device has to be quite powerful and, as a result, some people complain about feedback and sound quality.
Single Sided Deafness
In the U.S. alone, over 60,000 people per year become victims of SSD through sudden deafness caused by viral infections, Meniere's disease, trauma, measles, chicken pox, or through surgical intervention such as acoustic neuroma tumour surgery. Most people inflicted by a form of SSD have been left without a choice or an adequate solution to help them. To date the only possible solution has been a traditional CROS (contralateral routing of signal) hearing aid. This system is limited in terms of performance and handling and aesthetics are considered poor. Most people offered a CROS aid do not use it.
Most people who have not experienced SSD do not realize the handicaps that are presented when this loss occurs. The harsh reality is that many with SSD have to make major life changes. These life changes may include feeling highly uncomfortable or no longer coping with everyday things such as; crossing the street, business meetings, restaurants, family gatherings, bicycling, jogging, driving a car, etc. Hence the person will have to withdraw from social and professional activities. In group situations, loud sounds become overwhelming and the simplest things in life become major obstacles which in many cases lead to the SSD individual removing themselves socially and professionally.