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You recently met someone with significant hearing loss and saw they wore a hearing device. However, these was not the tiny, nearly invisible type of hearing aid most people wear today. It was larger and attached to their head behind their ear. What you saw was a bone-anchored hearing system.
What are bone-anchored hearing aids?
Bone-anchored hearing systems – or BAHS – are devices that treat hearing loss by sending sound vibration directly to the inner ear through bone conduction, or vibrations of the bones of the skull. A traditional hearing aid amplifies acoustic sounds, which are sent through the ear canal. BAHS are considered specialty devices and are utilized for patients with unique hearing loss that requires sound to bypass the ear canal. BAHS typically require a surgical component that is implanted in the skull, but there are also options that can be worn on a headband or on an adhesive adaptor.
Who should use a bone-anchored hearing aid?
BAHS are ideal for people who have severe hearing loss in just one ear, are unable to wear traditional hearing aids due to outer or middle ear malformations, or have conductive hearing loss (a problem transferring sound through the outer and middle ear correctly).
“A bone-anchored hearing system is a great solution to help those who may not benefit from traditional hearing aids reconnect with the world and live a full life,” CEENTA Audiologist Greer Bailey, AuD, said.
Are bone-anchored hearing aids and cochlear implants the same thing?
BAHS and cochlear implants are different in many ways. A BAHS treats conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss, or severe unilateral hearing loss, whereas a cochlear implant treats severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss (a problem occurring in the inner ear or anywhere along the nerve pathways that connect the inner ear to the brain). Cochlear implants are also, as the name implies, surgically implanted directly into the cochlea. BAHS, on the other hand, are surgically implanted into the skull and use the cochlea by sending vibrations to it through the bones of the skull.
Am I a good candidate for a bone-anchored hearing aid?
If you have hearing loss and would like to find out what you can do to improve your hearing health, schedule an appointment with your audiologist to discuss what type of amplification would best suit your needs.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. Would you like an appointment with Dr. Bailey? Call 704-295-3000.
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