The Baha® system is among the latest options for people experiencing hearing impairment and loss. This unique hearing system uses direct bone conduction and is the first of its kind approved for use today. The process of direct bone conduction allows sound to be transmitted through the bones, rather than the middle ear. Baha® is not an implant, but rather a system for treating individuals with conductive, mixed and unilateral sensorineural hearing loss.
Since 1977, the Baha® system has been used to treat hearing conditions in Europe. In 1996, the FDA first approved the Baha® System in the United States, and it has since helped people who cannot benefit from traditional hearing aids. Furthermore, the Baha® system provides benefits for patients who experience conditions such as:
• Chronic ear inflammation or infection
• Single-sided deafness (SSD)
• Incomplete ear canal due to congenital ear abnormality (Treacher Collins Syndrome)
How does the Baha® system work?
The Baha® system consists of three parts: a sound processor, which accepts sound vibrations; the abutment, which sits in-between the sound processor and the last part, the implant. The abutment carries sound vibrations from the sound processor to the implant. There is also a titanium implant which is placed inside the bone. Titanium, specifically, is an excellent material for implants because the human body will accept it and bond it with surrounding bone. The implant then transfers sound vibrations, via direct bone conduction, to the cochlea which intercepts the vibrations and sends neural signals to the brain for sound to be perceived.
The Baha® system does differ from traditional hearing aids that generally carry sounds through air, and thus rely on air conduction. Bones, however, can conduct sound vibrations just like air. The Baha® system uses bones to transfer sound vibrations, which allows for a whole new pathway for sound conduction. Additionally, the Baha® system allows the cochlea to be stimulated directly, rather than using the middle and outer ear. Individuals with middle- ear blockage or damage will greatly benefit from direct cochlea stimulation.
For your convenience, the Baha® System is practically discreet. The Baha® sound processor snaps on to the abutment, so that the only external component of the system is the sound processor itself. The Baha® sound processor is smaller than your ear, which volume controls neatly located for easy adjustments. Finally, the Baha® sound processer is uniquely available in an assortment of different colors to accommodate your lifestyle.
Who are candidates for the Baha® system?
The Baha® system is approved for adults and children as young as the age of five. Children born with single-sided deafness (SSD) or middle and outer-ear problems can greatly benefit from the Baha® system. Without proper hearing, learning processes, like speech and language recognition, may develop slowly or improperly, so it is important to discuss options early on. The FDA has only approved any implant placement for children ages five and older, reasoning that children’s skulls will be strong and thick enough for such a device at this age. For younger children, a Baha® Softband is an approved option. The Baha® Softband is an innovative headband alternative, consisting of elastic, Velcro® and plastic to provide practical comfort until the child is old enough for surgery.
The Baha® system is a sensible option for adults with certain hearing conditions as well as with particular kinds of hearing loss. The processor can even be tried on before surgery to aid you in your decision. Baha® can be worn almost all the time, but is recommended for removal before water activities, sometimes sleeping and must be protected during high-contact sports. The Baha® system allows your life to be as normal as possible. The sound processer does not interact with your mobile phone and is safe for use around such devices. Additionally, innovative audio accessories are sold separately to further enhance your life with Baha® .
We are committed to providing you with the best treatments available for your hearing needs. The Baha® implant is a groundbreaking option your doctor may discuss with you, depending on your unique needs and lifestyle. Working with one of our specialists is your first step towards Baha®-assisted hearing improvement.