While hearing loss affects as many as 28 million American children and adults, unfortunately only 5%-10% of these people have surgically or medically treatable conditions. Hearing aids may be beneficial when a condition is not treatable. A hearing evaluation will help determine if hearing aids will be useful for you and for your specific condition. Our experienced doctors will help determine the best type and model of hearing aid for each unique patient. There are many types of hearing aids available, and working with your doctor ensures that you will receive the best hearing aid for your needs. With many diverse styles and features of hearing aids to offer, your lifestyle, interests and activities can still remain important aspects of your life.
Once your doctor has determined whether a hearing aid would be beneficial for you, we can provide medical clearance for the aid. The FDA recommends that anyone requiring a hearing aid receive medical clearance from a physician. Medical clearance is in your best interest and is intended to allow our physicians to provide you with precise information and support. We are committed to the long-term care of hearing aid patients from the period beginning with your initial appointments through the fitting procedures and on through the regular management of your custom hearing aid.
An exciting new option for people with hearing impairment and loss is the Baha® system. 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 moved through the bones, rather than the middle ear. Baha® is not an implant, but rather a system for treating hearing loss in 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 for use in treating conductive and mixed hearing loss. Recently, the FDA also approved the Baha® system for treatment of unilateral sensoeineural hearing loss. The system has helped people who cannot benefit from traditional hearing aids. F
Furthermore, the Baha® system can provide 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. First there is a sound processor that accepts sound vibrations. Next, there is 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. Finally, a titanium implant 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. The cochlea organ intercepts the vibrations and sends neural signals to the brain for sound to be perceived.
The Baha® system does differ from traditional hearing aids. Hearing aids 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 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 such as speech and language recognition may develop slowly or improperly, so it is important to discuss your 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 along 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. Baha® implants are 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.