Hearing aids are so popular that the first thing that comes in mind while talking about the best hearing loss treatment is that of hearing aid devices. Hearing aids no doubt have the highest success rates all over the world, but they too have their limitations! Hearing aids can benefit you as long as the internal structure of your ears is all right. Because the traditional hearing aids - no matter how smart and updated they are - would use the user’s natural outer, middle and inner ear, including the auditory nerve.

What if you have a perforated eardrum or have other deformities in your outer or middle ear? What if your cochlea in the inner ear is severely damaged, so much so that sounds amplified by the hearing aids won’t be processed and transferred to your brain? Even the most advanced digital hearing aids won’t work in these cases! Apart from the traditional way of hearing with the help of hearing aids, sounds can also reach the inner ear by conduction through the bones of the skull situated behind the ear. Bone conduction hearing aid is the best solution for individuals with conductive hearing loss, unilateral hearing loss, single-sided deafness and for those who are having a mixed hearing loss and have problems wearing In-the-ear (ITE) or Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids.

What are Bone Conduction Hearing Aids?

Bone conduction hearing aids, also known as an auditory osseointegrated device (AOD), are designed to make sounds audible to the individual with hearing loss by transferring them to the inner ear through bone conduction. Their system consists of a sound processor or the bone conduction device which picks up sounds using microphones and a coupling mechanism.

 

Benefits

  • Better sound quality with less distortion. BAHA would provide better sound quality as compared to the traditional bone-conduction hearing aids, because there is no damping of the sound signal when it is being transferred through the skin.

  • Provide a 360-degree sound perception.

  • Get relief from annoying feedback sounds.

  • The BAHA sound system is much more discreet and comfortable.

  • Today’s bone-anchored digital hearing aids use the same technology as seen in any premium hearing instrument.

  • It is much easier to predict preoperatively how well a BAHA user would do as preoperative testing is possible.

  • Problems of allergies or ear infections won’t affect the performance of your device.

  • As compared to the middle-ear implants, the BAHA surgery is very simple and straightforward, and it can be performed under local anaesthesia, which is not the case in the former.

  • The greatest advantage of a BAHA device is that the ear canal is not occluded by ear-moulds fitted inside it as in the case of traditional hearing aids.

 

Limitations

Although the bone conduction digital hearing aids of this generation are quite advanced, they too have their limitations -

  • Since it is a surgery, risks still remain, however small and fewer they might be.

  • Side effects include chronic infection and trauma to the bone.

  • Irritation of the skin around the implant surgically placed.

  • In some cases, persistent pain might occur.

  • There may be risks of skin overgrowth over the device.

  • Death of skin flap due to an interrupted blood supply - a condition known as skin flap necrosis.

It is, therefore, always advised to consult a good Audiologist and a trained surgical team. Choose your hearing loss treatment options wisely. Sometimes BAHA is better than even the most advanced digital hearing aids. What is the point of going for traditional hearing aids if they fail to work? Talk with your Audiologist and get better guidance.