What is a BAHA? BAHA is short for bone anchored hearing aid. This specific hearing aid is only for certain types of hearing loss. To determine candidacy for a BAHA you first will need a hearing test performed to determine the type of hearing loss you have. These devices are often used for people who have conductive hearing loss (hearing loss originating in the outer or middle ear), mixed hearing loss (hearing loss originating in the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear or auditory nerve), and they can also be used with a single-sided sensorineural hearing loss (hearing loss originating in the inner ear or auditory nerve). In order to receive a BAHA a strict criteria for hearing loss must be met.
How BAHA works
We hear sound by two different ways, air conduction and bone conduction. They both work together to listen and perceive sound. When we hear ourselves speaking, low pitched sounds vibrate in the bone that helps us perceive our normal tone of voice. This same way is used in the BAHA system but in a more sophisticated manner. Bone conduction uses your own body to conduct sound. The BAHA system uses your natural ability to conduct sound to bypass the damaged outer and middle ear, and sends sound directly to your inner ear.
There are 2 different BAHA systems the attract system and the connect system. Our office only uses the connect system option. This system has three components: the implant, the abutment, and the sound processor. The sound processor picks up the sound from your environment. The sounds are transferred through the abutment to a small titanium implant which is inserted into the bone behind the ear. The sounds are then sent directly through the bone to the inner ear, where they are converted to electrical impulses by hair cells in the inner ear. These impulses travel up to the brain allowing you to perceive sound.
The BAHA titanium implant is an easy outpatient surgery done by one of our Otolaryngologists. The implanted site takes about 8-12 weeks to heal after the surgery. Once the implanted site is healed one of our Audiologists can program the sound processor for you and you will then be able to perceive sound. The BAHA sound processor easily snaps on and off the abutment site which is attached to the titanium implant in the bone behind your ear.
Make an appointment with our office and talk with our Physicians and Audiologists to determine if the BAHA system is right for you and your hearing needs.