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This entry was posted on 29th February 2012 by ran.
Bone anchored hearing aids are a type of a bone conduction hearing aid that requires a surgical implant. While not so common as behind the ear or in the ear hearing aids, bone anchored hearing aids are a solution for a majority of people suffering from a hearing loss that are not suited to behind or in the ear hearing aids.
Who can benefit from a bone anchored hearing aid?
Bone anchored hearing aids are a breakthrough technology that allows people with hearing problems, who cannot benefit from the regular hearing aids to alleviate their hearing impairment. A bone anchored hearing aid might be suitable in cases such as chronic ear infections that cause excessive ear drainage, damage of the drum or the middle ear, conductive hearing loss, hearing in one ear only (unilateral hearing loss), mixed hearing losses, external ear canal problems, malformations (e.g. narrow ear canal).
Bone anchored hearing aids are designed to improve speech understanding and reduce feedback and the sound distortion. The ear canal is open, creating comfort and a natural perception of sound. Bone anchored hearing aids can also be used as a substitute for CROS hearing aids. They transmit the sound from the good ear via vibrations, thus creating a feeling of hearing with the impaired ear.
What is a bone anchored hearing aid?
As the bone anchored hearing aid acts as a bone conduction hearing aid, it transmits the signal via vibrations in the skull to the inner ear and bypasses the middle ear entirely. It has three components, which include a titanium implant (prosthesis) and a sound processor situated on an external abutment. The titanium implant is surgically placed in the skull and with time, it gradually integrates with the bone. The sound processor picks up the sound vibrations and transmits them to the implant making the skull bones vibrate. These vibrations reach the inner ear and allow the wearer to hear.
The surgical procedure for implanting the titanium part is not complex. It takes up to six weeks after that for the audiologist to place the hearing processor and adjust it for the particular hearing loss level.
While the surgery and placement of the bone anchored hearing aid inside the skull bone is not a complicated procedure, there are a number of issues to be taken into account when having such a hearing aid. It is very important to provide daily care for the skin around the implant to avoid infections and inflammations – it is best for that area to be free of hear follicles. In addition, you should be careful with the external sound processor as it is delicate and can be damaged easily.
Although a bone anchored hearing aid is a widely used solution for people with hearing impairment that cannot be helped by regular hearing aids, not everyone that can benefit from this technology are suitable for it. The patient skull has to have a particular thickness and that is why the surgery cannot be implemented on small children, as their skull is thinner and softer than that of an adult.
As this is a surgical procedure, the first part of the process is to have a series of consultations with a qualified audiologist and surgeon. Consult your GP initially who will screen you and refer you for further consultations where necessary to determine cause and suitability.
This entry was posted in Hearing Aids on 29th February 2012 by ran.
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