Bone Anchored Hearing Aid

A bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) is a surgically implanted hearing device designed for people with hearing loss. It is a well-established hearing solution for patients suffering from conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss, and single-sided deafness.

A BAHA is based on the principle of direct bone conduction. Therefore, in patients using a BAHA, the environmental sound vibrations are directly transmitted to the inner ear bypassing the outer and middle ear.

Baha Versus Ordinary Hearing Aid

Unlike BAHAs, ordinary hearing aids do not always work for everyone. An ordinary hearing aid may block your ear canal and increase the likelihood of ear infections and irritation. Also, the sound quality achieved in a BAHA is superior to that of an ordinary hearing aid.

Procedure

A BAHA has 3 components: a titanium fixture, an external abutment, and a sound processor. During this surgery, the area behind the ear is made numb after shaving the area of hair. This is followed by removal of a flap of skin and the soft tissues of the scalp. A hole is then drilled into the bone of the skull to insert the titanium screw and abutment. The abutment is covered by using the skin flap and a small hole is made in the skin for allowing the abutment to protrude. The skin is sewn back into position and a dressing is applied over the abutment. Even though the skin heals in approximately 2 weeks, the sound processor is fitted only after 2 months. This is done to allow sufficient time for the bone to osseointegrate (direct structural and functional connection between the bone and the implant) into the titanium screw.

The procedure for a BAHA is performed on an outpatient basis, and is completed in an hour.

Risks And Complications

The BAHA surgery is a safe and simple surgery. However, the probability of complications in future cannot be totally ruled out. Some of the complications include adverse skin reactions (inflammation or infection) in the area around the implant and implant extrusion due to incomplete osseointegration.