The wireless Mini Microphone improves speech understanding in noise

The Cochlear Wireless Mini Microphone was launched in 2013 as one of four wireless accessories that seamlessly work with the Baha 4 Sound Processor. It’s the only technology to offer direct streaming from the Mini Microphone to the sound processor.

You can clip the microphone onto your spouse’s collar to hear them better in a noisy restaurant, attach it to backseat passengers in the car when you’re driving so you can hear them without needing to turn around, or give it to your child’s teacher during lesson time. The microphone will easily connect to the sound processor so you’ll hear louder and clearer only the person you want to hear. 

Small and discreet - and truly wireless

Small and discreet – and truly wireless

Baha user Monica in a conversation with her husband, who is wearing the Mini Microphone, at an outdoor café in Barcelona

Baha user Monica in a conversation with her husband, who is wearing the Mini Microphone, at an outdoor café in Barcelona

According to recent research*, patients using the wireless Mini Microphone reported a large improvement in hearing in noisy situations, compared to standard directional microphone solutions. What this means is that by using the Mini Microphone, you will always have the same short distance to the speaker. When placed 10-30 centimeters from the speaker’s mouth, despite the noise or distance between or around you – a meeting, a noisy restaurant, a kid’s birthday party – you’ll hear them as loud and clear as if you were standing right next to them. And best of all? No need for any bulky cords worn around your neck – it’s truly wireless!

* Flynn MC, Andersson J. Improving speech in noise: hearing performance of users of the Baha sound processor with wireless accessories. Presented at the 4th International Symposium on Bone Conduction Hearing – Craniofacial Osseointegration, Newcastle, UK, 6-8 June 2013.

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Baha user Julie: “It’s like I’m back in the real world again”

Julie, Baha user, UK

Julie, Baha user, UK

When Julie’s hearing on her left side started deteriorating around 10 years ago, everyday life became more and more challenging for her.

More often than not she found herself simply guessing what other people were saying, rather than understanding. She began to get things muddled up, and often missed the context of the discussion. Dining out was problematic as she always needed to be conscious of her position at the table. Holding a conversation with anyone sitting to her left became impossible. All this affected her social life.

It wasn’t until she was fitted with a Baha sound processor that Julie realized just how much she had been missing during those years of living with hearing loss. It was the ordinary, regular sounds she was happiest to be able to hear again; a dog barking outside the window, the sound of rustling leaves. The sounds were so vivid compared to what she was used to hearing.

“I was amazed that sounds were so clear, before it had been like I was behind a glass door, watching other people interacting with each other,” Julie remembers. “When I switch the Baha sound processor on in the morning it’s like I’m back in the real world again. I can hear.”

Julie-Baha-user-UK

In 2013 Julie received the new Baha 4 Sound Processor, accompanied with wireless accessories. She was especially delighted with the Cochlear Wireless Phone Clip that connects to her sound processor. It allows her to speak on the phone without using the speaker so everyone around her can hear, or needing to hold the cell phone against her ear.

“The wireless accessories are really quite exciting. I love the phone accessory as it means I no longer constantly have to check the phone. I get a little message in my head, so I know when I get an email or a text. I put it on directly in the morning because then it means I won’t miss anything throughout the day – messages or calls.”

Read more of Julie’s story here.

Meet the 2014 Anders Tjellström Scholarship Winners

For the third consecutive year, Cochlear Americas have awarded three students with a Baha hearing solution with a scholarship of $2,000 per year for up to four years.

“We are honored to not only help bring them their best hearing potential but to also reward them with college scholarships, so they can pursue their studies in professions that benefit their communities. One of the wisest investments we can make today is in enterprising students who are determined to make a vital difference in our society.” said Chris Smith, President of Cochlear Americas.

Here are the 2014 winners:

Baha user Andrew Rose

Andrew Rose

University: North Carolina State University
Studying: Biochemistry, nano-science and technology
Desired Career: Bio-engineering
Hobbies: Swimming, hiking, camping
Favorite Sounds: Wind chimes, instrumental music, crackling of wood fire

Severe hearing loss caused by the genetic condition Treacher Collins syndrome did not deter Andrew. He realized that bilateral Baha implants could have a profound effect on his life, and they did.

“My Baha System has helped me overcome many obstacles and opened up a new world for me. I am now able to hear everything, even quiet sounds and others’ speech so much better.”

Andrew is a freshman studying biochemistry, nano-science and technology at North Carolina State University. His experience with Treacher Collins syndrome has definitely influenced his life ambitions:

“My goal is to contribute to the cure for Treacher Collins syndrome. That is ultimately what brought me to my major. I want to change the lives of other children when prenatal tests show they have Treacher Collins syndrome or other birth defect. I want to give their families hope.”

Caroline Farmer

Tjellstrom_scholarship_caroline_farmer

University: University of Arizona
Studying: Speech, language and hearing sciences, psychology
Desired Career: Audiologist
Hobbies: : Fencing, reading, horse back riding, cooking, hiking
Favorite sounds: Orchestras tuning up, horse hooves hitting the ground, bell guards of blades ringing off each other in fencing

Caroline had normal hearing until acute bronchitis in eighth grade cost her a majority of her hearing in both ears. She recovered hearing in her left ear through a regimen of steroids. Caroline decided to be implanted with a Baha hearing solution “with the promise to myself that I would use my good luck to help other people.” Her Baha System has made a positive difference in Caroline’s life.

“I can hear the world, and it is fantastic. Everyone’s voices sound more clear and crisp, music is more impactful, and sounds are distinct. No more noisy messes, no more saying ‘what?’ or ‘could you repeat that?’ a hundred times.”

Caroline  is a sophomore Honor College Student at the University of Arizona, where she majors in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences with the aspiration to become an audiologist at Cochlear. Caroline displays an innate sensitivity to the plight of others while seeking happiness in her own life.

“For me, a successful person is a happy person, and nothing would make me happier than going to work every day and knowing that I was making people lives better. I express my thanks for a blessed life by giving back as much as I have been given.”

Tjellstrom_scholarship_jad_chatila

Jad Chatila

University: Texas Christian University
Studying: Movement science
Desired Career: Physical therapist
Hobbies: Spending time with family and friends, listening to music, theatre (acting), volunteer work
Favorite Sounds: Music, laughter, nature, movies

Jad has hearing loss from a birth defect that caused his left ear canal to not fully develop. When he was fitted with his Baha sound processor, he could for the first time “hear all the things that people usually take for granted.”

“All my life I had struggled to hear, constantly asking: ‘What? Could you repeat that?’ But all that changed in a single moment. Honestly, there are no words to describe my Baha System’s impact. All of my successes would not be a reality without it.”

In high school, Jad joined competitive theatre and played Doc in West Side Story, and was also active in the Student Council. He is currently a freshman at Texas Christian University majoring in movement science toward becoming a physical therapist.

“I want to assist those who can’t help themselves, help people get better, never allowing them to give up on themselves, but most of all, I want to make people feel the same emotions I felt when I could hear out of my left ear: Joy.”

tjellstrom-scholarships

The Anders Tjellström Scholarship is a unique award open to Baha recipients in the United States and Canada, who have been accepted into a college or university. Awarded by Cochlear, this scholarship has been set up to help individuals further themselves by undertaking university studies.

Dr Anders Tjellström says:

“Selecting the recipients from a group of very accomplished students provided a unique challenge for the selection committee. Overcoming their hearing problems they have all begun successful academic careers, and this financial support will be of great importance for their future endeavours. But not only that, they have demonstrated an ability to overcome their hearing disability and see opportunities rather than problems. This attitude is most impressive and makes you feel warm at heart and I am sure that all of them will reach their goals and go even further.”

A magnet helps Ange hear again

Here’s an article from Australian newspaper Manningham Leader about Baha user Ange, who was implanted with the Baha Attract System in 2013:

Ange-Attract-SystemAnge, Baha Attract user, Australia

(You can see  – and listen to! – the original article here. Type in Cochlear in the search field and it will come up.)

We had the pleasure of meeting with Ange last year in Australia. Here’s what he had to say about life with his new Baha Attract System:

The Attract System consists of two magnets; one that’s fastened to the implant under the skin, and one that you put on top of the skin with the sound processor attached to it. A material called the Baha SoftWear™ Pad (Baha Soft pad) is attached to the external magnet. It adapts to the shape of your head and distributes pressure evenly, to make it comfortable to wear. The magnets are available in different strengths to suit different skin types.

ange-baha-4-attract-magnets

The Baha Attract external magnet with and without Softpad

The Baha Attract external magnet with and without the Soft pad

Find out more about how the Attract System works!

How Chloe, with Down Syndrome and hearing loss, has benefitted from a Baha solution

Chloe, Baha user, UK

Chloe, Baha user, UK

Did you know that children with Down Syndrome and hearing loss can benefit from a Baha solution?

Chloe’s mother admits she’s always been a bit of a “drama queen” – but it wasn’t until she got her Baha bone conduction hearing system as a 10-year old, that Chloe was able to pursue her love of acting.

Chloe was born with Down Syndrome, and suffered from chronic ear infections throughout her childhood, which eventually led to hearing problems. When she was three, Chloe’s hearing loss got so bad it affected her speech, language acquisition and her ability to interact socially. She tried in-the-ear hearing aids for a while, but she found it increasingly difficult to manage because her ear canals are much narrower than normal – typical in  children with Down Syndrome.

Over the years Chloe has had five lots of grommets – tubes inserted into the ear to improve airflow, relieve pressure and help clear excess fluid. At the fifth fitting, her consultant realised the canals in Chloe’s ears had collapsed so badly, it would be impossible to fit further grommets.

The consultant then advised Chloe’s mother, Jane, that a bone conduction hearing system could be an option for her daughter.

A Baha solution doesn’t obstruct the ear canal, so discharges in the ears are able to dry properly, which reduces the risk of getting ear infections. There’s also no need for an ear mould which can get lost, or cause irritation and soreness to small ears.

“I have to admit that I didn’t really have very high hopes for Chloe’s hearing,” says Jane, “so I was totally amazed after switch-on when she asked me to turn the music down in the car on the way home. I then had to turn the TV down at home too. Our lives are no longer based on shouting instructions and lip reading. I can call Chloe from another room now and she’ll hear me and we can have real conversations which is so lovely.”

Chloe’s schoolwork is also improving and she finds it easier to socialise with groups of friends. Her speech therapist has noticed a big difference in her speech. Chloe now goes to a Downs drama group every week and – she’s even starred in the school play!

“I can’t begin to explain what a difference Chloe’s Baha has made to her life and to all our lives really,” adds Jane. “I just wish she’d been given one earlier. Both her confidence and sense of fun have really increased. I just want her to be happy in life and do what she enjoys. Who knows, maybe she’ll be able to fulfill her dream one day of being on a big stage?”

You can read more about Chloe’s amazing hearing journey here.

Do you have a child with Down Syndrome and hearing loss? If so, a Baha system could be something to consider.

Download the Down Syndrome & Hearing Loss folder

Bone conduction implants are an untapped resource

Ian Johnson, ENT Surgeon, UK

Ian Johnson, ENT Surgeon, UK

Mr Ian Johnson, ENT surgeon at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle Upon Tyne, recently wrote an article about Baha for the 2014 Ears, Nose and Throat Campaign in the UK.

He called bone conduction implants an ‘under-utilised technology’:

“It’s probably the most under-utilised means of hearing restoration. There are 10,000 new cases of single-sided hearing loss in the UK every year, but only 1,500 are fitted [with Baha] each year. It’s being ignored because of a lack of awareness.”

Read the whole article here.

Bone conduction used in advertising

We love new innovations – especially when they use bone conduction!

Last year, German media company Sky Deutschland tried a new type of advertising where they target train commuters – through talking windows!

A transmitter is placed on the window, emitting high frequencies that the brain processes into words. When commuters rest their head against the glass, they hear sound through bone conduction technology.

Watch some reactions in this video:

The talking windows are intended to transmit not just ads, but also music and weather, to commuters.

Bone conduction technology has been around for 35 years, and are now being used in both headphones for swimmers and the soon-to-be-released Google Glass. This is the first time it’s really been used in advertising, though.

Fun fact:
Did you know? Beethoven was one of bone conduction’s early adopters. The deaf composer attached one end of a rod to his piano and clasped his teeth on the other end of the rod to feel the vibrations of his music.