What’s the difference in surgery and sound quality between the Baha Connect and the Baha Attract systems?

Question: Hi, I have just been told that I am a candidate for a Baha solution. My ENT told me I had to decide whether I wanted an abutment or magnetic attachment. He hasn’t performed any magnetic surgeries yet but many abutments, he feels that the surgery is very similar and won’t have a problem doing it. I’m not sure if I want to be his first patient but you have to start somewhere. He also feels that with the abutment you get a bit better sound quality – is this correct? Is there any one who has had both types and if so how do you compare the two. My feeling is that because the magnet is the newest technology then it should be better than the abutment – is this true? Thanks.

//Tina

Answer:  Hi Tina! Yes the surgical procedures for the Baha Connect and the Baha Attract System are very similar (many steps are the same) so your surgeon will be able to apply the experience from performing the Baha Connect surgeries in Baha Attract surgeries. The key difference is that the Baha Attract surgery will take a little longer due to the placement of the internal magnet – the incision is a bit longer. But generally speaking, both types of surgery are very straightforward. And typically with a surgeon’s first case, an experienced representative from the manufacturer usually attends the surgery to offer guidance and experience. So you won’t be alone in the operation room!

Regarding sound quality: In my opinion, if the loss is conductive or mixed in the ear to be implanted, either system should work well. Same as if normal hearing in good ear and deaf in the other. For larger mixed hearing losses the Connect System may have more power.

How the Baha Connest System with the abutment worksHow-Baha-Attract-works
The Baha Connect and the Baha Attract System

If you have a severe hearing loss, then the Baha Connect System will probably work best for you, as the direct connection through the abutment will always be a bit better than going through the skin. But if your hearing loss is not that large, the Baha Attract System will be more than sufficient.

The best method to test the sound quality of the two systems is to try the Baha Softband. This way you will be able to hear through bone conduction for the first time, before surgery. You will get a good idea of what the sound quality will be like. If you hear well in this test, you can expect to hear very well following the surgery.

Hope I managed to clear things up a little bit?

Best regards,

Pete Weber, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer, Cochlear Americas

Do YOU have a question for us? Ask the experts here!

Sam from Australia blogs about her experience with a Baha Attract System

If you’re a candidate for a bone conduction hearing implant, the people you probably want to hear the most from are those who already have one. How does it REALLY feel after surgery? How soon can you wash your hair afterwards? What can you expect from that first moment when the audiologist switches on your sound processor?

Some of those questions we try to answer here on this blog, and by sharing stories from people around the world. Of course, nothing’s better than getting it all straight from the source.

Here’s a blog from a woman in Australia who describes her experience with a Baha Attract System. She just met with her audiologist last week to switch her sound processor on, so here’s to hoping everything goes right for Sam, and that she continues to blog about her Baha journey!

mybahajourney-blog

Will the Baha Attract System work for my 10-year old son with microtia?

Question: My son has microtia and conductive hearing loss in one ear. An exploratory surgery revealed that his middle ear bones were fused together and they were unable to locate the oval window. It might be under the facial nerves.

He’s been wearing an Oticon on a tennis head band. The fit is looser than desired but it’s better than the metal band the Oticon came with. His audiologist is recommending the Baha Attract System. He is 10 and fairly active. He has normal hearing in the other ear. He only wears his hearing aid in class. We’ve encouraged him to wear it more outside of class. My questions are: what is the expected recovery time? Is this something that should be done during summer break? How secure is the sound processor on the magnet, especially for active kids? Does sweat or hair affect the connection? I would love to hear from kids who have had this done but cannot seem to find any on the forums.

Thank you for your time. //Judy

Answer:  Hi Judy, thank you for your question. I am glad that the bone conductor on the soft band has provided benefit. The experience* is that the hearing experience will be at least as good as if not better than with the softband.

Bone conduction hearing solutions such as the Baha Attract System provides an excellent solution for children with microtia. The solution, is designed to stay attached to the child during typical activities during the day (e.g. running, playing tennis etc). In a recent study** we reported on 52 children who used the Baha Attract System and reported excellent outcomes in terms of hearing experience and few – if any – issues with retention or getting used to the sound. In terms of retention, your healthcare provider will select from the choice of six magnets which one is best for your son. For recovery, everyone is different and the length of time will depend on each situation, and an excellent idea to take advantage of the summer break if you can. For many children, until the Baha Attract System is fitted, they may wear the sound processor on the Baha Softband. Your healthcare provider will guide you in when you can wear it again and how to avoid it rubbing against the surgical area.

~ Mark C. Flynn, PhD Audiologist, Cochlear Bone Anchored Solutions

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* Sandberg, A., Wigren, S. & Flynn, M. Global clinical outcomes of a magnetic retention bone conduction hearing system. 13th International Conference on Cochlear Implants and Other Implantable Auditory Technologies, Munich, 18-21 June 2014.
** Smeds, H., Van Hasselt, A., Luntz, M., Goycoolea, M., Flynn, M., Wigren, S., Weber, P., Plant, K., Knight, M., Cowan, R. & Briggs R., Clinical outcomes from an international multi-center clinical investigation of a new magnetic bone conduction implant system. 13th International Conference on Cochlear Implants and Other Implantable Auditory Technologies, Munich, 18-21 June 2014.

Reading tips: Dr Lewin blogs about Baha Attract surgery

Dr Sheryl Lewin and John Vogrin from Cochlear Americas

We love reading other blogs about the Baha System – both by people using bone conduction hearing implants themselves, and surgeons and audiologists who write from a professional point of view.

Here’s a blog by Dr Sheryl Lewin who writes about her surgical technique with the Baha Attract System. Dr. Lewin is a plastic surgeon who specializes in ear reconstruction, particularly in patients with Atresia/Microtia. So far she has performed over 400 surgical procedures for children with microtia.

Check out her blog here!

dr-lewin-baha-blog

 

 

Tip of the Week: How to wear your Baha sound processor

Every Wednesday, Mark Flynn, PhD, Cochlear’s Audiologist and Director of Research and Applications, gives his best Baha tips!

How to wear your Baha sound processor correctly

The microphones of the Baha sound processor are specially calibrated to focus on capturing speech from the front and reducing noise from behind. Therefore, you should always endeavour to have the sound processor worn the correct way up and not at an angle. So if you turn the sound processor upside down, for example, it will focus on what comes from behind you.

If you for some reason really feel you want to wear your sound processor upside down, the hearing care professional can do a quick fix by switching around the microphones in the computer software. It is not the way that we recommend, but following discussion with the professional and taking into account other aspects such as how it will be positioned on the head, is something that could be considered on a case by case basis.

Mafalda Baha user

 

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You asked… We answer

Subject: Baha Attract System
Question: I am on the list for an operation with the Baha Attract System and I wonder about the following questions.
I have a rather easy reacting skin. Are there patients who show allergic reactions on the magnetimplant. Or are there other negative physical reactions on the magnet? //Nelly Nouwen

Answer: Hi Nelly! Although titanium is a relatively inert metal there are very rare case reports of irritation or possible allergy to it. The same is true to the material the soft pad is composed of. However these are quite rare. If reactions are a significant concern – a preop allergy skin test could be preformed. Also important is to make sure the lowest magnet strength needed to keep the device on is used as well.

Hope this helps.

Best regards

Pete Weber, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer, Cochlear Americas

Do YOU have a question for us? Ask the experts here!

Harlem student, 20, hears for the first time thanks to magnetic implant from Lenox Hill

Here’s a news story from the NY Daily News about Terrell Davis, who was recently implanted with the Baha Attract System!

Terrel Davis

Terrell Davis is one of just about 20 people across the US to receive a new type of bone-anchored hearing aid. When he graduates from high school this month, he’ll hear his name called in public for the first time ever.

“It’s so exciting for us,” his mother Brenda said. “It’s the one thing that he wanted.”

Read the full story here