Malcolm: “I was 80 years old when I finally got smart and got my Baha sound processors!”

Baha-blog-Malcolm

Malcolm Simon from New Jersey, USA, was born with 50% hearing loss in one ear and a little less in the other. Growing up in the 1940s and 50s, people with hearing loss were viewed quite differently than they are today. Not a lot of attention was given to hearing problems.

“It was totally ignored in those days,” says Malcolm. “While glasses were common, hearing aids were not. They weren’t acceptable and people would actually laugh at you. I’d say, ‘Listen, a person has to wear glasses if they can’t see, so what’s wrong with a person wearing hearing aids if they can’t hear?’ Nowadays, I think hearing aids are accepted by everybody. People wear stuff in their ears and over their heads for all sorts of reasons, so there’s no longer a stigma about wearing hearing aids.”

Over the years Malcolm wore several different kinds of hearing aids. They’d work for a while but then he’d lose his hearing again. Malcolm had heard about the Baha System but didn’t really investigate it further. It wasn’t until he met with an audiologist that demonstrated the Baha Softband for him, that Malcolm realized how well he could – and should! – hear.

In the video clip below, Malcolm describes the stunning moment:

“She walked around the room talking all the time, and I could hear her – without even turning my head! And that was the moment right there. I mean I started laughing. I should’ve started crying, but I started laughing because I was just so happy to hear.”


Malcolm underwent the surgery, on both sides, and had his bilateral Baha sound processors fitted a few weeks later. Being able to hear clearly again after 80 years in muffled silence has meant a lot to him. For years, he’d stopped going to church because he was afraid he might not hear people talking around him or the minister asking for prayers. Now he feels comfortable in any surroundings. He knows he can hear everyone and everything. He even has to tell his wife to lower her voice, or turn the volume down on the TV!

He concludes:

“I was 80 years old when I finally got smart and got my Baha sound processors. I wish I’d done it years earlier because it’s made such a dramatic difference to my life.”

Read Malcolm’s whole story here.

Are you or a loved one considering a bone conduction implant system? Use this tool to find a hearing care professional that can explain more about the Baha System in your area!

Tip of the Week: How to get the most out of your child’s Softband


Baha Softband child

Anyone who has ever been around a two-year old knows how difficult it is to get any child to wear something on their head. There’s a reason why those sun hats have bands!

Similarly, getting your child to wear their Baha Softband can prove challenging. Being able to hear from the start plays a crucial role in a child’s learning, language and development. Research shows that, if hearing rehabilitation is delayed, it is uncertain if the child can catch up with their normal hearing peers. So, in waiting for implant surgery*, the Baha Softband is really a great way for your child to develop his or her hearing!

Lucy, Baha Softband user, USA

Lucy, Baha Softband user, USA

Here are six tips to make the experience easier for both you and and your child:

  1. The Baha Softband should be fitted firmly but comfortably. You should be able to insert one finger underneath the band. Tightening it more does not improve the sound. Making sure your child is comfortable – and wears it – does.
  2. Let your child wear the band shorter periods of time during the first few weeks, until he or she becomes used to it.
  3. The disk should be placed flat behind the ear or at any other bony location of the skull, such as the forehead . For example, if your infant is lying on its back, put it on their forehead for best comfort.
  4. Vary the position of the disk every day to avoid tenderness in one place.
  5. The material is latex-free to increase comfort and reduce risk of allergy. We recommend hand wash in 40°C (104°F) – no tumble-drying.
  6. For infants with tiny heads (less than 36 cm circumference), use the bilateral Baha Softband to make it smaller. Remove the short bilateral extension as shown in the images below, and reconnect.

Softband_Bilateral_take_apart_pinksoftband_Bilateral_shorten_pink

* In the United States and Canada, the placement of a bone-anchored implant is contraindicated in children below the age of 5

4-year old Noel’s parents see great advantages with the wireless Mini Microphone

Baha users can connect to the world in a whole new way now, thanks to the Baha 4 Sound Processor and Cochlear’s wireless accessories. And they can be especially beneficial for children.

For 4-year old Noel’s parents, the Mini Microphone in particular proved to be very helpful in their daily life.

Noel Landström was born with atresia/microtia, which meant he wasn’t able to benefit from normal ear hearing aids. It wasn’t until he was one year old that he first got to try the Baha System with a Baha Softband.

Both Noel’s parents, Cecilia and Göran, noticed a big change in their son right away.

”We were able to communicate with him on a whole different level,” says Göran. “And now he’s interacting with his friends and brothers just like any normal hearing four year old would.”

noel-baha-userWhen eating out, Noel’s parents sometimes place the Mini Microphone on the table so Noel can follow the conversation over the background noise

In 2013 Noel was upgraded to two new Baha 4 Sound Processors. Cecilia and Göran both experience that they give better sound and less feedback than the earlier devices.

”When Noel was fitted with his new sound processors, we noticed that they are much less sensitive to touch,” says Cecilia. “And the feedback is greatly reduced.”

The biggest surprise for the family was the Mini Microphone accessory that connects wirelessly to Noel’s sound processors. It can both be used for streaming music and for clipping on someone’s collar so Noel is able to hear them better in particularly noisy situations or over a distance.

Wireless Mini MicrophoneThe Mini Microphone is 3 cm wide and 6 cm long and clips firmly on to a collar

“To be able to speak normally into the microphone instead of yelling is really an enormous advantage. I don’t need to scream or shout at Noel anymore if we are on a playground, for example. I just speak in my normal voice into the Mini Mic and he’ll hear me just as well as if I were standing next to him,” explains Cecilia. “It’s also a great tool for his pre-school teachers as well.”

Noel-mini-microphone Noel can hear his mother up to seven meters away when she speaks into the microphone

When Noel watches movies on his iPad, Göran and Cecilia place the Mini Microphone behind it, so it transmits the sound to Noel’s sound processors and he can better enjoy his favourite movies – completely wirelessly.

But the absolute biggest advantage is that they don’t need to bother Noel while connecting an accessory to his sound processor.

”He hated that we would take away his ability to hear, if only for a few seconds,” says Göran. ”Now we don’t need to borrow his sound processors to attach anything to them anymore. We just switch the microphone on via the remote control and then he hears us. It has really helped us tremendously in our daily life.”

Here’s an illustration of how the Mini Microphone works:

how-cochlear-baha-wireless-mini-microphone-worksIn a noisy environment like the classroom, every decibel counts. When the teacher wears the Mini Microphone it connects wirelessly to the student’s Baha 4 Sound Processor, and the student can hear what’s being said.

Read more about all the wireless accessories here!

Video: With a Baha sound processor, Meryl can hear from both sides again

Meryl-Baha-hearingloss

In this video, Baha user Meryl from the US describes growing up and spending her whole life just hearing from one side.

“One thing about single-sided deafness is that a lot of people say ‘Oh well, you have another ear that’s really good, so what’s the big deal if you don’t have the two ears? Well, the big deal is directional sound. It’s kind of like when the Wizard of Oz is black and white and then, all of a sudden, it goes to colour. That’s what it felt like to get my Baha. It’s like everything came back to life. It was crisp and clear and just an amazing explosion of sound.”

Watch Meryl’s story below:

Are you or a loved one considering a bone conduction implant system? Use this tool to find a hearing care professional that can explain more about the Baha System in your area!

When will a fully implantable Baha solution be available?

Question: My daughter McCartney is 18 months old, she got her Baha sound processors when she was 12 months and they have changed her life! My husband and I frequently discuss what the future holds for her, considering how fast technology is progressing. So my question is how far off is a completely sub dermal Baha system? //Sara

Answer: Dear Sara,

It’s great to hear that the Baha Softband has made such a difference in your daughter’s life. As early intervention is key to language development, it’s fantastic that she has been wearing her Baha Softband since she was 12 months old!

To answer your question, we are constantly developing Baha technologies with the aim of not only improving hearing performance, but also minimising the size of the external parts of the system. As a publically listed company, we are not able to disclose any specific information related to the commercial availability or scope of future products. That said, you should expect consistent improvements in future products: to be more discreet in terms of size and design, and to feature more and more advanced sound technologies. The reality is that totally implantable bone conduction systems pose significant technical and clinical challenges, and are unlikely to be available in the near future with the technology that exists today.

When your daughter is old enough for an implant, there are two systems currently available; the Baha Connect and Baha Attract systems. Most children may be good candidates for the Baha Attract System. The main benefit here is that the implant provides connectivity to the external sound processor via a small magnet implanted under the skin. This means that the implant is invisible under the skin and there is nothing to see but intact skin when the  sound processor isn’t worn.  When wearing the the sound processor, it is often hidden beneath the hair.  If your daughter benefits from the Baha system on a Softband today, she is very likely to benefit even more from the Baha Attract system in the future. Consult with your hearing care professional on which system best matches your daughter’s needs.

Baha Attract SystemAnge demonstrates the Baha Attract System off and on

We continue to lead the industry in investment in research and development, and you should know that we are very much committed to ensuring people like your daughter have access to the very best hearing solutions as the technology becomes available.

Watch the video of 17-year old Alex being fitted with the Baha Attract System!

Can I wear a hearing aid after Baha surgery?

Question: Hello there I am in the process of considering a Baha system, after years of using air conducted hearing aids. Can I still wear my air conducted hearing aid during the period that I need the abutment wound site to heal after surgery? I cant imagine going several months with out hearing support whilst the site heals.
many thanks

//Liz

Answer: Hi Liz! This is a common question which I would suggest you raise with your healthcare provider. Typically, there will be a follow-up visit at 1-2 weeks following the operation, when you can discuss if the surgical area is sufficiently healed for the wearing of a hearing aid until the sound processor can be fitted. Today, the surgical procedure for the Baha System is quite straightforward with reports* of relatively quick healing time. And certainly you can continue to wear a hearing aid on one side, if your Baha operation was on the other side.

Good luck!

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

* 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.

Can the Baha 4 Sound Processor be damaged by exposure to loud noises?

Here’s a question from our Twitter feed:

Twitter Baha Blog

Question: Can the Baha 4 Sound Processor be damaged by exposure to loud noises, like a concert?

Answer: Thank you for the question.

The electronics of the Baha 4 Sound Processor are designed to take sound levels that would be consistent with those experienced at music concerts, football games, halls etc. So the technology itself won’t be damaged by loud noise. The maximum output is also limited so that the sound processor would not be able to generate sounds that would cause risk to your hearing.

That said, the actual level of the music may be so loud that it could put you at risk for noise induced hearing loss or tinnitus. In loud and noisy environments such as listening to music in a hall, many people actually take the sound processor off in these situations as it is sufficiently loud already without further amplification.

One word of caution, please take care in loud noisy listening situations and we recommend the use of hearing protection in any situation above 85 dB. Once your hearing is lost due to noise exposure it is lost forever and even if you have a hearing loss that does not protect you from a further loss of hearing sensitivity.

Take care!

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

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